Friday, December 20, 2013

Tender Mercy

This past week was great! 

Our zone has set a goal to contact 24 people a day as a companionship till Christmas and it is more difficult than I thought it would be. But we have been diligent and done all it takes to invite 24 people everyday to learn more about the gospel. We have been knocking a lot of doors and we found 4 new investigators! We are hoping that they will continue to desire to learn more about the gospel and make covenants at a time in the future.

One family we taught we are unsure of how much real intent they have. They invited us back though and we scheduled an appointment for tonight so we are hoping to help them gain a testimony. 

We had a specialized meeting and we got to get together with Pres. Durrant and had some trainings and a gift exchange. It was great! We also did a little skit to a song that we made up as a district to the song "Deep in the Heart of Texas" or something like that. It was a country song and it was really fun.  Our district is the largest one out east. I didn't realize that until then. After the meeting President Durrant let us all choose one of 4 movies to watch. He did it in place of letting us watch a movie on Christmas. Elder Johnson and I watched Where the Red Fern Grows. It was good! First time I had seen it. It was nice to be able to watch a movie. 

It rained on our way back and when I say rain, I mean Poured!! It was like buckets of rain! And we hadn't talked to 24 people yet but we had to reach our goal so what did we do? We went to a parking lot and gave people pass along cards as they ran to their cars. We had bundled up for it but me being silly as I was I wasn't wearing my hood because I felt like I was like a dark hooded figure on a movie and people already avoid missionaries so I didn't use it. And I didn't want to have to fumble with an umbrella so I didn't take that either but left it in the car. I thought we would talk to more people sooner but it was taking a little longer than I thought so I looked drenched. Well we asked a nice lady if we could give her a card from our church and she said yes and said "No disrespect but you are crazy for being out here. And what are you thinking about being out here with out an umbrella! You're going to get pneumonia! I bet if your mother were here right now she would slap you! Can I walk you to your car under my umbrella. Really please so that you can get out of this." I said ok, I have an umbrella in the car. So we started talking to her and it turns out her brother is a convert to the church. We talked to her about some of our basic beliefs and she was super nice! ( obviously she walked us to our car under her umbrella!) We had a great conversation under our umbrellas and invited her to visit and also asked if we could come by and share more with her. She was very nice and said that she appreciated it but that she was ok with her religion. (or something to that effect) In parting she said "Always take your umbrella with you when its raining. Texas weather can kill you! If I were your mother I would slap you! But I really respect and appreciate what you are doing even in the rain! Y'all have a good night and a Merry Christmas." Having a nice person talk to us and take interest in us was a tender mercy! It made me really feel that 1. I should be a little smarter at times but 2. that people do notice the sacrifices we are making and that God loves us so much! And He will show that love in so many ways! Don't worry.  Neither one of us got sick and I had a great cup of hot cocoa bundled up in my PJ's that evening.

We meet with D. (S. She goes by both and we all call her by both) this week! She wasn't able to meet with us for almost the whole week because she had to go to the ER because she had a tooth that was hurting her so much! She has an infection but is on antibiotics now and has an appointment to get it pulled out soon. When we met with her she was so happy to see us and apologized for having to cancel on us so many times and that her life was so crazy. She is over coming smoking and is still preparing for her baptism. She is so excited for it. We did have to move her date back a week though so that she can be taught all the lessons and get her tooth pulled before her baptism so that she will be able to go under water without extreme pain. I know that y'alls prayers have helped. 

It's such a blessing to be a missionary and to be surrounded with amazing people! I love y'all so much and hope that y'all have an awesome week! Love y'all tons!

Your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Well this week was great! 

On Saturday we had a tiny bit of snow. E. Johnson said it was frost, but I liked to think of it as snow.  :) Its gotten pretty cold from this cold front! It's crazy one day it was really warm and you wore a short sleeve shirt.  Then you are bundling up in the big jacket! We have stayed as warm as possible with our beanies (people here call them tabagans?!) and scarves and gloves. It's not as fun to work in the cold because people are in such a rush to get inside or stay inside but that's ok because the Lord's work will go on! We got the package from home and it's been so nice to have that hot cocoa and hot cider when we come back in from the cold. It was funny, yesterday we were knocking doors and someone said "It looks like you boys are from the south bundled up like y'all are." We replied "We are from Utah but its dry there - here it's humid!" Weird thing is, it does not feel as cold when its 34 rather than when it was 41 because the humidity gets out of the air when it's a little lower. Or I'm just getting used to the cold again ....I'm doubtful there because I was never all that great with it in Utah. 

So we made personal invitations for the Christmas Devotional and gave it to people and no one came. It was kinda sad but we had some big technical difficulties so it was also kind of a good thing that no non-members came because we didn't get to see too much of it. Something with our building's satellite receiver got unplugged when we were setting up. We tried everything to fix it and had to call a number to figure how to get the plugs in the right place and on the right channel. We saw Elder Nelson's talk at the end and a few songs and some other things. I think this is the first time I have missed watching the president of the Church speak at it though. It was good to be able to hear the part we did though! 

We went on an exchange with the elders in Henderson in our district and it was a great experience! How an exchange works is we swap companions and we both go back to our areas and work there for 24 hrs and then swap back. So we exchanged companions after our zone meeting and then went to work. We went by an investigator of theirs and he was not himself. It was sad because he was out of it. He has something that gives him episodes at times. I don't know what it's called but we kind of think he was having one because he was just totally out of it. But we then went to visit a less active member and we started knocking his RV park afterwards. That was a first. I had never done that before on my mission but it was a rewarding experience. I didn't know that some people actually lived in RVs like a trailer home but smaller but people do. We were about to go and then Elder Adams said, "Let's knock this one too." and I said "Ok let's do it." We met a really nice guy named L. and taught him the first lesson. It was amazing.  He is really prepared. We got a return appointment and then went and looked for the next ready person.  After we exchanged back about a day later the Henderson Elders taught him again and set a baptismal date with him and he came to church this week! If he continues to progress in the gospel then there is a posibility that I could be doing his baptismal interview. That would be really amazing. 

We taught D. this week and she came to our ward's Christmas dinner! It was really good BBQ and they sent us home with some too. It's amazing to see the change taking place in D.'s life! When we first taught her in her home it was kind of messy and dark but over time it has gotten cleaner and cleaner and also brighter. The gospel changes our lives in every aspect and improves the quality of our living. She kind of lives in the ghetto of Marshall but she doesn't want to live there any more.  She wants to get to a better place and until she can she is making her home as clean as she can under her circumstances. Her baptismal date is for the 28th of December and as long as she continues to keep commitments and quits smoking then she will be ready for that day! 

It's great being in Marshall  and being able to serve the Lord even when it gets cold or hot! It's not as bad as Russia or Alaska. ;) I miss y'all so much - especially with it being Christmas time! But I love y'all and I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be and that this Christmas is going  to be one of the best ones ever for our family as we all think of the Savior's birth and remember what He has done for us. 

I love y'all so much!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen 
There are these amazing lights we saw in Marshall and there's this huge Believe light decoration and I loved it and had to get a picture of it!

My little Christmas tree I have on my Desk that y'all sent me! It's pretty much beautiful and I light it up every time I'm at my desk!

Elder Johnson and I bundling up for the cold.

The snow we got.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in the Field

This past week was great!
We had an awesome thanksgiving! Lots of food!And even more left overs! It's crazy how full our fridge is right now! We had some really good duck at the T house! They didn't make beer can chicken which I was ok with. It was funny Bro. T brought in the chicken and said well it's alcohol free and it has no beer in it - all the beer is in me. Then Sis T said you're a walking beer can. It's weird because Bro. T always has a beer in his hand but he never appears to be drunk. Doesn't make any sense. They are such a nice family though. Sis. T gave us some Christmas presents early too. It was some fleece gloves and a beanie and scarf. It was so nice of her. They were very useful when we were tracting that evening.

It was funny. Tracting in the evening was 1 of 3 responses. 1- people really annoyed. Normal. 2 - people not answering the door. Also normal and 3- people really impressed! Not as common.  It was great to be able to invite others to come unto Christ on Thanksgiving. It was a really good experience. Also Christmas lights are coming up!! It's so exciting! And it's so pretty! I love Christmas and am really excited to be able to help everyone feel of the Christmas spirit by sharing the gospel with our brothers and sisters!

So a funny story from tracting on Sunday night! We knocked on a door and a man answered. We asked how his night was. He said oh pretty good I'm just watching the football game. We asked who was playing and he said the Giants and Patriots or something like that and we then asked which one he was cheering for and he said not really either, I'm just watching the game. So how can I help y'all. We then said we are missionaries and we are sharing a message about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through a prophet of God and we would like to share this message with you and your family. Can we do that? He said no I'm just visiting my mom and we have company over and what not. He wasn't really interested so I asked Well can we leave you with a card for a really good website sir? In a kind of energetic tone of voice and he replied, "Yes you can leave me with a card for a really good website." Kind of in a monotone voice. I then said alright the website is called where you can go online and view profiles and find answers to frequently asked questions and it's a great website - I'd take a look at it. He then said ya I will I'll look up the question why are these guys knocking doors on a perfectly good football night. I then said, "It's on there you have a great night!" It was hilarious to me and totally made me laugh after we walked away!

So the members of the Marshall ward have a missionary Christmas tree for us and we already started setting it up. Its fake and I have never set one of them up so Elder Johnson has taken the spear head on it but we are going to be putting lights on it and everything. It's still in the works but it will be amazing!! Tender Mercy!

We went on an exchange on Friday with the Zone leaders. We swapped companions and worked in each others area for training purposes. And they are Spanish missionaries and I got to go to their area. It was awesome. Spanish missionaries do work a little different than English missionaries do. They don't knock on every door, they just knock on the Spanish looking ones and then they are always asking people if they know where the Spanish speakers live. It was great though and I learned a lot from it too.

Our investigator S came to church with her boyfriend. It was great! They really enjoyed it and he bore his testimony in sacrament meeting. I'll tell you what. We were kind of nervous for him being at church because we had heard some stories and then him getting up to bear his testimony, when we had never meet him till then other than just in passing, was really nerve racking because we had no idea what he was going to say and it could be less than accurate doctrine. He kept it all pretty much centered on Jesus Christ though which was really good! After the meeting one of bishop's councilors came up to me and said, "When I saw him coming up I thought - this is going to be interesting. But it wasn't too bad this time. Better than others in the past."

So all in all this past week has been great! I'm so blessed! It's an amazing time to be a missionary! I love y'all and pray for y'all often! 

Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

PS.  There have been some comments about me looking taller. Well with the help of Bro. T we found out that I am 5'8 1/2" so I might have grown a half inch. But I'm good with that. Love y'all! 
Here's a picture of some zebras we found on our way to help some members move. Who knew that they had zebras in Texas and not in a zoo! Just on a ranch!
Elder Johnson and me with the Thankful Turkey we made on Thanksgiving that y'all sent us!

The hot dog toaster a member gave to us early for Christmas. It's really sweet! And it's made by good old Coke!
Me and Elder Johnson with the hot dog toaster.
Elder Johnson working on the tree.

An Amazing Week in Marshall

November 25, 2013

Well it's gotten cold here! I'm really glad I have a nice big coat! I'm also very thankful that I'm not in Alaska right now because I don't know if I could survive. So we worked really hard and we were blessed so much! So we had a really good district meeting on contacting/reaching out to others to invite them to learn more about the gospel. It was really all based off of Elder Ballard's talk from conference. The District is great! It's got six companionships in it and they are all awesome! We set a district goal to reach out to 2000 people by the end of this transfer. It's going to take a lot of work but we are going to see miracles come from it because we already have! Elder Johnson and I have talked to 111 people this week which exceeded our goal of 100! It was great! its been a while since I had talked to 100 people in a week! 

We also set a baptismal date with one of our investigators! Its set for December 28th! I really hope things will all work out for it to happen. S (our investigator with a date) was sick yesterday so she couldn't come to church but she really wanted to. She loved coming last week! We had a lesson with her this week completely on the restoration of the priesthood and it all came about because she had questions about it! It was amazing! 

We also found three new investigators this week! We knocked on a lot of doors and got 8 or so return appointments and only 2 of them worked out but that's how it works. And the good people who were honest and let us share a message with them are now in the process of repenting and coming unto the Savior. We met a lady named L who scheduled a time for us to come back and she was there and let us in! She has 3 kids and her husband is currently out of work. He stayed in the back room working out but we were able to teach his wife and kids. It was amazing. As we were teaching there was a time when Elder Johnson was speaking and I really felt that God was reaching out to His children through us. We are His servants and He will and has given us the words we are to speak. 

Missionaries are promised so much from the Lord! It's amazing! "Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies" is so true! We have all been called to be missionaries and the Lord will give us the experiences to be able to fulfill that calling! In the past few months I was invited by my district leader to go through Preach My Gospel and mark every single promise in it! I was amazed at the promises contained! It built my faith. We have all been promised so much. Preach My Gospel applies to every member of the church and is written by prophets and apostles to assist us in fulfilling our responsibility to share the gospel! 

Thanksgiving is coming up and I'm excited for it. We are having dinner with a less active part member family that is really nice and red neck. We are apparently having duck and beer can chicken. I guess that's why they are a part member family:) That's also why they are red neck. So we will stick to the duck. But it'll be good because the sick need a physician and hopefully we will be the tools in the hands of the Master Physician. 

I'm really excited for Christmas already though! To totally skip Thanksgiving. I've just really caught the Christmas spirit early this year .... as always! It is such a blessing to be able to share what I cherish most during this holiday season. I am excited to see miracles continue to come and bless the lives of people here in Texas. I hope that y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and share something that you have been blessed with, with a friend! I love y'all so much and I feel so blessed to be a missionary!  Love y'all tons!
Your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen