Sunday, July 5, 2015

June 29, 2015

Week of "Lasts"

O my goodness.  I can't believe that I'm really sitting here writing my last email of the mission.  This week has been really strange, just about everything I've been doing has been my last time doing it.

So really quick highlights of the week.  Finally, we got to see the new church movie Meet the Mormons.  We've been working on a multistake activity for the last week that happened on Friday.  It was really sweet, a bunch of members were able to invite friends and family to "meet the mormons," The movie is sweet and brought a really powerful spirit which made me really grateful to be a member of this church.

My mission is ending on the greatest note.  Saturday was the baptism of Domitila, our investigator who we've been working with basically my whole time here.  It is definitely been the biggest miracle of my mission. When I got here she didn't want anything with the "b-word" and has gone from that to having a sincere desire to follow the Savior and have an eternal family with her son, who was able to baptize her.  On Sunday I had the honor to confirm her a member of the church which was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'm so glad to have had this opportunity to serve the Lord and His children.

As I reflect back on the last two years I am literally without words to express what I have learned and felt in the service of the Lord.  It is impossible to sum up everything that has happened.  I hve learned that obedience is key, when we are obedient to the Lord and His servants, we are blessed and happy.  Every time.  When we are not obedient, we miss the blessings and are sad and frustrated. Every time.  I've also learned that the only way to be truely happy in life is to serve others.  The less we thing about ourselves and the more we focus on others, the better life is. I've also learned that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real.  I am not a perfect missionary or a perfect person, but I don't have to be, at least not right now.  For now I can rely on His grace and power in order to do what I need to do. He loves us always, despite our weaknesses and constant failures and gives us the opportunity to keep trying.  And last but not least my favorite spanish phrase "Ser Mormón es ser feliz" (to be mormon is to be happy). It's true!

Thanks everyone for your constant support and encouragement the prayers and inspiring emails each week. I would not have been able to do these last two years without each and every one of you. You are the best.

Well, see you all on Friday!

Love, Elder Dower
June 22, 2015

Weekly Update‏

Hey everyone!

One more week in the books down here in Valdivia Chile.  We had a pretty good week, with so many good things happening down here we've also seen the "oposition in all things" but we are also sure that everything will work out fine.

So I mentioned that last week we had quite a few miracles, one of them being our investigator Domitila who has a date for this Saturday for her baptism.  Well, saturday was supposed to be her interview but as I said, the opposition just had to come.  We were trying to call and confirm the time of the interview one last time and when we finally got ahold of her we figured out that she had had a problem in her work and wasn't going to be able to make it.  To make matters worse she left that night for Santiago and doesn't get back til tomorrow.  The good news is that there is still time and it looks like she is still excited and ready for her baptism.  We will be praying for a miracle with this one.  That same day my companion and I were taking some time to knock doors and were just getting rejected every one.  I've learned that days like that happen all the time on the mission.  I mention all of this because I remember having days like that at the beginning of the mission and how frustrated and discouraged I would sometimes get.  This time was different, I didn't feel down or frustrated or anything, we just kept on going and eventually things got better.  It was cool for me when I realized the difference betweeen how I felt in those early days of the mission and now as I have more experience.  I'm grateful for this experience and for the blessings I have received in my service down here.

Thanks everyone for the support, talk to you next week!

Elder Dower
June 15, 2015

Fasting Works!

Hey Everyone

It's been a great week down here in Chile.  The good news is that this week hasn't been quite as rainy as the past, just really cold.  So those of you who are entering summer right now, count yourselves lucky.

As mentioned in the subject line, I have had many experiences in my life that have strengthened my testimony of fasting.  This week we've had many difficulties with some people who we are working with and decided that we needed a bit of extra help.  One family we are working with needs the dad to get divorced from his ex wife so that he can get married to his current wife and then she can get baptized. He's planning on communicating with her this week so they asked us to fast with them so that things can go well there.  Another investigator we've been working with has had some issues with her mom.  She is really interested in the church and wants to be a part of it, but her mom absolutely forbids it. A group of her friends asked us to joing with them in fasting for her to be able to figure things out. So yesterday, we left the church after the meetings and headed to our house to end our fast and head to lunch when we got a call from the bishop.  We hurried back to the church and he pulled us in to his office where we found our investigator, Domitila, (the mom of a young man in the ward who I've mentioned before) and she proceeded to tell us that she had decided that she's ready for her baptism and that she'd already taken work of for the 27th of June. It was an amazing experience because we had been fasting for very different purposes, but the Lord saw fit to bless us with something different according to His will.  I was grateful to recieve a witness that He really is aware of us and knows what is best for His work.  We're really excited to prepare her for her baptismal interview later this week.

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying summer vacations.  Talk to you next week!

Elder Dower
June 8, 2015

Rain Rain Go Away!‏

Hey Everyone!

Well once again the week has flown by and I can't believe I'm here again on monday morning.  It's been a weird week down here in Valdivia, it literally has hardly stopped raining and hailing all week, I'm finally starting to realize why they call this place "Valdlluvia" (lluvia means rain in spanish).  We've been soaked all week haha.

This week has been full of ups and downs down here, some of the highest points of my mission along with some of the lowest ones. Probably best to start with the low one.  So Elder Nielsen who is from Clinton Utah has been sick this week so saturday we did divisions with him and his companion, Elder Kvarfordt, in order to let them work in their sector a little bit.  So Elder Kvarfordt and I head to a part member family that they are teaching, they had an investigator with baptismal date there but she was busy so we just talked with her in laws and tried to get them to invite her to church the next day for us. The father in law just got really angry with us that we were doing this and I still don't understand why, in the end he literally kicked us out of the house.  I had never had something like this happen to me in my mission.  High point, last week I mentioned how one of our members introduced us to a friend. We got to teach her this week and I really have not taught someone so prepared for the gospel in my mission. We had left her a pamphlet that explains the restoration and when we met she had underlined and highlighted the pamphlet. I'm really excited about continuing to teach her his week.

I've been studying and pondering a lot this week about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I think above any other thing, I have learned about this topic on my mission.  I have come to realize my absolute, complete dependence upon the atonement.  We learn in the scriptures that, in reality, no matter what we do, we will always be in debt to Him. Well, as a missionary, I have to admit I am quite imperfect.  I am constantly making mistakes and dropping the ball on things that I have to do.  But, because of the atonement of Christ, that's not the end of things.  I am able to keep trying and I am still loved and valued by God.  And along the way, I can overcome these weaknesses, with His help.  I have a strong testimony of this, I am sure that Christ really did suffer and die for us and that makes a huge difference in my life and the lives of everyone else. How fortunate we are to be members of this church and to have this knowledge and hope in our lives.

Well that's it for now, have a great week and choose to be happy everyone!

Love, Elder Dower

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Good Bye May

Hey Everyone!

Wow I can't believe that June is already here, May came and went faster than I can believe.  It's been a really good week, pretty crazy, and pretty entertaining as well.

This week was the week of sickness in the zone of Calle Calle, the ironic thing about that is that we had our annual flu shots on Tuesday, so you would think we all should have been nice and healthy.  On Thursday as we were getting ready to eat lunch I got some pretty bad stomach pains.  I wasn't able to eat lunch and went home to lay down and wait the pain out a little.  Just as I started to feel better, we got a call from some missionaries in the zone letting us know that one of our missionaries was in the hospital and that they were going to keep him overnight for observation. We went out to relieve his poor companion who had been in the hospital all day long and I stayed with the sick misssionary through the night.  I got to sleep on a sweet armchair and everything! The next day they transferred him down to Osorno where they still have him in treatment.  We then had to run back to our house and get over to the interviews we had that day with President Obeso.

We've had some good success in finding people this week.  One of the young men in our ward took us to a friend who has been attending the mission preparation classes to play the part of investigator in the practices that they do. She is awesome and accepted the invitation to investigate the church with real missionaries, we'll be teaching her this week.  We were also able to teach the brother of one of the members of our ward who we have with a baptismal date for the 20th of June.

I was very gratefull for our interviews with President this transfer. Obviously this was my last interview with him until the end of my mission and I really appreciate the councel that he gave me.  One of the things that I really admire about President Obeso is his ability to discern through the spirit exactly what the people need to hear.  It is an ability that I want to develop myself.  Lately I have learned a lot of things in my mission and I have found myself thinking many times "why didn't I figure this out earlier in the mission?" but he helped me realize that that happens in really any position.  We are continually learning new things and overcoming past weaknesses and it does us no good looking on the past like that.  Rather, it does us a lot more good to look at the now and try to use what we have learned and do our best in our current circumstances.

Well that's about it for this week, hope you are all doing well and feeling happy in whatever you are doing.  Til next week.

Elder Cameron Dower

So just thought this was funny, so you can all see how much we are suffering down here in the end of the world, this is the weather forecast for this week. ;)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekly Update‏

Here we are again Monday morning at the beginning of another week. I say this just about every week and I'll say it again, I can't believe how fast time goes by out here.

This week was transfers which is basically the most hectic time of my life out here on the mission.  Monday was Elder Bustamante's last day in the sector, we said goodbye to all the members and investigators.  Tuesday we sent him off to Puerto Montt and I stayed with two other elders in the zone for the day.  Tuesday we were in the bus terminal early at 8 30 in the morning and were there coordinating trasfers with missionaries constantly coming and going until my companion finally got here at about 11 at night. It was a really long day haha but I've realized that I should be grateful for the opportunity to learn to coordinate things like that.

Friday was our mission leadership council.  I really enjoyed it this time and learned a lot about how to be a good zone leader (finally! after four transfers!) which I was really grateful for.  My favorite part was being able to see so many of the missionaries from my MTC group all together there.  President Obeso made a comment about it because we have nine zone leaders and four sister training leaders that are finishing the mission this transfer.  Basically we have the choice to be "trunky" and not work as hard as we could and pretty much kill the mission or we can use all of the potential that we have and leave the mission much better than we found it.  It made me think about the choices that we have in life.  We can either use our influence to bring others down or we can build others up and be true followers of Jesus Christ.  We all have that same choice and we can decide how we are going to live our lives.  I'm really excited for these last weeks of my mission and for the opportunities that I have to help life others up and  help them follow our savior Jesus Christ.

Til next week,
Elder Cameron Dower

Saturday, May 23, 2015

One Transfer to Go!‏

Hello everyone!

So today marks the beginning of my last transfer in the mission. Today we got transfers and my companion, Elder Bustamante is leaving to another zone of the mission.  My new companion will be Elder Dennis.  I'm really excited to be with him, we lived together for four months while we were in Quellon together and I consider him one of my good friends in the mission.  I will miss my Colombian buddy though, my spanish has improved a ton this cambio and it'll be a little tough to keep it to the end of the mission.

We've had a pretty good week out here.  The best news is that our investigator who I was talking about a while back who had baptismal date is back on.  She'd had some issues with her son but things seem to be resolved and she's excited again for her baptism for the sixth of June.  It's been another testimony to me that God really is in control of His work and as long as we are obedient and do our part, things always work out in the end.  I'm so grateful to be a part of this gospel and to have the comfort of the knowledge that our Father in Heaven is in control and knows what He is doing.

Hope you all have a great week back in the warmth of wherever you are!

Elder Dower

Sunday, May 17, 2015

¡Feliz Dia de la Mama!

Hola todos!

Hope you all had a great mother's day yesterday! Ours went pretty well, we had a good day in church, it was pretty interesting though. So in our ward for some reason, we have priesthood and relief society meetings first, then sunday school, then sacrament meeting.  So yesterday when we started, there were only four of us in priesthood, including my companion and I.   So after the priesthood lesson, my companion and I decided to go and get a newly reactivated member who hadn't showed up yet.  We managed to convince him and he came.  We then went and did a special service project for our mamita, the member who makes us lunch every day.  The highlight of the week of course was being able to talk to my awesome family on skype yesterday.  I can't believe that so much time has passed since I left home and a lot has changed.  That's caused me to think and reflexion a lot this week.  Here on the mission, I think we always think that when we go home everything will be the same as it was before, everything back to normal.  But lately I've realized that that's not the case, we believe in eternal progression and as we all go on growing and progressing things have to change constantly.

As I've been thinking about that, it's scared me a little to be honest now that my mission is coming to a close.  But I've found something that has helped me recently.  I really like a scripture in Doctrine and Covenans 51:16-17,

16 And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season,until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, andcommand them to go hence;
 17 And the hour and the day is not given unto them,wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and thisshall turn unto them for their good.

The important part of this scripture for me is in verse 17 "act upon this land as for years" we are put in a particular situation for a certain amount of time that only God really knows how long we will be there.  The key is acting as if we are going to be there for years, maybe even forever.  For me, that means living in the moment.  Focusing on what I can do now in this very moment to contribute to the something, the Lord, someone else, my family, even myself.  Lately this has helped me a lot to be able to not be overwhelmed by all of the things that are going on now and in the future and thinking and worrying about the past as well.

Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement, I love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Hey Everyone!

We've had a pretty good week down here.  Things are going well in the sector as well as the zone. The families that I mentioned came to church again yesterday, which makes us feel really good.  The ward is finally getting excited to work and we're seeing the results.

I dunno if it got to the news back home
but this week there was a volcano eruption in  the mission.  Volcan Calbuco erupted on Wednesday and from what we hear, the ashes are getting everywhere in the mission, besides Valdivia.  What are the chances, finally when something exciting happens, we're in the only place that doesn't get interesting haha.

Things are going well with the mom of the recent convert I was talking about last week.  There have been a few difficulties between her and her son this week, but yesterday we had a great lesson with them.  Really, I haven't felt the spirit so strong many times in my mission, It was great, we were able to convince them to go to a conference with the temple president from Santiago.  It was awesome and her son even took her up to meet him after the conference.

Well I can't really think of much else to mention, sorry it's a bit of a lame email this week.  Thanks everyone for everything, talk to you next week.

Love, Elder Dower

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crazy Monday

Hey everyone! Wow it's been a crazy day today.  I'll just start off telling you the story.  So every Monday in the morning we have to send the mission office the report on our zone.  This morning we went to the church like usual to send it but it just so happened that today of all days the internet was out.  So we went to a ciber to send it, but the ciber doesn't have excel.  So we had to run back to the church, do the report in excel then run back to the ciber to try to send it.  Then we realized that my flash drive had a virus and we weren't able to open the file.  Then we ran to a member to see if he can fix the virus.  Luckily, it worked and we sent the report.  Until about 10 minutes ago the APs called and said that we sent last weeks report. So I know that sounds really lame, but I just wanted to explain why I'm so stressed at the moment, but o well, now that our p day is almost done we're finally all good.

We've had a really good week, starting last Monday.  We had divisions while I stayed with the ward mission leader in his house to have a family home evening with a family that is reactivating, my companion went with the elders quorum president to visit a part member family of a 17 year old recent convert of almost a year and his mom.  We've been visiting the mom for most of my time here and she's been really receptive up to the moment when you mention "baptism."  With Elder McDonald we decided to stop passing by very much and give her some time.  On Monday, she accepted a baptismal date for the 16 of May.  It's a really awesome miracle and the whole ward is super excited for her.

Yesterday was an awesome Sunday, we had four less active families in church that we've been working with and we're really excited to see the progress in the work.

That's weird that it's just barely starting to snow in April.  It looks like the weather is really wierd all over the place because here, it's just barely starting to get rainy here, but it should have started a couple of months ago, I'm hoping it will hold out like two more months, but I doubt it.  We are about to get all of the firewood bought which went well.  We're focusing more as a zone on helping the members be more spiritually strong and in activation so that the members can continue working in the same work even after we have left.  Have a great week., talk to you next week!

Thanks everyone for the support and prayers have a great week!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happy Monday!‏

Wow, this week already ended? Goodness, I feel like I was just writing everyone haha.  Hope you've all had a great week.  This week has been crazy for us, tons of stuff going on, but I feel good about how things are going in the sector and the zone and I'm really excited for this transfer.

So the thing about being here in Valdivia for transfers is that, unlike most other zones, they tend to last three days instead of one.  On tuesday we had to send the missionaries that went to Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt to catch their flight early the next morning.  Wednesday we got to wake up at 4 45 in the morning to send off the new trainers on a bus at 7 in the morning for Osorno.  We were in the bus terminal from like 6 30 til 5 in the afternoon when we finally got to go get some lunch at a restaurant we found that serves Colombian food, which made my companion happy. It was cool because Elder Warburton, who is from my group and one of my best friends in the mission, hung out with us for the day while we waited for his new companion, who got in at 10 30 in the night.  They stayed the night and we sent them up to their zone thursday morning.  They came back that same night to stay the night and be able to go to the mission leadership council in Osorno friday morning.  Friday morning we woke up at 5 in the morning to make it to the meeting, which was great, they showed us the numbers of baptisms and church attendance for the first three months of 2015 compared to the first three months of 2014, I'm happy to see that in our zone of Calle Calle has improved quite a bit in both key indicators this year.  It's good to see that little by little things are getting better.  After the conference we did some zl chores in Osorno passing by the mission home and the mission office and finally, when we got to the bus terminal, it was just at the gap of time when there are no buses from Osorno to Valdivia, so we had to wait until almost 8 at night to get on the bus to get home.  Needless to say, we were exhausted Saturday, but things are not over.  Saturday we had a baptismal interview in Paillaco, then we had to help two companionships in the zone move houses to a new house that we found (which is awesome, easily the biggest missionary house I've seen).  That night we helped our ward mission leader pour a cement path for his house.  Sunday, things finally calmed down and we had a great time in church.  We've been struggling trying to get the ward councils in the stake going well, especially our own in the ward, but this week was awesome.  Things went really well in the council and we were able to get a lot of things out of it.  Thus ended one of the craziest weeks of my mission.

I just want to share my testimony this week of the work of salvation.  The Lord really  is in charge of this work.  Even when we may not see the immediate results of our efforts, things really are progressing in the world.  He really is hastening His work.  I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a part of it.  Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hola todos!

Hope everyone enjoyed their easter weekend! It's been a pretty good week here, full of ups and downs, but ended on a huge up with the conference.

This week we were able to do another sweet activity with the zone.  We went to Paillaco, a little city in our zone.  We got permission to put up some sound equipment in the plaza and a projector screen to show the video "Because He Lives."  it was going to be awesome because normally there's a ton of people there, but it just so happened that Friday, the day of the activity, it was raining.  We decided to continue with the activity anyway and it went really well.  We contacted a bunch of people in the rain and were able to talk with a group of kids skateboarding there in the rain.  We had a lot of fun sharing the spirit of easter with a lot of people and enjoying time together as a zone.

Today we found out transfers and Elder Bustamante and I will be staying together for another one.  I'm really happy for that, things are going well in the zone, I love the missionaries here and feel like we are going to have a great transfer.  I hope that I'll be able to spend my last two transfers here.

General Conference was great.  I've always loved conference on the mission, I feel like every speaker has something awesome to say and I learned so much this time.  My favorite talk was Presidente Uchtdorf's about grace.  It helps me realize that despite my imperfections and weaknesses, God still loves me and wants me to keep trying ("a saint is a sinner who keeps trying").   I know that on the mission, and in daily life, we can be discouraged by our mistakes, but knowing that Jesus Christ performed the atonement and is right there with us, helping to us to progress and become better can help us take the next steps needed to overcome our shortcomings and become the people He wants us to be.

Thanks everyone for your love and support.  I love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, April 5, 2015

#GraciasAQueElVive - Happy Easter!

Hey Everyone! How are you all this week? Hope everything is going well.  Life is good down here in Chile.  Things keep progressing little by little.  We've had a really good week, and have seen lots of miracles.

This week, we didn't have quite as much attendance in church as last week, but still, it was pretty good for our ward.  We're working a lot with trying to fill the organizations of the ward.  We are missing a lot of callings here that are really important for us to be able to progress in the work the way that we want to here.  We talked a lot about this with our ward mission leader and he thought of a member who was secretary when he (the ward mission leader) joined the church.  We went together to visit this member the next day and had a really good visit.  He hadn't been in the church in years, but that same day he went with us to a ping pong activity in the church. The next day he went to a stake activity that we did. And then he went to church on Sunday! The ward mission leader then invited him with his mom to lunch with us. Success! We're really happy with that.  We've been seeing a lot of success with the less actives here, we're finding more and more people each week that are ready to return to the church.

So this week we started with the "Because He Lives" program.  On Saturday we had a stake activity that was really awesome.  If you haven't seen the video yet, see it! Then share it with everyone you know.

Have a great week everyone! Thanks for all the support!

Love, Elder Cameron Dower

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Weekly Update

Hey! Hope you have all had a great week.  I'm really happy with the week that we've had down here.  We're seeing miracles everywhere and I'm excited to see the progress in our sector.

First off, just so everyone knows, the church is going to start a huge campaign with a new video for easter called "Because He Lives" we're really excited to use it in the mission.  The video comes out on March 27th I believe so everyone (who is not a missionary that is) needs to share it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever you use to communicate with the world.  Just so you know :)

This week we had exchanges with the assistants to the president.  It's always fun to learn from them and see how we can help the zone from different points of view.  I got to work with Elder Crotzer, who replaced me when I left Rio Bueno so it was fun to hear about what happened after I left.  It was also cool to have my Syracuse West Stake buddy, Elder Jacobson with us one last time before he ends his mission at the end of this transfer.  To end the exchanges we had some fun and went to the plaza of Valdivia where Elder Bustamante played his guitar and Elder Crotzer played the violin and we did some sweet contacts.

This week was also our ward conference which was great.  Normally, every Saturday we get together as a ward and go out to visit people to invite them to church the next day.  This week we had to go to Paillaco, a little town about 45 minutes outside of Valdivia, to do a baptismal interview so we couldn't go.  Fifteen (normally about four or five members show up besides us) members showed up to go visit people and we had sixty five people in our sacrament meeting yesterday.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot when I come from a ward of like 300 attendance, but it's like twenty more than usually show up, so we're really happy about that.

Hey have more faith in the U! I want to know how the game with Duke goes.

I'm really excited for conference in the next couple weeks.  I feel like we just barely had the last one. Time is going by too fast!  It scares me.  Not that I'm "trunky" or anything, but I'm scared that the next three months will go by too fast and I won't have taken advantage of my time left here on the mission.  How did you handle the final months of your mission? I just feel like I have so much to do in so little time.

We have these next two weeks left in the transfer (it's gone by way too fast) I'm not sure what will happen, I only have two left after this one so I feel like this one will decide how I finish my mission, if I go, that's where I'll end, if I stay, I think I'll end here.

Well that's about it for this week, hope everyone has a great week.  You are the best!

Elder Cameron Dower

Monday, March 16, 2015

Another Week in Calle Calle

Hey everyone! Hope everything is well wherever you are in the world.  Things are going great here in Valdivia Chile.  I thing winter is finally at the door, it's not as hot anymore and people are saying that the rainy season should be starting any time now.  I'm hoping the nice weather lasts as long as possible because I know that once the rain starts, it won't stop until the end of my mission.

It's been a good week for us.  This week we had interviews with President Obeso.  It's great to be able to receive his counsel on what is going on in the zone and stake here.  We have a lot of challenges in the stake and we were able to find a lot of things that we need to work on as missionaries to be able to help the work progress here.

I've been a bit frustrated this week as well.  With Elder Bustamante gone for a couple days, we had to cover two sectors for the time he was gone.  We lost contact with a lot of investigators for that.  Saturday we had to go on emergency divisions to help an Elder in the zone who's been having a tough time.  I was happy to see that we were able to fulfill our purpose in different ways such as that though.  This week we are hoping to have more time to get things going in our own sector and be more of an example for the rest of the zone.

It's made me reflect a lot on the beginning of my mission and I remember how tired I always was and any excuse to not have to knock doors or walk all day in the street was welcome.  It's interesting to see how my desires have changed throughout the mission.  It's funny that now I want nothing more than to be able to talk with people about the gospel and help them to come unto Christ.  I guess that is what the gospel and the Atonement is all about, changing ourselves to be better disciples of Jesus Christ and doing His work here on the earth.

Thanks everyone for all of the love and support, I love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower

Today we went to a beach called Niebla close by

Monday, March 9, 2015

All By Myself!‏

So this week, Elder Bustamante has to go with another elder to Santiago to do some visa work.  So I'm left here as a solo Zone Leader with Elder Guzman, who has just over a week in the mission.  It's been a little crazy having to lead the whole zone by myself and do the training of Elder Guzman and work both of our sectors.  It's fun though.

We've had an awesome week this week.  Tons of great things have happened.  We had three investigators in church yesterday and a bunch of less active families.  One of these families has been an absolute miracle.  Two weeks ago, a young man from our ward left on the mission.  It was really hard for him because he had absolutely no support from his family.  His dad didn't want him to go and was angry with him for leaving.  Yesterday we went to visit them and it was completely different.  He had an experience this last week that changed him completely.  Now all of a sudden they want to come back to church.  They want to work in the church, they want to be sealed in the temple when their son finishes his mission.  This experience really strengthened my testimony that God really can do anything.  What appeared to be impossible a few weeks ago  is now reality. All because a loving Heavenly Father intervened.  If He was able to do this with this family, why not with any other family?

Things are going really well here.  I'm excited for this cambio and things are going to be great!

Love you all

Saturday, March 7, 2015

O How I Love Transfers...

Hey everyone! Hope you are all doing well this week.  This week we had trasfers in the mission which is just a whole bunch of fun for the zone leaders here.  First of all I had to get up at 4 30 in the morning to go to the bus terminal and send my companion to Chiloe which is a pretty long bus ride from here. My new companion, Elder Bustamante from Colombia got here at about 3:00 so we got to work a little in our sector but had to go back to receive the missionaries that got in from Punta Arenas and were waiting there from 8 30 to about 11 at night.  Needless to say, I slept really well that night.

Friday we had our mission leadership council, which was great.  I always love receiving instruction and council from President Obeso about how I can help the zone progress.  I needed it, because right when we got back from Osorno we had to solve a lot of problems in the zone among the missionaries which is my least favorite part about being a zone leader.  Sometimes I wonder why in the world the Lord would put two twenty year old kids here to help other 20 year olds with their problems but I am very grateful for the experience and for what I am learning with these things.  As sad as it is that these problems happen, I am grateful for them.

That is what I have learned a lot this week with my new companion.  When we are comfortable, we don't progress and don't have to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.  It is in the challenges and the trials that we have to learn and become better people.  My mission hasn't been easy.  I have really never been in an easy situation. But I know that I could not have learned so much nor progressed in any other way.  I am grateful for the love that the Lord has for me and for all of us to put us in difficult situations so that we can become better.

Thanks for all of your support, I love you all.

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Who's ready for six weeks of not speaking English? I am!‏

Well here we are at the end of another transfer.  I can't believe how fast they are flying by! Today we got the cambios and I am getting a new companion here in Valdivia.  Elder Bustamante is from Colombia and is a brand new Zone Leader here. This is gonna be my second native companion in the mission, it's been almost a year since my last one so it'll be fun being able to get better on the spanish.  Actually, out of twenty missionaries, only four of us are gringos, and all of the district leaders are latinos so I will not be speaking English for the next six weeks haha, guess it had to happen sometime in my mission.

Well thanks everyone for the birthday wishes, yesterday was awesome.  All the members  wished me happy birthday, the bishop even decided to announce my birthday from the pulpit.  I'm not sure if you're supposed to do that, but he did haha.  Today we had a zone activity and grilled some nice american hamburgers and everyone sang to me.  All in all, I enjoyed it.

It's been a bit of a slow week to tell the truth, I am really getting sick of summer here but luckily summer vacations will be finishing in these next couple weeks and people will finally be in their houses.  I'm looking forward to that, it will make things a heck of a lot easier for us. It's been a challenge to keep progress with great investigators because they always leave to do things during their vacations.  Our attendance in church has been suffering a little too because our strong, active families leave on vacations for a couple weeks.  Despite all of that, I am really excited for this next transfer. I've heard good things about Elder Bustamante and I'm ready to leave my mark on this zone.  President has said multiple times that this is the weakest stake in the mission, and I'm excited to be able to do my part to help it really progress.

Again, thanks everyone for all your help and support, you are the best!

Elder Cameron Dower

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another Week passed in the Blink of an Eye

Hey there everyone!

Once again the week has gone by and I can't even remember what the heck has happened.  All I know is that I feel good about it haha.

This week was really fun.  We did two exchanges this week in the zone.  On Tuesday Elder Wood came to our sector and we had a really good day.  We went out with our bishop to visit some members.  We've seen a ton of progress with our bishop.  Most of my mission we haven't had a great relationship with the bishop or branch president, but we've realized how important that is and have really improved our work with him as well as our ward mission leader.  Thursday I went with Elder Germann who is a newer missionary from Texas.  We had a really good day, I just hated feeling like the wise old man in the mission giving advice to a newer missionary haha.

Saturday was really fun. Our ward had its annual "Watermelon Festival."  Everyone had to bring a decorated watermelon and they gave out prizes for the best decorated, biggest and best tasting watermelon.  My companion and I decided to help our recent convert, Francisco with his.  We were on the hunt for the biggest watermelon available all week.  Finally we found one and decorated it as a shark! It ended up really cool.  And we won the prize for the biggest watermelon! Fransisco was super happy, even though he could hardly hold the watermelon up haha.

Our Awesome Watermelon Shark

Yesterday we had a great Sunday, even though it didn't start out so great.  In the morning we had ward council which started out great, until the members started arguing and contending with each other.  This has been something that we've struggled with in the ward, and it really impedes us from being able to work together as a ward. After the meetings we had our weekly meeting with the bishop and talked about it.  It was great.  He took everything we had to say so humbly and I'm really excited to see what happens.  We've just really lacked love here in this sector.  We feel like we're doing all the right things, but we don't really love the people we are working with and they don't feel our love, and that's why they don't come back. It made me think a lot about the motivation behind all the things that we do.  I feel like a lot of times we who have been members our whole lives are just so used to doing all the things that we do that we forget about the reasons that we do them.  If we have the love for God and our brothers and sisters here on earth, not only are we going to do all the things required of us, but we are going to do them from the heart, and we will be blessed so much more for them.

Thanks everyone for your support and love, you are all the best!

Elder Cameron Dower

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hey Everyone!

Hope you've all had a fantastic week. I sure have. Things are going great here in Valdivia.  Every weeks has ups and downs but by the end of the week I usually just think it was a good week without really remembering specifics haha.

To start off this week we had a missionary in our zone have to go to Santiago for a few days to do things for his visa, so we had a trio from monday to wednesday with Elder Kvarfordt from St George Utah. It was fun to have the trio but it's alway a bit awkward to do things with three when you are used to having two.  Monday night we had a ward family home evening so Monday we decided to make some rice krispy treats to bring and everyone was amazed by our creation.  At least five people have asked us for the recipe haha.  It was great because a couple of investigators and less active members attended as well.

Tuesday we got a young man from the ward to accompany us so we could do divisions.  It was cool because I've been able to do very few divisions on my mission but we were able to get three lessons with member that day, which is probably more than I've ever gotten in one day in my mission.

Wednesday we decided to go work in Elder Kvarfordt's sector for a little while because it had been abandoned the past two days.  We were able to find a few inactive members through El Rescate (I love it).

Thursday we had the Biggs, a senior missionary couple in the mission who are awesome, come do house inspections in the zone (yes, mom, our house passed!) and we got to accompany them to some of the rest of the zone.

Friday we had a cool miracle that we were able to teach the father of an investigator family that we were working with when I got here, but we haven't been able to teach in quite a while.  He is super prepared and we are planning on putting him and his family with baptismal date this week.

Saturday was a little slow. The members of our ward had a ward trip that we weren't able to go on so we were left alone without most of our members and investigators home.  We were able to do some secret service for some of them by going by and cutting their grass.  Notice how I said "cutting their grass" and not "mowing their lawn,"  yea lawn mowers are really rare here so we got to cut the grass with scissors.

Yesterday we had a cool surprise when our investigator Felipe showed up to church (the son of that family I talked about earlier) he finally finished with his work he's been doing so we're going to be able to go by more this week. The bishop asked me to give a talk about 30 minutes before sacrament meeting started.  I thought I was gonna get through my mission without having to do that but nope.

So that's the week this week.  Hope you all have a great week this week, I love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower

Cameron's Mom received a special surprise this week with the following email.  She is so proud of her boy.

Dear Sister Dower,
     My husband and I are senior missionaries serving in the Chile Osorno mission.  We inspect missionary apartments as part of our assignment.  Last week we inspected Elder Dower's apartment and it was SO CLEAN!!!  Elder Dower asked me to email you and let you know about it.  I'm not sure if it was because he was (rightfully) so proud or if he didn't think you would believe it.  At any rate, he got an A from us in the inspection department.  Hope all is well with you and yours.  We are enjoying your son.  He is a super young man and a great missionary.  Love, Dennis and Jean Biggs

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Hi everyone!

Once again the week has flown by and I can`t believe it's already over (yes, I realize I say that just about every week, but it's true!).  We've had a really great week which ended with a great Sunday yesterday.

We've been struggling fo a little while to get our investigators to church.  We've found some great people lately but for whatever reason, they just haven't been abe to make it to church. Finally, this week we were able to teach two of them, confirm their baptismal date for the end of the month, and commit them to church, and they came! What was the difference this week? The members! One of the investigators, Victoria, is the girlfriend of a less active member we were able to find a while ago, she is really interested and loves to learn about the church.  On Saturday we met as a ward to go visit people and we sent our ward mission leader along with his wife, the relief society president to go visit them. And they came! The other investigator with date, Alan, is th brother of a member in our ward.  We've been teaching him in the house of his brother. This week we brought a different member to the lesson with us as well and he invitied Alan to chuch. And he came! We're really excited about them.

Other fantastic experience from yesterday, with it being the first sunday of the month, we had fast and testimony meeting. To our surprise, our recent convert, Francisco, who is 12 years old got up to give his testimony.  It was one of the greatest testimonies I've ever heard! It's so great to see his progress and to have been able to be here for it.

Things are going great and I'm loving life here. Thanks everyone for your love and support. I love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

26 de Enero 2015

Hello everyone!!!

Wow this week has flown by, to be honest I'm not even sure what to talk about in this email haha. We've had a great week this week.  On Wednesday we had the opportunity to do exchanges with the asistants to the President. It was cool to learn from Elder Bate, and to have Elder Jacobson in the house for a day.  The next day we had our zone conference with President Obeso. It's always good to be able to learn from him about his vision for the mission.  Now we just need to apply what we learned in our area and our zone.

With summer vacations it's been a little tough to keep contact with our investigators and we haven't been able to see a few of them this week, which is a little frustrating, but it also brings great opportunities to find some new people.  We've also been able to visit many less active members. and strengthen our connection with the active members as well.

We had a great experience on Friday when we had an appointment with an investigator that we went to with our ward mission leader. Well the investigator wasn't home so we asked him where he felt like we should go.  Right away he said "yo sé" and headed down the road and we followed him to an inactive member who used to be the mamita for the missionaries.  At some point a member made a comment that offended her and she hasn't wanted to go to church since.  As we visited her the member shared a scripture and we could feel the Spirit really strongly in the room. The hermana started crying and said she'd think about going to church on Sunday. She didn't end up coming, but we learned a good lesson.  Sharing with the Spirit was so much more effective than trying to pursuade her to come to church.

So as a ward, last week we started meeting on Saturday nights to go out and visit people to invite them to church the next day.  Last week the only people who showed up were my companion and I, the bishop and his son, the elder's quorum president, and our ward mission leader and his wife.  This week none of them showed up.  We had invited more people this week and two less active sisters showed up to go visit.  They were the only ones, I was so angry with the leadership of the ward for not coming and leaving it all to two less active sisters.  We sent them to go visit another less active member and went to our house to figure out what to do.  We said a prayer and felt like we needed to go visit the bishop.  We found a scripture to share with him and went. We talked for a while with him and found that we was feeling tired and down on himself about his calling. We shared the scripture and expressed our willingness to help him with anything in the ward.  The spirit was strong and he started to cry as well.  I was very grateful to be able to be a tool in the Lord's hands to help lift people up and feel the Spirit.

Thanks everyone for your support and love.  Have a great week!

Elder Cameron Dower

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lovin Life in Chile

Hey everyone! How are you all doing?! I am fantastic! We have officially survived the hottest week of my mission! It's actually only been like 80 degrees but for what I've been used to in the mission it felt like it was over a hundred.  The bad news is that people say that it's gonna be even hotter this week. But even still, we're enjoying it!

So this week we had transfers which was my first time doing them as a zone leader. Since our mission is so big and long the zone leaders are in charge of sending all the missionaries to their new areas and recieving the new missionaries that come to our zone. Wednesday we had to be in the bus terminal at 6 in the morning to send off some missionaries and then wait for all the new missionaries in the zone to get here.  It was a little hectic when we have 13 other pairs of zone leaders to coordinate with, it takes about 10 hours or more to get from one end of the mission to the other and you have to fly to or from three of the zones.  It was fun too though because I got to see a lot of my friends in the mission who I haven't seen in a while.

It's been a really great week for my companion and I. We were able to put two investigators with baptismal date this week which was a huge miracle that we feel like was a result of our efforts to work better with the ward here.  We've been able to coordinate much better with our ward mission leader and bishop and the ward council as well, which has been a challenge in my whole mission. We have high goals for the year as a ward, and the Lord is blessing us with the opportunity to accomplish those goals. As a zone we have progressed a lot as well, with the transfers we recieved a lot of great missionaries who are excited to work in their new areas and are helping out a lot.

So this week is a special week for our family. Tuesday, the 13th was the 3 year aniversary of my Dad's liver transplant. I can't believe how fast the time has gone by since then.  I remember that time as one of the most difficult of my life but also as one of the biggest blessings. As a family we have grown so much together since then, as a family and spiritually as well. We have come closer to the Lord.  I love my family so much and am so glad for the opportunity I have now to help other people gain the same blessings that my family has enjoyed from being closer to the Savior.  I'm so grateful for the understanding that we have of the gospel and the perspective that it gives us in this life.

Thanks everyone for your support and love. I couldn't do this without you all.  Have a fantastic week!

Elder Dower

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One More in Calle Calle!‏

Hey Everyone!

So today we got news on transfers and Elder McDonald and I are staying together for another one! I'm really excited for six more weeks here in Valdivia, we've had a great transfer and I'm excited to see what happens this week.

We've had a great week this week as a zone.  In our sector we've progressed a lot as well. I think I might have mentioned last week, but we're changing a lot of things as a mission this year. We're focusing a lot on including the members in the work.  My companion and I decided that we needed to meet with our bishop and the ward mission leader to discuss some goals for the new year. We're all really excited to see success this year in our ward.  Now we just need to apply it to the stake.

My companion and I have worked really hard this week to find new investigators.  Just like a good part of my mission, we've seen that the investigator pool has been drying up a little. We worked really hard and were really blessed to be able to find a lot of people.  Last sunday we went by a recent convert that hasn't been to church in a while and her cousin was there visiting with her.  We talked with her a little and had a lesson with her yesterday that was awesome. We also have been working with a program in Chile called "El Rescate" (the rescue) which is a database of the records of the church combined with the records of the chilean government which allows us to find a lot of the inactive members down here.  About 90% of the members in Chile aren't active and a lot of them have moved since they've been to church and the address we have in the church system isn't accurate. This week we found a family of four that hadn't been visited by missionaries for five years.  They are really receptive, especially the girlfriend of one of the members, who isn't a member. We have another appointment with them on Tuesday.We were also able to get three families who haven't gone to church in all my time here to go to church.

I'm really enjoying the mission right now.  As a zone we are really trying to focus in on our purpose as missionaries.  When I am working towards my purpose as a missionary I really feel like I'm doing my job and it's an amazing feeling.  I was thinking about our purpose here as children of God.  We all have a purpose here and we as members of the church are fortunate enough to know what it is.  When we work toward that purpose we will be able to feel the happiness of our Heavenly Father in our lives.  Thanks everyone for your love and support, I love you all!

 Cool news: Elder Jacobson is the new assistant to the president, it's funny because he and Elder Bate, the other AP were companions as my zone leaders in Chiloe haha.

Elder Cameron Dower

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy 2015!

Holy cow, I can't believe it's already 2015, it's hit me this week that I only have six months left in the mission! That's a crazy thought. I can't believe how fast this has gone by and how much I still have left to do in the time I have left. I've absolutely loved this last year of 2014.  I couldn't have imagined how much I would learn and grown during this last year I've been able to spend serving the Lord.  It's been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I'm so grateful for the next six months I have to be able to finsh this thing off.

It's been a pretty good week for us.  New year's was pretty challenging because for a few days pretty much nobody was in the streets, and most of our investigators were busy and couldn't meet with us.  We were able to spend a good amount of time searching for less active members since we have a TON of them here to find.  Luckily for the holidays a lot of them were in their houses and we could talk to them.  Not all of them were receptive but at least we could verify that they live there.

On Friday we had the oportunity to do splits with the assistants.  I got to work with Elder Kevesdy and learned a ton from him.  There are a lot of changes that are happening in the mission for this new year which we are in charge of implementing in the zone.  I'm really excited to see the progress in the mission with these new changes that are going to allow us to work better with the members and focus more on our purpose as missionaries.

Well hope everyone had a great week and has a great year 2015.  Thank you all for your love and support, you're the best!!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, January 4, 2015

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!‏

Hey Everyone! Hope you all had a great Christmas! It was pretty great here, the highlight was obviously getting to talk to the family on Skype.  It's so weird that it was my third time already.  It's funny how much has changed and yet how much has stayed the same the last year and a half. So in Chile, they celebrate Christmas at midnight on the 24th (they don't have to wait til 7:00 in the morning like some poor children) so we got to eat dinner that night with a member family we are working with which was pretty fun.  I really enjoyed the candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup from my family along with the elf pajamas. On christmas we got up and opened our presents.  New white shirts and ties and new socks, what else could a missionary want? Later that day we went to our investigator, Francisco and his family's and played Monopoly with them and shared a message (I totally won at monopoly haha).

Apart from talking to the family, the biggest highlight this week was the baptism of Francisco on Saturday.  I love that family so much.  I'm really hoping that his mom is going to be able to be baptized during my time here as well.  It was a great service. He was baptized by a member here who just got his mission call to serve in Santiago and was confirmed by our ward mission leader.  It's great to see that he has so much support from the members. I'm really excited about the work here.  We're planning on putting another investigator, Felipe, with baptismal date later today which I'm feeling really good about as well.

Wow, I can't believe that we are going into 2015.  When I started my mission the year 2015 seemed so far off and I can't believe that it's already here. It's really weird to think that I'll spend half of this new year on the mission and half of it back home. It's caused me to think about all the things I still have left to do here on the mission and what I want to accomplish before I'm done here.  I imagine the person I want to be and the relationship that I want to have with the Lord. I have a lot of goals for the rest of my mission, and that is why I love this opportunity we have to set resolutions for the next year and the opportunity that the atonement of Jesus Christ gives us to change and better ourselves.  We are so fortunate to have the tools that we need to conquer all of our weaknesses and continually improve ourselves to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

Hope you all have a great New Year's, I'll definitely be sleeping through it, but hope you all enjoy it haha. Thanks for all the support and love.

Love, Elder Cameron Dower
¡Feliz Navidad!

Hey Everyone!

Is it really already Christmas?! Holy cow I feel like we just passed July! We've had a really busy week that has passed by incredibly fast. Christmas feels really different this year.  Maybe the lack of snow and family and the abundance of sun and missionary stuff to do is the reason, but I like that this year I get to focus a lot more on the real reason for Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

This week we have been busy with a lot of activities for Christmas.  We had a combined stake choir where the missionaries participated Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday we were in the Valdivia mall, Saturday in the plaza and Sunday in the stake center (don't worry, I didn't sing, just contacted the people walking by, I acknowledge the fact that all of the singing talent went to my sisters).  It was a huge headache getting everything set up (more zone leader probs) but in the end everything went well and we had a great turnout to all three activities.

We've also been getting our friend Fransisco ready for his baptism which, unfortunately, will not take place on Christmas day, but on Saturday, the 27th instead.  But we are still really excited for him and this step he and his family are taking together.

Well this should be an interesting week.  I have absolutely no idea what we're going to end up doing for Christmas down here, but I'm sure we'll find something fun! I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas! Thank you all for all you do to support me in this, couldn't do it without you!

Love, Elder Cameron Dower