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