Friday, November 22, 2013

Moved to Marshall

So I got transferred to Marshall and arrived here Friday morning around 10:30 am! I love it here. It's still in east Texas and it is on the border of Louisiana. Its about an hour north of Lufkin and a little east. The transfer was unexpected. We found out about it Wednesday night at 7:30 from the assistants to the president. They said I was coming to Marshall and what not and that it was happening on Friday morning. I love it here and I got to say good bye to a lot of people in Lufkin on Thursday! My New companion is Elder Johnson who is from West Jordan Utah. He is great! We have one progressing investigator here so far! Her name is S. but she goes by D. (or how ever you spell it). She is in her 50s and came to church with her 3 grandchildren this past Sunday! It was awesome! The ward here is smaller than it was in Lufkin. It's great though! We have about 80-90 people come to church on average ...I think that's what I have been told. It's a great ward! I love the Bishop and everyone I have met so far! We have already gone out and talked to a good amount of people too. We have some potential investigators from our own finding efforts and hopefully they will allow us to come and teach them the gospel more. I'm really excited to be able to help the ward grow here! They haven't had a baptism in a year or year and a half so it's been awhile and now it's going to have one. 

D. really enjoyed church which is such a relief! It is really hard for some black people because often they are the only ones in the congregation. But she and the 3 grandchildren she brought with her really enjoyed it and so we are really excited to keep working with them. I'm thinking that her daughter (the mother of two of the grandchildren) needs an invitation to learn more and come to church because she missed out! I'm hoping to be able to do that this week! So one thing I have really learned from being a missionary is that when some one comes to church that people don't know it is the member's responsibility to make them feel welcome. Thankfully I have never had to worry too much about people not feeling welcomed but I have seen how easy it is to get caught in a click and miss the opportunity. But the Marshall ward passed the test with flying colors! There were multiple people who introduced themselves to Demitrise and it made me want to have even more people at church! I'm going to do everything I can to help people here and the ward is going to grow because I know there are people here who God has prepared to receive the gospel at this time. Now we just need to find them! 

SO I'm in a new district but I'm still the District leader. Talk about a lot of trust from the Lord through Pres. Durrant. The Longview District is twice the size of Lufkin's. It has 6 wards in it each with a set of missionaries. I know some of them and they are awesome! When they sent in numbers this week they also sent a little message saying how much they loved me! That was amazing and made me so happy. I really feel like this is where I need to be now and that I can help people here in Marshall! I'm hoping to help the district as well. 

Things here are going to be great! I'm excited, and feel so blessed to be able to be a missionary! It's amazing to just go forward with enthusiasm and love for the Lord and His children! I know that I am doing the Lord's work and that this is His church restored in these latter days. I know that there is a prophet of God on the earth who is the Lord's mouth piece just as prophets of old were! I know its all true!

Love y'all tons!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen 
Elder Bowen with Bro. B.
Elder Bowen with his new companion Elder Johnson.
Elder Bowen with D.

Elders in the Lufkin District.

Lufkin ward Bishop and his sons.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Good Week

Well this past week has been good.
We had a lesson with L at Bro B.'s home. It was a good and much needed lesson. We talked about how important it is to come to all of church, read from the Book of Mormon and pray. L read one chapter in the Book of Mormon and he did it the day of our lesson. I'm glad he did. He hasn't been progressing because he hasn't been keeping his commitments. We answered the questions he had about what he read and questions he had about the church. I love having lessons with Bro. B. I always learn something. He asked a really inspired question. L was talking about how in his church they have a Bible study that is straight from the Bible and how he knows the Bible is true but he doesn't know about the Book of Mormon. Bro. B then asked how do you know the Bible is true L. He thought about it for a while and he couldn't really come up with an answer. We then said that we knew that the Book of Mormon is true and that we wanted him to be able to know it is true as well but that he had to read, ponder, pray, and really invest himself in finding the answer. He said he would read a little every day and that he would pray too. He said that he was going to go to his church on Sunday though. We texted him later that day though and he said that he wasn't feeling well in the morning so he didn't go to church at all.  
The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. Take away the Book of Mormon and the Restoration goes with it. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it truly is another Testament of Jesus Christ. Everyone can read it and ask God to know of its truthfulness and our Heavenly Father will answer us through the power of the Holy Ghost. He has answered all those who have asked with sincerity. I'm studying the Book of Mormon. It teaches us so much about the gospel, the purpose of life, God's commandments and our Savior Jesus Christ who made an infinite atoning sacrifice for us. It has blessed my life so much. I'm happier when I read it and act on the things I learn from it. Everyone can have a testimony! If they will only sincerely ask God for one. 
We saw W this week. We asked him if he still had a Book of Mormon. He said that it might have been ruined in a flood he had from his window swamp cooler so we gave him a new one because he didn't know where it was. We are going to be teaching him this week and I'm excited to see him embrace the gospel and see his life change from it. 
We didn't get to teach S this week. And she didn't make it to church because she was out of town for the weekend. 
We had a multi-zone Conference on Tuesday in Tyler. It was great! We talked about building our foundation on Christ. We did a really fun object lesson for it too. So we each got 50 pieces of paper and a roll of tape and then we built a tower with it in whatever way we wanted to and we tried to have it high but also with a firm foundation. Then we had some representatives from each of the teams come with spray bottles and a blow dryer and tested their strength. It was fun but also really showed how we need to be built on Christ. Also President Durrant gave an awesome sermon on the Doctrine of Christ! I loved It! He put it so plainly and used scriptures too. It was beautiful to be able to feel of the Spirit there as he bore his testimony about the Gospel.
On Sunday as we were driving to church we were stopped in our parking lot by a man in a truck and he asked if we were going to church and if we did home visits/bible studies. We said yes and asked when a good time would be for us to come by. He said that night at seven would be good and that his girlfriend would be there too. We went by though and he didn't answer his door. It didn't really make sense but we are going to try again later this week which should be pretty easy because he lives in our same complex. 
It was a good week and this week is going to be even better! I'm really excited for it. Well I hope everything is going great for y'all and I love y'all tons! 
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Week in Lufkin!

Well we had a good week here in Lufkin!
Monday evening we meet the new Elder in our District, Elder Keller from Logan, Utah. Tuesday we had District meeting. District meeting is where the District gets together and there are calender items discussed about meetings coming up and what needs to be done to prepare for them and other miscellaneous announcements. Then there is a training on a topic of choice either by the district leader or another missionary who has been asked to give a training. This Tuesday we did introductions because of transfers and then we had announcements and then we had a training on Commitments. It went pretty good. It was focused more on our personal commitment to our missions and serving the Lord and how we need to do so diligently and then we discussed how we can help our investigators make those same commitments.There was a lot of really good input from the other missionaries in our district so it turned out good.  

This week we had to do a lot of work on our car. It was weird. One thing led to another. We had a screw in our tire so we took it to one of the Spanish Branch member's tire shop and had it patched then we found out that our front tires were balding in the front and need an alignment so on Wednesday we called our vehicle coordinator and got permission to take it in to be looked at to see if it really did and then they found out that it did and that it also needed an oil change and so we got the oil change on Wednesday and the alignment on Thursday. But I'm just grateful that it's all in good condition and that we have a car to drive!

On Wednesday our ward had their Halloween trunk or treat party. We had been inviting as many people to the activity as we could, especially less actives. And many of them came to it. It was a great turn out. Many of the people we invited came and also many of the ward's friends came as well. We visited with as many people as we could and we received a referral from a family in the ward who invited their friends. We met them at the activity and then got their contact information. They speak better Spanish than English so we are passing the referral on to the Spanish missionaries but it was great to see the ward inviting their friends to come and participate in activities at the church. Being a member missionary is so much easier than we make it to be. Its making friends and inviting them to activities and then things naturally progress and they eventually meet with missionaries. 

On Thursday we couldn't go out and proselyte after five because of Halloween and so President Durrant told us all to meet with our Zones and celebrate the mission wide goal we reached. Well our zone is a bit more spread out so we got permission from our zone leaders to do it with our district and the Nacodouscheous (I'm pretty sure this is a Spanish word that Drew didn't know how to spell and I'm not going to attempt to correct it.) District. And so we asked a really awesome friendly and generous family in our ward if we could do it at their house. And they said yes and were super excited to have us over. They are in charge of institute too and so they invited institute to the party and it was a blast. We wore normal clothes and played soccer and frisbee and visited and ate food and played pool and ping pong. It was a really fun Halloween and I was glad because usually holidays are.... not as much of a party just a lot of people who are partying and you can't. So it was amazing!

Also this past week our ward held a choir performance at the church on Saturday and Sunday night called Woman at the Well. It was a musical performance about stories of women's interaction with the Savior in the Bible. There was a really big push for the ward to invite friends and family and we had a great turn out. We invited many people as well and some of them came as well. It was a beautiful musical program and the spirit was so strong. It reminded me of singing in the Cumorah's Hill Book of Mormon contada thing we did for choir tour once. It was a great opportunity for us to visit with the people who came and we were ushers for it so we welcomed everyone and gave them a program and a picture of Christ in the red robe. It was awesome.

Lin came to Sacrament meeting yesterday and he stayed for gospel principles as well. He left after that though. He said "I think I've had enough after 2 hrs." that was sad. We invited him to stay for the last hour but he wouldn't. So that was unfortunate. He has struggled with coming to church and staying for all of it. The entire time of sacrament meeting I was just praying that he would feel the spirit and have a good experience. Then in gospel principles the lesson was on the word of wisdom so that didn't help him too much but the spirit was there.

Too many people in the world think of church as entertainment or as a place where we worship but then the way they worship is really just entertainment. It's crazy. There are so many churches here who just entertain and then have a bible study class and say you're saved for coming and agreeing. That's not how Christ's church works. His church fills us spiritually. It takes time for people to notice they are starving or aren't getting there fill but the food is here and only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will people find the fullness of the gospel and be able to be filled. 

We didn't have a lesson with Lin this week because he went out of town unexpectedly on Saturday and had to reschedule. We asked him if he was reading though and he said that he was and that he has some questions about what he has read. So that is good. We are working on getting him more friendshipping this week to help him have a better experience at church. So that he will want to stay for all of church and enjoy it.
Savannah came to the wards Halloween party with the bishops son Trice. It was great! She had a fun time and we visited with her about her reading in the Book of Mormon and she was already in Second Nephi! And she understands what she is reading too. She was sick on Sunday so she wasn't able to come to church or the choirs performance. We also had to reschedule our lesson on Sunday with her so we are looking forward to that.

Love y'all!
Love your missionary Elder Drew Bowen