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