Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm Staying in Lufkin!

Well, transfer calls were last Saturday evening and we did not receive a call about us leaving they just said, "Hey you're staying and Elder Bowen you're district leader. Have a good night." So we are staying for another transfer and Elder Stufflebeam and I get to continue preaching the gospel here in Lufkin! I'm really glad too because I would like to see another baptism in Lufkin and this week we found two new investigators! We have been so blessed the last few days! We have gone out and worked hard and the Lord has blessed us for it.
On Wednesday evening we were planing what we were going to do for Thursday. So we were looking at some former investigators in our area book and we looked at the teaching record for Will. We had stopped by his home many times at different times but we never meet him there. We looked for his phone number but it wasn't on the record. Then we found his number saved in our phone and we decided that we would give him a call and see if it worked. And it did! We scheduled an appointment with him for noon the next day and we knocked on his door and he was home! He works at the chicken factory in town and from what it sounds like he has had a crazy life. He is 24 and has already seen broken families, broken hearts, drugs, and pretty much a life without the gospel. But he was very nice and friendly. He asked us some questions about Brigham Young and it was pretty easy to answer those. He also asked how he can get in touch with the missionaries who used to be teaching him. We talked to him for a while and we are going to start teaching him again. 
On Friday we did service at the Christian Food Bank in town and afterwards one of the volunteers, Bill, took us out to eat at a really nice restaurant. Its called Ralph and Kacoos and it's high priced. He is so generous! He wanted to take us out to eat before any of us got moved with transfers. He still remembers the missionaries by name who first came to do service for them. He is so kind and friendly. He got a plate of fried alligator for us all to try so we could say we had alligator. It was really good to! We talked to him and even answered questions he had about the church over lunch. He said that he was going to do it for Thanksgiving but he wanted to do it with us before we left so he said that this is your Thanksgiving meal from me. I love Bill! I'm so happy that I will continue to be able to serve with him every week at the food bank.
Yesterday was amazing! We had a surprise miracle fall right into our laps! At church in ward council the bishop said that his son Trice had invited a friend to church and that she had been asking more questions about the church too. Well she came! We met her before sacrament meeting and talked very briefly and I realized that I had met her before when I was Elder Koenen's companion, my first transfer in Lufkin about 3 months ago when she came to church the first time with Trice. The crazy thing is that when she came the first time Trice told us that she didn't like going to church and He just wanted to help her but didn't know how. Elder Koenen and I told him to just be a true friend and keep inviting her to do things that will help her be happy like reading scriptures, going to church and praying. Well apparently Trice has kept up on it and she came back to church with him. After our gospel principles class we were in the hall getting ready to go to priesthood when Trice and his friend come up and say, "Savannah wants to know more about the church - can we have a lesson now?" We said, "Of course! Let's grab a room." We then went into an empty room and taught the first lesson, the Restoration. It went really good. She is quiet and shy but having her friends there helped so much. Having Trice there to bear his testimony to her really brought in the Spirit. At the beginning we asked her about what her basic beliefs about God were and from there started to teach. She is 15 yrs old so we told her after the lesson that in order for us to teach more we need her parents permission. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and to come back to church next week. I'm so excited to be able to be a part of the Lord's work in Savannah's life and hopefully in her family's as well. What a blessing it is to be a missionary!
On Saturday we had a lesson at Lin's house. It was good but his dog was a huge distraction! She was jumping on the couch and practically into our laps. She was running back and forth and back and forth. Brother Bryce was trying to contain the dog as we taught the entire time which helped a little but it didn't take it away. During the closing prayer she jumped over Brother Bryce right next to me and licked my ear. Then the spirit was gone, at least it was for me. We taught the Plan of Salvation but we will probably be reviewing it next time. Lin hadn't read though and he didn't come to church yesterday. He said that he would read this time though and pray. Till those happen he isn't going to get very far though because those are the things that help us gain a testimony and show our desire to have one. 
Well I hope y'all have had a wonderful week! Keep doing the little things. They make the biggest difference in the long run! We start with the small and simple and then move forward and things fall into place. God uses the small things to change the world. That's why the first principle in the gospel is faith. That's where the small things start. Reading, praying and going to church those are all acts of faith. As we continue to act in faith that's when the miracles come. I love y'all so much! Have a great week!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen 

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Pretty Cool Week

Well the past week has been pretty cool. No really, a cold front came in. It was really nice. It feels like fall in the Utah mountains. Elder Stufflebeam and I have just shut off the AC and opened the windows. It hasn't been on since Thursday. So nice!

So the members in Lufkin are amazing! We told our Elders Quorum President that we were starting to teach an acquaintance of his, Lin and he immediately asked if he could come to the lessons with us and he said "I'll invite him over to my house for them. I'll talk to him at work today and let you know what time." So he scheduled our appointment for us and pretty much told us when we needed to be there to teach. That made life easy. The lesson went really good too. We went over the restoration. It was so good to teach! He had some questions and they were all centered around whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet. So we pretty much told him "Read the Book of Mormon and then you will know if he was a true prophet." It's so true though! When people have concerns about the church it's often because they don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and because they don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon they also don't have one of Joseph Smith being a prophet! That's just how it goes!  Lin came to sacrament but not the other meetings, but we are going to be teaching him again.

On Sunday Rory Hileman, our recent convert, brought his 16 year old brother Ross Hileman to church. He said it was kind of an unexpected thing but that he was doing his missionary work. His brother seemed to be just tagging along. He was a nice young man and he stayed for all of church. Elder Stufflebeam suggested to some of the youth that they should invite him to the Wednesday activity and to our ward's Halloween Trunk or Treat party and Spencer Shepard, one of the young men, thought that it was a great idea and talked to Rory and his brother about the upcoming activities.  

Well I got to go. Love y'all!

Elder Drew Bowen

PS.  I voted a few days ago! I got my absentee ballot so I cast my vote and felt like a good citizen. It's in the Articles of Faith after all. So I hope you make it! (Mommy note - that's for Carlton - he's running for American Fork City Council.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Wonderful Week!

We had a wonderful week in Lufkin!
We found a new investigator! His name is Lin. We got a referral text from and so we went over and stopped by and talked to him briefly and got a phone number a few weeks ago. We had caught him at a bad time then but he said he would like to have us  come back some time. So we had tried to schedule something with him through texting but we kept getting weird blank messages as replies and so we decided that we would just stop in. He was home and let us in and talked to us. He told us that he was attending a Baptist church in town and where he worked and that he had met missionaries in Florida around 9 months ago. We asked what he remembered from the visits and he said, "Like 3 kingdoms of heaven? I don't remember that much. It was a while ago." We asked, "Well did they give you a Book of Mormon?" He replied, "Yes I have it by my bed. I read it every now and then but I'm trying to finish the Bible right now." He didn't have too much time to visit because his mom was in town so we scheduled a return appointment for Thursday. I'm really excited to teach Lin more about the gospel! Also he has a Siberian Husky. It's 8 months old so its still a little hyper but I love it. It's one of my favorite kinds of dogs. They are so pretty. 
This week we also stopped by Antonio's but he wasn't home. We found out that the Book of Mormon isn't published in his native tongue which is sad and makes things difficult. We are going to get a child's picture Book of Mormon to give him to hopefully help. It's difficult when he can't speak or understand much English but I'm hoping we can still teach him in some way and help him out.
This week we got a new piece of furniture in our apartment. But first a story about it. So this past week Elder Stufflebeam and I have been talking about how much he loves rocking chairs. Whenever we go somewhere and he has the opportunity to sit in their rocking chair he will take it if given. And then he rocks out! I love it. He rocks not like small gentle rocks but big rocks. So we were at a member's house for dinner and were sitting down in their living room to visit and they had a rocking chair so my companion started to rock. It then came up how much he loved rocking chairs and they said, "Well we have one you can have." So we got a new rocking chair. Elder Stufflebeam loves it. Now he has a chair to rock in at the end of the day. It's hilarious.  
Thank you so much for the package! It was amazing! I got it Friday. It was so good to eat home made bread again with home made jam. Yumm it was delicious and I love the new scriptures! They are beautiful! It is such a blessing to have them. I have been wanting to get the 2013 edition scriptures and I am so grateful to be able to study from them. They are amazing! I've already started to mark scriptures in them. 
I feel so blessed to be able to serve in Lufkin with Elder Stufflebeam and to be able to preach the gospel. It brings such joy into my life when we share the gospel with others. I also love that we get to study in preparation for teaching. The scriptures are such a blessing to us. They teach us how to be happy. It's as simple as that. Unfortunately people don't live the things they learn from them. It's amazing to see the change they can make in our lives.
I love y'all so much! Have a wonderful week!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Monday, October 14, 2013


Monday, October 7, 2013
Well the Super Bowl for missionaries has passed. General Conference is amazing! I always love listening to the prophet and apostles! The Saturday sessions were some of my favorites! I felt like there were some very bold talks which I loved. It's a very exciting time to be a missionary when the apostles say the Lord is now fulfilling his promise of hastening his work! It is exciting to be able to be a part of it! General Conference leaves me feeling recommitted/recharged. I learned so much and am excited to be able to apply the things I learned and felt during conference. 

Yesterday we visited people in Huntington with a member of our ward. We met a kind older lady who warmed up to us and we visited with her for a while. Hopefully she will start to come back to the church she knows to be true. We also stopped by a less active member who I had visited with once before with Elder Koenen but we had gotten a incorrect phone number so we went by and introduced him to Brother Davis and talked about coming back at a better time. I'm hoping to be able to start teaching his family.  Brother Davis told us that he really wants to have a branch in Huntington because then he won't have to drive in to Lufkin every Sunday. I would love to help him with getting a branch in Huntington. It will get there one day hopefully sooner rather than later.
We watched conference with Rory at the Davis' in Huntington and it was awesome! Rory is awesome! I'm so glad that I have been able to be his friend and I hope to be able to keep in touch with him forever. He offered to take me for a ride on his bullet bike. I wanted to say yes so bad but I can just see too many bad things happening if I broke that rule... ie. Dieing. It was tempting though. 
We have visited Dameon a few times this week. He sure is interesting but I love him. He will say the weirdest things some times. We invited him to conference and we are following up on that invitation tonight. 
Well I love y'all and hope y'all have an awesome week and learned lots from conference!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Power of the Priesthood

This past week has been amazing!
On Tuesday a member of the Spanish branch was cutting a tree down in preparation for putting up his fence. We were helping him out but because of how dangerous clearing trees is. We were at a very safe distance as he was cutting it down and were going to help move it after it was on the ground. The tree fell and when it hit the ground it then came back and struck his thigh. We ran over to help him and he asked for a blessing. We then laid our hands on his head and gave him a priesthood blessing. He went to the hospital and they did x-rays and not a bone in his leg was broken. It was bruised very badly of course but it is a miracle that his femur isn't broken. We are so blessed that the power and authority of the priesthood have been restored to the earth. The same power that Christ healed with is available for us through the priesthood. I've been so blessed to have that power always available to me. Thanks Daddy for always having and being worthy of the priesthood. I've taken that for granted my whole life. 

This week we have met with D and have gotten to know his brother J better. We really hope to start teaching him and his girlfriend S soon. They are great! The gospel would help them so much and it would help D and his mother if all the people living in their house were all trying to live the same standards. I'm excited to see the Spirit come into their lives more. 
We had a miracle happen a week from last Sunday. A man named Antonio came to the Spanish branch with a Spanish investigator. He doesn't speak any Spanish though and the English he does know is very broken. He speaks Burmese, which is a very interesting language. It's letters look like swoops and swirls. When we was at the Spanish branch the Spanish missionaries found us and asked us to teach him for one of the classes. We talked in very basic English and shared the message of the Restoration as best we could. We then ordered a Burmese Book of Mormon for him and we are hopefully getting it this Wednesday! We went by his house last Saturday and invited him to the English ward and got him a ride and he came to church! I'm excited to continue sharing the gospel with him! And so our teaching will be very simple but I'm excited to help him learn!
We had an amazing 5th Sunday lesson! Our bishop shared an amazing lesson on member missionary work! He started off by saying what was always his first thought when he thinks of missionary work. He walked up to a brother of the ward and shook his hand and said, "Hey Matt would you like to come to church and get baptized and start paying tithing and go to the temple and make more covenants." That's his first thought when thinking of missionary work. He then explained that many people look at missionary work this way and that we really need to change how we think of missionary work. He then talked about how we may not have been good member missionaries before but that that can change. He taught with the story of Ammon, and reminded us that Ammon had not always been the best missionary. At one point of his life he had gone around with the sons of Mosiah and were destroying the church but then over time he became an incredible missionary. It's the same principle for us. He then talked about how the first thing Ammon did was serve. He started with serving and being a friend. He was there to preach the gospel but he didn't start off by asking them to be baptized. The bishop then said, "We need to serve others and develop a relationship with them." He then invited every single person in the room to go and make a friend. One friend and develop a relationship with them and that is where missionary work starts! 
Elder Stufflebeam in answer to members questions about missionary work has been, "We don't convert people. That is the spirit's job. We are only supposed to help them feel the spirit and then invite  them to do something. And that something could be really small like come over to my house and have dinner or for a FHE." It's so true. 
It is such a blessing to serve as a missionary in the Texas Dallas Mission! I love it so much. There are challenges but it is so worth it. The amazing experiences and blessings just keep flowing! Today I got an unexpected one. It truly was a Tender Mercy for me. I received an email from a member of the church in the Philippines today! She said that she has been preparing to serve a mission and that she was looking online for missionary blogs and reading them to see what missions are like and more importantly to be uplifted and inspired as she read them. She bumped into mine apparently and thanked me for serving a mission and gave me some words of encouragement. It was an amazing experience for me! The Lord has amazing children all around the world who are preparing to serve him and who are living examples of how much the gospel blesses us. Thank you Mommy for all the hard work you do! Updating that blog is helping others too. I forgot all about it but it was a blessing to know that the experiences I have can also help others too.
Well I love y'all and I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Keep up the great things that are going on at home. I love y'all!
Your Missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen
Here are some pictures of Elder Bowen and Elder Stufflebeam.