Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where has the time gone?

January 20, 2014
So this past week was amazing!
We went on an exchange with the Henderson Elders and it went great! I got to know Elder Hendry a little better and loved being able to work with him in his area! We helped a member split some wood for their wood burning fireplace and I really enjoyed being able to get out and swing a splitter. I finally started to get the hang of it too. Anyway, we went on some priest splits during the week as well and I got to go with one of my favorite priests in the ward. His name is G. and he reminds me a little of myself because he is so anxious to serve a mission and is just waiting for the day to come around in another 6 months. He is awesome and we had a great visit with a less active member in the ward.
We had interviews with President Durrant on Saturday and I loved them! I love President Durrant he is the best! I feel so blessed that God has called me to the mission He prepared for me! He blessed me with the mission president I needed and the part of the vineyard where I can learn and grow as I help others come closer to Christ. He also paid me the best compliment ever! It made me so happy I pretty much cried afterwards when I was thinking back on it. It's amazing to see God's promises fulfilled as we go on in life!
We also had Stake Conference! It was pretty much amazing! And I got to see all the ward families in Lufkin and I got to say hi to them and talk to them for a while!
We met with E. and L. yesterday! It was a really good lesson! L. asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon for her to have of her own! When we first met them she said no to having a Book of Mormon but she has has really opened up. E. is starting to understand that we have a prophet on the earth today and because of that he wants to meet him for himself to be able to know that he is a true prophet! I was really impressed with him wanting to know who the prophet is for himself and that he wants to know for himself that he is a prophet. We told him it would be really difficult to meet him personally and talked a little about how he can know he is a true prophet through prayer and personal revelation. He agreed but said he still wants to meet him. I then said you know what we should watch this movie called the Restoration because I think you would relate to it. It's about a convert in England who wants to meet the prophet Joseph Smith. They got really excited and said, "Awesome we will provide the popcorn." So things went really well! And we are going to have a movie lesson next week! Thank you audio visuals from the Church!
Also we got an unexpected phone call from a part member family! The husband J. was meeting with Elder Johnson and Elder Pierson (the missionary I replaced) but then when I got here he dropped us and would stay in the other room when we came over. But he called us and invited us over. We had pizza with them and then he said, "Hey can we talk about Joseph Smith?" We didn't say no to that! We had a great visit with him. He had a question about a quote he found where Joseph Smith is quoted saying some really awful things. It was referenced from the History of the Church books but we have looked and others and we can't find it anywhere. He invited us back for Wednesday! What a great Birthday present from Heavenly Father! We are going to be having BBQ and talking about the gospel! Can't ask for much more than that!

Also, I found out that Elder Johnson and I are going to be staying togeather for another six weeks! I'm really excited to keep working with him! Also Elder Koenen (my old companion) is getting transferred into my district so I will get to see one of my favorite companions! It'll be a great 6 weeks! We are going to go out and keep working hard, keep being filled with the joy that only comes from sharing the gospel and we are going to have a baptism in Marshall because the Lord is hastening His work here! I feel like our area is going to burst at the seams!

Also we got a super solid referral for a member's friend who has been asking about the church and they are going to schedule a meeting with her in their home and we are going to start teaching her! That's how the Lord's Work is Hastened! Life is so good when you are serving the Lord! What a blessing it is! I love y'all so much and I hope y'all have a fantastic week! On Wednesday do some thing awesome like talking to some one about the church or reading the scriptures or seeing a Tender Mercy form the Lord! I love y'all tons!
Love y'alls missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Not quite as planned

January 13, 2014 (a little late posting!!)

Well this week didn't go as planned. D. cancelled her appointment with us on Monday night. She also canceled her baptism. She said she wasn't ready to get baptized. We went by on Tuesday and it was a different meeting with her. She opened the door and we started talking to her but she kept hinting that she was in a bad mood and that she was not really welcome to company but she let us in and we were talking to her and she pretty much vented to us about how hard life was. I felt really bad for her. The road to baptism is hard for an investigator. Everything bad happens as they are getting ready for it. We asked if she was still keeping all of the commandments that we talked about and she didn't really answer the question. We shared an encouraging verse in the the Book of Mormon. Helaman 5:12 and told her that she can make it. We have tried to be able to teach her again this week but we haven't been able to so far. But we are still trying and we had a sister in the ward who said she is going to text her to see how she is doing. So that was a bummer but its better for her to not be baptized until she is ready to keep the covenants associated with it. We are going to try to keep her on the path though.

Also this week we went on an exchange with the Longview 3rd elders, one of which was in the MTC with me! It was a good exchange. I was with Elder Horrocks who is from Midway, Utah and we got to work together. We went to help the T. family with some service and when we got to their house and Sis. T. wasn't there we got a text saying that she was over at her neighbors house helping them with things because their house had caught fire that morning. It burnt out their roof but it had been put out fast and no one was seriously injured. It's crazy though because we know their neighbor really well. They are a great family. We helped them salvage things from their house and move out furniture. But there were so many miracles for them as well.They had really good insurance on their home and they were able to start renting the T.'s parent's home which is right next to the T.'s and there was a big out reach from many people who have donated things to help them and many more. D., the father, said that he really appreciated our help and that God was in all that had happened that day. 
We went back the next day to have dinner with the T.'s and D.'s family. We talked to them a lot and we watched the Restoration DVD with them and had a really good visit with D. afterwards. We invited him and his family to church and D. said he would love to visit some time. They weren't able to make it this Sunday but maybe next Sunday they will be a little more settled in. They had been reading from the Pearl of Great Price before their house burnt down so we are getting them another one. D. has a lot of very interesting religious views which is how the Pearl of Great Price came up and of course they were interested. Sis. T. said that she felt like it's time D. and his family became members of the church. So hopefully things will work out and they will get baptized one of these weeks! 

Also this week we got a referral from sister missionaries in Louisiana. Apparently Miss S. was visiting family over in Shreveport and met 3 sister missionaries and talked to them and got a Book of Mormon and she has been reading from it every night she says. We gave her a call and set up an appointment and met her. She has had a crazy life and is trying to change. Her current circumstances are not really good which is probably going to be difficult to work with but she will be able to make the changes necessary. Everyone can change it's just a matter of whether or not they are sincere enough to make the change relying completely on the Savior and His atonement. That's the only way any of us can change. She had some sincere questions that we were able to answer. She also gave us a referral for her friend who practically lives in Louisiana. She is maybe a mile or 2 from the border but we went out and met her and taught her the restoration. We got lost on our way there though because it is in the country and back in the woods. We actually drove past her house because it didn't have a number on it and we went further in the woods and came to a point where we couldn't drive the car anymore so we got out and walked for a ways till we got to a fork in the dirt road and didn't have the gps. So we went right and crossed a really muddy part of the road and when we got to the other side we met a black guy on a 4 wheeler who told us we were lost and had already passed the lady's house. So we turned around and hiked back. (We hadn't gone too far.) It was an adventure in deep east Texas.
I got y'alls package ! It was great thank y'all so much! Also we met a member at Walmart who had just moved in the ward. We were walking into Walmart and she was walking out and she said hey elders and we said hi and we all kept walking. My companion and I asked each other do you know who that was? No maybe she's in the Spanish branch. Well she wasn't. She came back into the store and found us and said, "Hey elders I walked past y'all and then I said to myself wait, elders. I need to ask them where the church is at." So we told her and she came! It was great! I'm so grateful that we were able to meet. It can be really hard for someone to move to a new place and meet new people. It's really easy for people to just stop coming to church. But thankfully that isn't happening. What a Tender Mercy.

So good things happened this week too! And even more good things will happen this week. 
I love y'all!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen
Adventures in Deep East Texas!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

An Amazing Week in Marshall!!

This week was amazing! 

I could write an entire email just about one day! I don't know how I'm going to condense it all but here it goes! 

So new years felt like it was a normal day just like most holidays but it was a good day. We had district meeting and talked about how to begin teaching and then Elder Johnson and I went and worked in Marshall for the rest of the day knocking doors and we meet with D. That evening we went over to our ward mission leaders home and he had out his telescopes and showed us how he could take pictures with his telescope! It was amazing! We looked at Orian's Nebula and also at Jupiter and you could see the moons around Jupiter too. Then we went on an exchange with the Longview 1st Elders. It was good. That next day we exchanged back and Elder Johnson and I went to the T's that evening. They were at their neighbors home who goes by R.D. and so we visited them and I talked to Sis. T. about temples and blessings and her life and it was a great visit. She asked for a blessing at the end of it to help her with all the crazy things going on in her life. She asked if I would be voice and I suggested that we pray and fast in preparation for it. She agreed to do so and then we scheduled a time to go back the next day. We ate cabbage and black eyed peas and ham for our first dinner of the year. R.D. said that the ham was for health and the peas and the cabbage were for money and good luck. It was good.  R.D. has some very scientific theories and we ended up talking to him about the Pearl of Great Price. We gave them a copy and they were really interested.

The next day we went back to the T.'s and we had dinner with them and hot chocolate. We also gave Sis. T. a blessing and that went really well. Then we drove to Longview to stay the night with the 3rd ward elders and then go to the temple the next day! It was amazing! We got there before they got there so we pumped up an air mattress that we had found in our apartment's closet (you never know what treasures you will find in a new area from past missionaries!)  Then the other Elders got there and had forgotten their apartment keys at their appointment but in the end we got in and slept great and woke up at 5 am the next day to drive to Dallas! I slept in the car because I was tired. We got to the temple at about 9 am and we went to the 10 am session! It was so good to be in the temple again! I miss the temple so much! I'm glad I went as much as I could before I left. It was amazing to be in the celestial room! I miss it so much! That's where I want to get our investigators! I hope they will be able to get there in a year! 

Then on Saturday D. had her baptismal interview and she is getting baptized on the 11th! We are so happy for her and excited for her! 
Then on Sunday we had such a busy day! It was amazing! We went to church and all of our meetings before it. In sacrament meeting Sis. T. and her son M. came to church! It made me so happy to see them there! I sat next to M. just as I had promised earlier that week. It made me so happy to be able to sit with them. At church we taught gospel principles because our ward mission leader was feeling sick. We taught the plan of salvation on the spur of the moment because we had no time to prepare to teach. It went really well. We had a part member family there and it was a good lesson. Then Elder Johnson and I went on splits to teach the Priests and the Decons about the Godhead which we were asked to do with an hours notice as we were walking into gospel principles. I went with the Priests and it was great thankfully they didn't expect me to teach the entire lesson and it turned into a really good discussion. Then right after church we left to go to our appointment with E. up in Jefferson. We went with Brother C. who was a really good match for taking to the lesson. He and E. had the same religious background, Baptist, and they got along really well. We had a great visit with them and talked about just how much the family is under attack these days. He had read in the Book of Mormon and he reads it at work on his lunch break. As long has he reads and prays then he will feel the spirit and it will convert him.

After our lesson with E. we went right back to Marshall to teach a potential investigator. We got there on time and we went right in and T. had read the pamphlet we left her and started asking questions and we started teaching her about the priesthood and how it was necessary for it to be restored. It was a great lesson and she was starting to understand authority. We taught her how she will know for herself if everything we taught was true and she said she would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true. We are going to be meeting with her a week from today. 

I'm so blessed to be able to serve in Marshall! I love the ward and our investigators! We have had miracles happen and I'm excited to continue to see them. The Lord truly is hastening his work and you see it in small ways at first but that's how God works - small and simple means! I love y'all so much and hope y'all have a wonderful week! Remember to look for the miracles after the trial of your faith! They are there! Every Day!
I love y'all!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas in Marshall!

December 30, 2013

This week has been an amazing week! So many blessings and miracles! So after talking to y'all on Christmas (which was a huge blessing) Elder Johnson and I drove back to Marshall and gave Christmas cards out to families we were teaching and it made it the close of a really great day! 

Then on the day after Christmas we received an outpouring of blessings from the Lord! I got a package in the mail with numerous gifts in it from all y'all! Thank you so much! They are much appreciated! I love y'all so much! It was great! And then when we were out and about that day and as our plans fell through we received a miracle from It was a referral for someone named E. who lived up in Jefferson by a big lake about a half hour drive one way. Since our plans were open we figured we would go and contact the referral. We got up to the red neck part of town where his home was and got out and knocked on his door and a man opens the door and Elder Johnson says "Hi, are you E.?" and he replied, "Yes I am. Y'all cut right to the chase and get your mail really fast!" We then introduced ourselves and he invited us in and we talked to him about his family and how he found out about He said that his brother is a member of the Mormon church and that he has not really been the most active but that he is starting to get back into it and was talking to him about the church and talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and he had never heard about it before and was curious to know more. His brother had told him about so he went on because he wanted a Book of Mormon. He is also a Baptist minister! He said that he had some different beliefs though from the baptists and that he is open, very open minded. So we taught him about the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it ponder it and pray about it. He said that he would and we scheduled a return appointment with him and his wife and we are going to be seeing them on the 5th. We asked him to say the closing prayer and he said it and it was a beautiful prayer! It was a Miracle in every way! I am excited to meet with E. and his wife again this Sunday and I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for him and his family! There is nothing like being the Lord's Servants and being able to take part in His work. The Spirit that is in missionary work is so fulfilling and amazing! I'm so blessed to be able to be serving here in Marshall with Elder Johnson! In just the past few days I feel like we have grown closer together then we have all the time we have been serving together! It's been great! 

We spoke in sacrament meeting about member missionary work and it was a great blessing! Elder Johnson gave a great talk about a member missionary experience he had with a friend of his back home and how it changed his friend's life and how it changed his life and got him on a mission and on the path he needed to be on. It was really good! Then I spoke on inviting and doing it as a friend does out of love for our brothers and sisters! It went well. Then Bro. A. spoke on using family search in our member missionary work! It was great and really exciting! 

Funny thing is we had a really neat experience with using family search to reach out to someone. It was Christmas Eve and we were knocking doors and came to a yard that was full of crosses and scriptures on the cars and on the house and signs saying I'm a believer and the whole 9 yards. So we knock on the door and they invited us in. A black lady comes around the corner once we are in and she said SO y'all have a message to share? And we said yes its about the gospel being restored through a prophet. She then went on to how she was already saved and how she already knew about it and Elder Johnson was trying to help her understand but wasn't getting anywhere and things were getting kinda heated and I hadn't even said much. Then she said why aren't you out sharing it with the people who really need it who don't know Jesus. I replied then who do you know who would be interested in or benefit from our message? then she seemed to soften and talked about her neighbor and how she didn't know Jesus and then she started asking about what we do as missionaries and where we were from. When the conversation was getting to an end we were saying goodbye then Elder Johnson asked them if they were interested in family history and then we got invited back into their home and told them about the web site and invited them to visit it.  They were not as interested in family history at first but once we started talking to them more about it they became more and more interested and excited about it too. It was an amazing lesson about the spirit of Elijah! It is really true that it does turn the hearts and it is a great tool in helping others learn more about the gospel too. Out of all the people I have talked to when we have started to talk about family history and the family search website they have all been very nice. It's an amazing tool that we should all use more in our missionary work.

Then on Sunday we had a Tender Mercy from the Lord! We were knocking doors and a really nice lady answered the door and said "I've met with missionaries from y'alls church but can I give y'all something really quick?" she then left into her house and Elder Johnson leaned over to me and said she's probably going to grab a pamphlet from her church or anti material. I then replied well then we will take it and then throw it away. To our great surprise she came out with a Christmas gift that was in a small tin. She wished us a merry Christmas and happy new year and said that she needed to go because someone was working on her computer at the moment. It was amazing! Inside then tin were muddy buddies and some other treats which were delicious! 

I love y'all so much and thank y'all and everyone in the ward who have reached out and made this Christmas so wonderful it truly has been amazing and I'm so grateful for the love that has been shown to me from so many people! I love y'all so much and hope y'all have a fantastic week and New Years! 
Elder Bowen
Here are some pictures of Christmas and the day after! Thanks for the gifts! Y'all are the best ever!

Christmas is Here!

December 23, 2013

I can't believe Christmas is already here! It's crazy but it's great! This past week was a good one! We saw the T. family (we had thanksgiving with them) and we had hot apple cider with whipped cream with Sis. T. and visited with them. I love their family! We are still working on getting them to church and on the path that leads to the temple. 
This is weird. I don't really know what to write because I'm going to be talking to y'all on Christmas!! So I don't know what to share now and what to share then. This Christmas is going to be one of the best ever! I might get some sleep Christmas eve night! (Probably not like usual but that's how it goes! I'll be in bed though and I'll be trying to.) We had dinner out in Wascom with the G. family and I wondered if we were related to them in some way. They are a really nice family! 

We also meet with the M. family and that was great! They are a great family. 

And we meet with D. Twice. 

I'll get to talk to y'all about it more on Christmas! 

Love y'all tons!

Elder Drew Bowen

P.S. President Durrant wanted us to let our families know that he loves us and that we were raised right.
PPS Y'all should be getting a package today from Texas its coming UPS ground. Hopefully it's today. I sent it a little later than I wanted to but it'll get there eventually! 

(Note from the Mommy:  So we hadn't expected to get any kind of package from Drew for Christmas but we did and it came on the Monday before Christmas just as he said.  The sad part is that I had sent a pre-Christmas package to Drew several weeks ago that he got and had been enjoying, but the package that was for Christmas day with his presents and stocking in it didn't arrive before we talked with him on Christmas day!!!  I felt terrible about it, but he enjoyed getting it late - you'll read about it in the next post.)