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