Tuesday, May 9, 2017

8 May 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

(General e-mail)

I have so little desire to write the big letter these days. haha Its like a burden. Cant I just tell yall in 2 weeks?

So we got the paper stuff sorted out with the contreras family and they very well might be baptized this weekend!!!

We also met a cool Venezuelan family this week who have huge potencial. The husband found the BoM in the trash at his work, picked it up, cleaned it off and took it home. Hes very interested to find out more about it, but his wife was even more interested in the Restoration. The both accepted the Baptismal invitation and are set on going to church next week.

Bye! Love you all!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

1 May 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

(Response to Dad's e-mail, in which he shared his opinion of how Trump is doing as president, since Christian asked--basically that the economy is doing well, stock prices are way up, taxes are coming down, the wall is going up, etc.; mentioned that it'd been a while since we'd seen the sun around these parts; invited Christian to attend the temple with him regularly upon his return; etc.)

Sweet, thats what I wanted to know. Everyone here HATES trump and I just wanted a conservative stand point. Weeks sounds great, conference super awesome. etc. Sun? Whats that? Oh that thing I havent seen in over a week because of our non stop rain? haha yeah....good times.

Weekly temple attendance is actually on my post mish plan. Lets do it.

Love you dad!

(General e-mail)

A weird fruit called Mamon.

Last temple trip! With just my bros!

Monday, April 24, 2017

24 April 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

(Response to Dad's e-mail, in which he shared that he taught the Law of Consecration in Sunday School: "I pointed out that in the temple we covenant to live the Law already and that everything is in place for us to voluntarily live the Law today. The only thing stopping us is ourselves. We aren't limited to paying a small fast offering and 10% tithing. We could at anytime we wanted pay anything that we felt was a surplus above and beyond what we need. True, we don't meet with the bishop and consecrated all that we have to the church and then receive back  a stewardship but we can each do so much more.")

Hey, i taught the law of consecration too! I really liked that lesson and thought about the same thing. Would I be willing to live it? I think it would take a little bit of prayer, but in the end I know the Lord recompenses us for all our worldly sacrifices.

The week was great! Ill tell you about it in a second. Im still clerk and 2nd councilor, the branch...is definately not growing. We are working super hard and the members love us, but the complete lack of a branch presidency makes for a big stumbling block. Our presidents work schedule makes it so hes not even in town...ever, and our 1st councilor hates everything and anything to do with his calling. He only goes to church cus him wife makes him, and then he doesnt do anything at all. He sleeps during classes and lies to us to avoid going to meetings and activities. Its hard and I can only do so much. The city is fairly large (by dominican standards) and its just my comp and I. The members leave with us...sometimes...depends on the member, and teaching in members homes doesnt exist here. Its like a culture thing? I dunno. But Ive never done it, and tried multiple times.

Love you Dad! Im not discouraged, but I do get a little frustrated sometimes. BYE

(General e-mail)

Well family and friends....

Here we are.

So, what shall we talk about today?

Well this week was pretty swell. We had some great lessons, found some cool people, the norm. Nothing really to stand out. For our thursday activities Ive been teaching the youth how to play Bang. Even though its in english, we get through it all right, and they really enjoy it.

Oh, I do have a spot of good news. The Elders from Los Llanos (neighboring campo) should be going in today to fix the problems for the Contreras family, clearing the way to marriage! Now we just need them to have money! haha We had a great lesson with them about doing their part and not having to be compelled to act (save money, read scriptures, say prayers, etc) They promised to buckled down and really start to study the BoM and save for their marriage. Crismailyn was confirmed on Sunday, and seemed really pleased about it. Crisbel is still on the fence and Cealis was too sick to come to church.

Tomorrow we have a Zone Conference in the capital and it should be great. Also, my suit is almost done! I went in for some final fittings today and it looks pretty snazzy. Mght have photos next week.
In my personal study, Ive started the war chapters in Alma and Im reminded about how much I love Capt. Moroni. Such an amazing example and just generally awesome character. I wanna write him as a side character into some of my books. My comp and I have been talking about Moronis strategy of rallying the people by running through town basically shouting "FREEDOM!!!!" An amusing image.
In other news....um....Im not dead yet...? Is that news? haha Still workin my guts out, contacting, asking for references, trying to animate the members, planning and leading activities and meetings etc. The monte Python man cant yet put me on his cart!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, April 17, 2017

17 April 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

I was just sitting here, staring at the computer and realized I hadnt written the big letter yet! AH!


This week was awesome! This letter will be short, but I will tell the important parts.

So Crisbel from the Contreras family, didnt get baptized. She got scared at the last second and said no. We were there, with the font filled, the chairs set and everything, but spent the next like 2 hours talking with her. We will see what happens tomorrow when we visit them.

We also visited this awesome family that were taught by the first missionaries of Quisqueya, but since then have lost contact with the missionaries. We had a great lesson about the restoration and the husband got really quiet and thinky like. Pensativo. It seemed to impress him alot. I felt very strongly that he needs the BoM as it is a VERY powerful tool for conversion.

I gave a great talk on sunday about conversion and even made one of the members cry. It was really cool and the Lord helped me prepare it in about 2 seconds as I wasnt supposed to speak that day. The Spirit was very strong.

I said this would be short! I love you all and hope you have a great week! BYE!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

10 April 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

(General e-mail)

Dont let the title of this letter deceive you. Im not trunky. Rather I am...content. I know Ill continue working hard until the end and at the same time prepare myself for college and after mission life. Sometimes I get a little sad when I realize that its all coming to an end and that Ill never be able to work like this again, but I know the Lord is pleased with my efforts and the blessing we're receiving reflects that.

That being said...

LAST TRANSFER! AH! CRAZINESS! Im going to attach some photos of my last agenda. Its tradition to make it as trunky as possible. :)

So, for transfers we're stayin the same. My crazy Brazilian will be killing me and Ill be going down in a blaze of glory. I like to think that he wont "kill" me, but rather, I will be translated. :P

This week was awesome! We saw progress! We dropped a lot more people! We had a baptism!! WOO! I will tell you our swell baptism story.

So the other day we had a swell SWELL lesson with the Contreras family. We started singing the Hymn, How Gentle God's commands (one of my favorites), and then...I totally blanked. I had no idea what to teach and my companion was just staring at me waiting for me to share something. So, last second I looked up the accompanying scripture to the hymn, 1 John 5:3, and shared it. That led into a cool discussion about why the Lord gives us commandments and how they are really blessings and protection in disguise. We also used it to do a BoM, Bible comparison lesson using 1 Cor 10:13 and 1 Nephi 3 showing that God doesnt ask us to do impossible things. It was really, REALLY awesome. And totally on the spot, led by the Spirit. In the end we tied it into baptism and put a date with the 2 daughters that were present for Sunday (yesterday) and they both accepted! We scheduled the interview for friday and went our way clicking our heels and singing praises to the Allmighty the whole way.

Friday, the interview. When we sat down with the family, I felt prompted to speak again of the true meaning of baptism and why its important. Cealis (the younger) had no problems, but Crismaily (the older) had received the mistaken impression that this was just a fun baptism and that she wouldnt be required to continue in the church afterward. Thats what like all the other churches do here. We (4 of us as Elder Rowe and ELder Johnson were already there to do the interview) proceeded to have a discussion about repentance, peace in imperfection, and the true joy that comes from following Christ. Crismaily accepted the invitation (again, now with better understanding) and comitted to make the necessary effort.

But wait! Thats not all!

So sunday. Baptism. The family is super excited. We were supposed to have interviews with Pres. Corbitt that day, making the schedule a bit crazy, but maneagable. He wasnt going to be able to stay for the baptism but promised to drop by the family to share a few words. (they already know and love him). So, in the end, President got here WAY late, just as we were ready to start the baptism. While we were changing he talked with the Contreras and especialy with Crisbel, the last daughter who hadnt accepted a date. As we left the bathroom, President was just standing up to do an on the spot baptismal interview with Crisbel. BOOM. God's work. That story mightve come out kind of jumbled, but Im writing really fast. The spirit was so strong, the baptism was great, and the whole family shared their testimonies.

Love you all!

The final agenda.

End-of-transfer photo! Only one more!! :/

The final agenda.

The Contreras family.

"Trunky" final agenda.

Double baptism yesterday! WOO!!

Monday, April 3, 2017

3 April 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

(Response to Dad's e-mail, in which he spoke of his adventures in Moab with Ian and Cory and Cory's boys; also getting to watch CONFERENCE!)

That sounds amazing! Ian keeps telling about all the adventures Hes gonna take me on when I get back. Conference was EXCELLENT! I was very saddened to see the subtitles during Pres. Monson´s talk but still loved being able to hear from him. I was struck by multiple points of the conference. First, how much everyone expressed their love for the prophet. I felt it was more than ever which is needed given the rising opposition. Also, the importance of the Holy Ghost and good family gosepl teaching and examples. I felt like those were a big part of conference. Loved it! The bad part i will put in the big email. heh heh. Love you dad! Pray for me to stay focused this last transfer. Im doin pretty ok, but I wouldnt mind the extra help. :)

(General e-mail)

This week was.....

Well kind of pretty cool actually.

No amazing stories to share, but I do have some funny experiences.

So this week we had to drop ALOT of our investigators because....they dont do anything, but we have found some really cool people in our contacting efforts.

One cool experience actually. We have been teaching this guy name Eddy for a long time. He was a 24/7 drunk and although he really enjoyed church, a temple trip, and the Book of MOrmon, hes never been able to kick the rum. We havent visited him for some time, but friday night we swung by to see him. Eddy wasnt home, but we found one of the friends hes always drunk with. The friend was semi lucid so we talked to him for a few minutes and invited him to conference. He told us that we would definitely see him here (he didnt go) and that he would bring Eddy. Then the cool part. He also mentioned that Eddy hasnt been drinking for a while now. He goes, sits with his friends, refuses the offered drinks and just reads the BoM. Were not sure if its actually true as drunks arent the most reliable sources, but it sounds cool to us!

Funny stories!

So saturday I woke up at about 3am with intense stomach pains and nausea. I guess i ate something gross on accident and, as a result, I was down for the count all saturday and most of Sunday. I never vomited though(even though I really wanted to). On top of all that we still had to pass for our investigators to bring them to conference and it was a VERY hot day. Then after the first session, we had to hop on a bus down to San Pedro, the major city, so that my comp could do a baptismal interview and we passed the night there. I fought to stay awake during the sessions but finally gave out at the end of priesthood. It was rather miserable, but I still thoroughly enjoyed conference.

Also, while I was talking with an investigator I was abruptly hugged from behind by this super nasty stalker girl who...well lets just say she has very low moral standards. I clenched up like a clam and we booked it out of there pretty fast while my companion held in his giggles. I was pretty grossed out. Yay mission experiences. hahaha

Love you all! Have a great week!

Trampoline palace! Best Pday ever!! Dodge ball, foam pits, fighting thing, basketball hoops. SUPER cool. I took mostly videos but...here are a few photos.

Monday, March 27, 2017

27 March 2017 - Quisqueya (San Pedro de Macoris)

(Response to Dad's e-mail, in which he counsels Christian to stay busy, talks about the crazy spring weather--rain, then snow, then 70 degree sunshine, Ian's budding new photography talent, Jason's upcoming assignment in Nigeria with Jami and the kids coming, and the new Thomson baby expected toward the end of the year, and finally the upcoming Book of Mormon Evidence conference in Orem the week following General Conference.)

Busy is right! Here in the DR the weather...is a bit different. The sun burns REALLY REALLY hot during the whole day, and then rains all night. Its been doing that for about a week now and...wow. HOT.

Funny, I never pictured Ian as a big photographer. Funny to see where life leads our interests.

Yeah, Jason told me about NIgeria and the baby! CRAZY!! And youll have to tell me about the BoM conference. Pumped for conference!!

(General e-mail)

Well I dont really know what to say this week. I always say I will write more...but then I run out of things to say. hahaha You all know that I shout in lots of doorways, ask tons of references and eat weird food. Im not really trunky, havin a great time and....yeah...missionary life.

Well in my personal study Ive really begun to develop a deep love for the Book of Mormon. Im moved by the stories and I always wish I had more time to read. Elder Anderson told us that that was one of the signs of a true conversion. Yay personal progress! (not the young womens program. ;))

The contreras family continues the same. They all came to church on sunday and always love our visits. We watched an old cartoon with them that some of you might remember! Living Scriptures, Lehis dream. Its very old, but I still love it and it helps to teach the principles. We are going to put a baptismal date with the daughters of the family for april as we still havent fixed their paperwork situation.

THis week we also started to see just how much help our branch needs. The members fight and bicker, our presidency doesnt/cant do anything and Im just kind of caught in the middle, doing what I can to help. We are praying alot to know how we can bless the branch, but...its hard. hahaha NEVER LOSE HOPE! WOO!

Anyway. Thats...pretty much it...I cant think of anything else woth mention except CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND!!! The sad part is that our branch doesnt even have money to go to the district center to see it, and we cant really watch it in our chapel...We're workin on it. haha

Love you all!