Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lufkin in the Rain

This week was great. We had a specialized meeting up in Tyler and and it rained for 3 days  and we got a cold front and I have been soo happy because of it. The weather is actually normal. It feels like driving up AF canyon in the fall. It's amazing. 
This week we had some appointments fall through and so we didn't get to teach as much this week. We did meet with a less active family and got to know them better and I got my first solid would you be willing contact. I don't think y'all know what that is. I can't believe I haven't told you yet.  It's perfect for when people go out to eat or feel like sharing the gospel in a non-threatening way. President Durrant wanted to come up with a phrase that would help the missionary work here in Dallas and that members could use to find people and get us more referrals. It's a simple phrase that people can use with nice, friendly people they meet. They simply say would you be willing to listen to a brief presentation of my ______?(fill in the blank with faith or religion or something to that effect) in their conversation. And so I did that at Subway and the lady was really nice and said yes! So I asked for her contact info and we have a set appointment with her for tomorrow. It's going to be great! 
Oh ya and President Durrant wanted to say thank you for being awesome parents/ family! 

As far as teaching Santivia we haven't been able to meet with her to teach her but we have stayed in touch and I'm hoping that we will be able to teach her more. With Martin and Candy they have been cancelling and I don't know what's going on with them really but I know that God will help them to be able to have the gospel in their lives. I love them and want the best for them, so I hope everything works out. 
Well I love y'all! Keep on being the best family ever! I love y'all so much!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Miracle in Lufkin!

We had a miracle this past week in Lufkin. When we were giving service at a christian food bank in town called CISC, we helped a younger lady carry her food to her car and she asked Elder Hoopes if he worked there every week and he replied that we are missionaries for the Church. She then asked where the church was and what time our services are held. She said that she would come to church on Sunday and then she actually came and brought a friend! Her name is Santavia and they stayed for the first 2 meetings. And they had a little girl with them, maybe one of their kids who went to nursery and loved it. We got their contact information before they left and they said that they enjoyed church but had to leave for work. We are so excited to be blessed with this opportunity to love and serve another one of Gods children.

This past week we have been meeting with Dameon who was baptized last transfer because he hasn't been coming to church and also to have the new member lessons. We have had some really good lessons but he just hasn't been coming to church and when we ask he just gives us excuses. We are doing all we can to help him and are striving to continue to fulfill our purpose by helping him increase his faith and continue to make and keep covenants. I'm learning patience for Dameon because I love him so much and just want him to do the things that will make him happy.
We also stopped by multiple times to see Martin and Candy. They couldn't meet with us this week due to their schedule but we have followed up on the commitments we left them with and they are keeping them. Also Martin is getting off probation this week, which makes me feel even more so that he is prepared to receive the gospel at this time and I am so grateful that Elder Hoopes felt impressed to go out of our way to speak to them. It's amazing how the spirit works!  

Elder Hoopes is an amazing missionary! I have loved serving with him in Lufkin. We have developed a friendship that I hope will last forever as we have served the Lord's children. He is being transfered to Frisco and Prosper. I'm going to miss him. I'm excited to start serving with Elder Stufflebeam, my new companion who is from Cedar Hills! I actually met him once back home when he was recovering from his injuries here in Dallas. Small world! Lufkin is an amazing area and I feel so blessed to be able to continue to serve here!

Our meeting with Elder Anderson of the 12 was amazing! I loved it! We left our mission for it and went over to Fort Worth! We had the privilege to shake his hand and receive personal instruction from him. He spoke on the atonement and then he started walking around and continued speaking but asking questions and using a power point to help teach us and he was standing right next to me! His talk was amazing. It was very uplifting and encouraging to hear from him. Elder Hoopes got too see his best friend from Star Valley who is serving in Fort Worth which made him so happy! It made me happy to see him so happy! I saw Elder Chappell who was one of the AP's when I first got here to Dallas and was with Elder Weatherford  and so I saw practically one of my former companions and I love him so much. It's crazy that he goes home next transfer! I also saw Elder Degn and Elder Koenen! And other missionaries who I absolutely love!
This past week was Awesome! I hope it continues to be so this week and I'm pretty sure it will!
I love y'all a ton and love hearing from y'all! 
Love, Elder Drew Bowen!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fun with Elder Hoopes

This past week was amazing!
I love Elder Hoopes! It is such a blessing to serve with him! We have a blast as we serve the Lord and His children. He is constantly making me laugh! This morning I laughed so hard I almost cried. It's always good to have a good sense of humor at the right time and place. I enjoy teaching with him! I have learned a lot with him as we have taught and looked for people to teach and as we have studied together. I'm afraid I haven't trained him much but I'd say he was ready to serve a mission so I didn't have to teach to much. He has really opened up over the weeks. We talk as we drive to appointments and at home when we are eating and getting ready for bed.
So our week was great! Elder Hoopes felt prompted to contact a man named Martin right as we were getting in our car a few weeks ago after we stopped by our recent convert Dameon. So I was about to back out then he came and knocked on my window and said he wanted to talk to Dameon's neighbor who was sitting out on his porch. He gave him a card and started to talk to him a little then we asked if we could come by and teach his family and we scheduled an appointment. We went to the appointment and he wasn't there.  Then as we were walking back to our truck Martin pulled up and said he was sorry he couldn't meet with us that day, something came up with a family gathering but that we could you come back on Tuesday. We told him that we would come back and he then got back in his truck and headed off. I was impressed that he would come all the way back just to tell us in person that he wanted to reschedule. We finally got to teach him and his wife Candy this past week! He works at Pilgram's Pride as a foreman and they have four children, their oldest being eight. (Pilgram's Pride is a chicken processing place and one of the 2 major employers here in Lufkin.) We taught the restoration and got to know them. I already love this family! I too feel like they have been prepared to receive the gospel at this time. We are excited to be able to help them become converted to the restored gospel. Candy comes from a catholic family but has been looking for a church with her husband Martin. He doesn't have much experience with going to church. They said that we are the first people to find them and talk about church and we had a good lesson. We are going to see them again tomorrow! 
Yesterday at church the Beuse family, a really awesome family in the ward, brought a friend with them! It was wonderful to see them doing all that they could to share the gospel with their friend Ray. We met him and have an appointment scheduled with him for this Friday. We are excited to be able to teach him. He is friends with sister Beuse mostly just from talking to her at the gym. She started talking to him when he just came up to her when she was working out and started talking and to try to get rid of him she started talking about church stuff and then he kept coming by so she kept it up and gave him a pamphlet that she asked for from us and then she gave him a Book of Mormon. He stayed for sacrament meeting so hopefully we can help him come back again. 
We went out with a member of our ward, Brother Grisel, who is in the stake presidency and visited some less active families and our recent convert, Dameon. It was wonderful to have him with us and to be able to teach with him. He is an amazing example of ministering to others and it was wonderful to be able to teach with him and to see him reach out a hand of fellowship to the members of the ward. 
This past week on Tuesday we started teaching Kenisha Cauley and her boyfriend Donovan. Kenisha's parents are members but have been less active for a long time. We are hoping to be able to teach Kenisha's brothers as well and help this family come to the waters of baptism and start on the path to going to the temple in a year to be sealed.
The Lord truly has blessed us here in Lufkin and will continue to do so. I know He will. 
It was so good to hear from everyone today! I love being able to hear about y'alls lives back at home and how y'all are doing. I can't believe the family has shrunk so much. That is people living at home. Well I love y'all and I hope y'all have a great week!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen
P.S.  I forgot to mention this Wednesday we get to receive instruction from Elder Neal L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We are very excited to be able to go even with it being 3 and a half hours away in Fort Worth! It's going to be an amazing experience!   
Attached are 2 pictures of Elder Hoopes and me in the laundry room this morning. 
Love y'all!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Week of Service

September 3, 2013

This past week we gave 25 hours of service to people in Lufkin! We helped out some members in the Spanish branch with getting his yard ready to put in a fence by clearing some trees. We also helped at a Christian food bank on Friday, as always, which was really good and then we also helped clean up a yard for some friends of a ward member and we did it with the ward. It was a great experience to be able to serve with the ward.  

We also taught a part member family. We met with them on Thursday and we have been meeting with them for the past month and a half or so. The parents are members but haven't been to church in 20 years till 3 weeks ago when they came to church.They are grandparents but all of their children and grand children live in their house still. They are a really nice black family though. The father has been attending various baptist churches and suffers from a stroke he had about a year ago. He still moves around good but when he talks it's kinda with a  slight accent. He really likes to talk though and he likes to share all the things he has learned from the baptist churches he's been going to. This past Sunday they committed to coming to church and then they didn't come so Sunday night we stopped by. We were welcomed in and started to talk with them and asked why they weren't at church and they said that they hadn't been feeling all that great that morning. I'm pretty sure it was an excuse because they all seemed to be healthy and we visited with them for an hour. This lesson we were really bold. When he started talking about how every church is true we talked about how they aren't and how the Church today is the exact same church Christ established and that it is the only true church. We talked about the apostasy again for the 3rd time it seems but I think it actually got across this time. We talked with their daughter who is in her mid 20's about investigating the church and set an appointment with her and her boyfriend for tonight! It's going to be a great lesson. It's going to be great to start teaching them and I think that it will help the family too because she seems to be carrying it for the most part.

Well I hope y'all have a great week and it sounded like y'all had a great Labor Day! The community college Library was closed so that's why it's a day late. I love y'all! 

Your missionary,

Elder Drew Bowen