Friday, February 28, 2014

The Lord's Way

February 24, 2014

This past week has been incredible! First off I love being a missionary! There is nothing in this world like it! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord and for those who have helped to make it possible for me to be able to be here both temporally and spiritually! It's my prayer that the Lord will bless y'all for helping me be able to be here. Texas is a wonderful place to serve and the Lord's work is progressing here! It cannot be stopped! No matter how hard the Adversary tries he will lose every time in the end. 

We received instruction from a member of the quorum of the seventy. Elder Ellis and also his wife. We had a zone conference with him and our mission president and other mission leaders on Wednesday. It was incredible! The spirit was poured out and we were all instructed and edified. The trainings were on subjects such as FAITH, The Lords way and our Wonderful Journey. We have already seen some of the blessings that have come from having Elder Ellis tour our mission. He gave a wonderful conference talk entitled "The Lords Way" which we were asked to read in preparation to hearing him speak to us. It spoke of how we are to work the Lords way and not our way. His way is best and His way is Higher than ours. He Spoke to us how it is a matter of FAITH. Faith is an interesting word. As members of the church we understand its true meaning better than most people it seems. Many people who do not have the fullness of the gospel have been taught that faith is belief in something. But it's much deeper than just that. Yes Faith is belief but it is a principle of power and action. Faith is putting our beliefs into action trusting completely on the Lord to make things right. To keep His promises and show forth His power. We were told to have more faith and to use it. 
We were then instructed by Sister Ellis on how our missions are all part of our glorious journey in this life. She helped to bring the perspective and reminded us of the blessings that come to those who serve the Lord. She also spoke of how all things are possible unto those that have faith. 

Well after having instruction like this we tried to apply it to our individual area. Over the past few weeks our mission has been striving to teach 4 lessons a week with a member friend present in each of our individual areas. President Durrant calls it striving for being a 4.0 mission. This week Elder Johnson and I have done all that we could to reach that goal. We have tried weeks past but haven't gotten too far. Well this week we saw miracles take place all week! We knew it was possible for our area to reach this goal but it has not happened in about a year. Teaching with members is more difficult when everyone is spread out in the country. Well by the end of Thursday we only had taught one of our investigators with a friend there. We called a member in the ward and asked if he and his wife could come to a lesson on Saturday afternoon with us to teach our investigator A. When we had thought of who would be a good friend for her we felt as though they were the friends she needed. He told us that he would not be able to come teach with us because he had a meeting that day for the young men down in Henderson. We thought of some others who we could take but didn't really get anywhere. So we just hoped everything would work out. Well it did. Saturday morning we took a young man in the ward to our lesson with B. Our lesson went well and B. said he was planning on coming to church the next day. We then went to take T. ( the young man) home and when we did his older Brother who we had called earlier in the week to come with us to teach A. was home. When we dropped of his younger brother T., he came out to talk to us and said. "When I woke up this morning I was feeling sick so I figured I shouldn't go to the meeting but I'm feeling completely fine now so what time was that appointment y'all had today?" We said 2 pm and they were able to come both he and his wife. We went to teach A. and she said that she had meant to give us a call because she was going to go to the park with her 4 yrs old son. Elder Johnson said that's ok we can go with you and talk there. She said ok and we went over to the park.Lets just say it was a great! The sister we brought with us connected with her really good and they just talked for about an hour and a half then we answered A.'s questions. A. then said that she wants to come to church and got B.'s phone number. It was a miracle!
Then on Sunday we taught E. and L. and shared with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They didn't have any objections to it but they still will not come to church because E. does his ministry to all these different churches and he just says I'll come when God tells me to. When we talked about baptism we were really bold in how important priesthood authority is for baptism. There was no sugar coating in that lesson. They took it well but I'm sure they have a lot to think of. We don't have a scheduled return appointment but they said they would call us because this next month is really busy for them. We told them that if we don't hear back from them in a week or two then we will be calling them to see how they are doing and if we can come back over. I love these people and they would be such great members here! They would strengthen the Marshall ward so much! He is still reading in the Book of Mormon though and he has told us that he is praying about it. He will receive the answer he is looking for soon enough. 
C. came to church yesterday and our lesson with her on Monday went great as well. She really liked the Plan of Salvation and had really good questions. She is so prepared! We set a baptismal date with her for March 22nd and she will be completely ready for it by then. We were told that she even has a friend who she wants us to meet. So we are looking forward to our next lesson with her! 

Also this week we started to knock a street and the first person we spoke to was a nice gentleman who said "well everyone has a church on this street so y'all don't really need to waist your time." Well that sure wasn't going to stop us so we said "Well thanks for your time it was nice talking to you and we'll talk to your neighbors and see what they think." Two doors down we met a nice man named C. He asked if he could help us when he answered the door (He has southern hospitality) and we said "Yes we are missionaries and are out sharing a message about Jesus Christ and how His church has been restored to the earth. Would you be willing to learn more about how this has taken place." He said yes and we talked to him for a little while and explained what we do and a little about what we share and he said he wants to know more and he wants to talk to his fiance and his mom about it because he thinks that they would both like to hear about it too. It was great! 

Then to top it all of we found out just how much the Lord helped us this week on Sunday evening when we went over to our ward mission leaders home and  gave him a large print Book of Mormon for his niece and we were talking to them and he is the father of 2 of the members we took to our lessons on Saturday. (A. and B.) His wife mentioned that T. wasn't at church that day because he had gotten a fever. He had gotten strep that past Wednesday and then was doing really good on Saturday then on Sunday he woke up sick  and then I remembered how T. and B. were miraculously able to come teach A. with us. That's when I saw that my fasting and prayers had been answered with Miracles! The Lord does His work In His own way! I'm so grateful for the blessings he has seen fit to bestow on us. Remember it's a matter of faith. We do all we can to do it the Lord's way and then He makes it all happen!  
Love y'all tons!
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Freezing Rain

February 17, 2014

This week I experienced for the first time ever freezing rain! It was awesome! I've always wondered what it was and how it worked. I figured out what it is and as for how that'll come in time. It's crazy it is like freezing cold rain that falls from the sky that is kinda like slush but also isn't because it's freezing rain. Then it turns to ice over everything! It's kinda cool! We just had a little storm of it but it was still crazy! However, now it is getting really hot! Well really hot to me. It'll be like 75 and I'll be in our apartment and say to my companion it is so hot right now like I'm going to break into a sweat and he is like "it's not that bad at all". I guess I'm just used to how cold it's been recently with the bone chilling humidity! But today we walked outside to do our laundry this morning and I was expecting it to be a little cool but it was already 70. It's weird that Texas mornings are so hot it just means summer is around the corner! It'll be hot but good!

So this past week was amazing!! I almost dont know where to start!
So last Monday we ran into the J. (someone we have been teaching but then he canceled and said he would get back to us and never really did and his wife's a member) We talked to him for a little while and asked if there was a good time for us to come by and he said tonight. We went over and had dinner with them and it was an amazing salad! I love salads and have started making them on my own for lunches and what not but anyways, it was great food and then we sat down for the lesson and J. wasn't feeling so good and we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and it went ok but not really all that great because by the end of it J. was not really getting anything because he felt so sick. Hopefully we will be able to start making some progress with him.
Then Friday we did some service for a family in the ward and we split wood for them. That was good and man it's a work out. Felt good but I sure was sore the next day. Then after service we went on an exchange and I got to go to Longview and work with one of the elders there. We went to a park and walked around and just talked to people and invited them to learn more about the gospel and then we saw a young adult listening to music and carrying a basket ball. I spoke up and said "hey can I give you a card from our church." He pulled out his head phones and I said "Ya we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints and we share a message about Jesus Christ and how his church has been restored." He said I cant really say no to talking about Jesus for a little while so y'all can share a short message with me. We then told him that God has always called prophets like Moses to lead his people and teach his gospel and that he has done that in our day as well." We asked if we could share more with him about the details of how this has all taken place he said no and mentioned that he had just moved to Longview and so we asked where he moved from and then asked if he had ever met missionaries there and if they had shared a message with him then. He said he had met missionaries there. I asked if they had ever talked to him about the Book of Mormon and he said no and I said "really well the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ that took place over here in the Americas where he came and taught the people here his gospel." He asked "where can I get a Book of Mormon?" I said "You can have this one right here and this pamphlet with our names and numbers on it." He said I promise I will not waste this book". We then went our separate ways and I wish I would have done more to help him but that's all I could do at the time. You learn slowly what more you can do and then you're better the next time in helping others. It was a great experience though. 

Also Longview is much bigger than Marshall by about 4 x's its population but it was kinda nice to be in a larger city after being in the smaller cites like Marshall and Lufkin. 

This week we also found a new investigator! She is really awesome and has a Rhode Island accent and is looking for a church. She asked really good questions and wants us to come back. We are going back on Saturday and its going to be great! 

We didn't get to meet  with C. this week because the freezing rain was too bad for her to drive anywhere. We are teaching her the plan of salvation tonight though and I'm really excited. She came to church on Sunday with the C.'s and I think she liked it.We found out that her terminal illness isn't getting any better and that it is still expected that she will only live for a few more years. That really hit me hard. But she has the most amazing attitude about it. Tonight's lesson will apply to her so much! 

We met with B. and we found him a ride so he can come to church next week! We are excited for that and he is going to love it!

That was our week in Marshall! It was a fantastic week! And to top it off I'm an uncle now! It's crazy how fast life moves on! 
Well I love y'all and am happy to hear that everything has been going well back at home for y'all.
Oh and happy Valentines day late! Mine was an amazing day full of love and missionary adventures and all sorts of good stuff! 
Love y'all tons!
Your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen 

Another Great Week!

February 10, 2014
This past week has been great!
On Tuesday we had a zone meeting which was a great meeting! I loved it and afterwards I went on an exchange with Elder Koenen! It was great! I never thought I would get to work with my old companion again but low and behold the Lord provides another personalized blessing! It was great to be able to catch up with him on what has happened the past 6 months! And we got to see how much we had grown in our teaching and every other way! I loved it! We were knocking doors before our appointment with the C. family and their friend C. (Our super bowl miracle) and we meet a nice man named H. who invited us in and we got to teach him. It was a good lesson and he said he would get back to us via phone call. If he does then it'll be a miracle. So hopefully he does and we will be able to teach him and his family. However, no matter what happens it was a tender mercy that we were able to teach him because it gave us an opportunity to see in what ways we have improved and modified our teaching which really helped us for our lesson with C. We got a ride with the C. family to their home where we met C. It was great!  We visited for a short while as dinner was getting finished up and then we had a great meal and then feasted on the gospel! Let's just say C. is golden and really sincere! It was so wonderful to teach her because she said things like..."that makes sense" and " just yesterday I was thinking to my self there has to be more to life than just this life." And we had the C. family bearing testimony and teaching with us. It was great! Miracle lesson! We are even teaching her again tomorrow!
Then Elder Johnson and I had a great lesson with E. and L. just yesterday! We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was great because they understood it and said "it makes sense" and said "this is actually what I believe too" during parts of the lesson. I feel like L. has made tremendous progress as well as E. I think that she is getting tired of going to a different church every week and is just waiting for E. to say well let's go to the Mormon church this Sunday. Once they come they will keep coming back and will want to become members. I feel like we are really learning patience with them because they keep on doing the once a week visit and some times every other week visit. But they are still reading in the Book of Mormon and they love having us over and they are going to make it to church and will never leave after it. So they are coming along great.
We have also been meeting with B. and teaching him in the morning on Mondays Wednesday and Saturdays. We rescheduled his baptismal date this morning for March 29th. He is going to make it. I can already see the change that is starting to take place in him. It's small but it'll be great in the end.
Also Sister T. and her son came to church on Sunday! They are a part-member family and it was awesome to have them there! It's always incredible to see how happy people are just because they are at church with people they love.
I love y'all so much! It's crazy that it's been a year as of last week! Weird right?! The time has flown and I'm sure it isn't slowing down any time soon. But that just means that we gotta do everything we can know while it's still here! Well I love y'all tons! Oh and my mission president loves y'all to. He mentioned in his email to me today that he loved y'all and that he was so grateful for all y'all do to help and support his missionaries. (speaking of our family and friends and others generally) and he asked me to let y'all know. So now you know that my mission president loves y'all ( kinda neat being loved so much by someone y'all have never met who played MBA and served a mission in Spain and is the tallest mission president in the church ;)
But I love y'all more!

Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Superbowl Miracle!

February 3, 2014

So this past week has been great!

Where to start?! Sunday was amazing! It was just that! I was super happy! I don't even really know why! But I was! Bishop M. was there which was really nice because he has been out of town for a job he took up in Oklahoma but he got to make it this week. Then Fast and Testimony meeting was fantastic! There were so many good testimonies! It was one after another too! Even in our little ward. I loved bishop's testimony! It was about how much he loves the ward and is concerned about the members of it. He also talked about enduring and I just really felt the spirit. I was touched by it. I was so happy during fast and testimony meeting I just kept smiling! I couldn't help it! It got to the point where my face hurt but I couldn't stop. The gospel brings the greatest amount of happiness we could ever have. When we live our lives the way our Heavenly Father would have us live we see clearly how much He truly loves us and how His way is the happiest way! When we do the little things like reading, praying and going to church it helps us to always remember Him. The little things help us to experience the blessings that our Father in Heaven has in store for us. Then over time we build strength and get to the point where we can do great things! And those great things can be hard but the results are incredible! They don't come immediately but they come! Then one day you get hit in the face with just how blessed you truly are and you are flooded with the memory of all the good things that have come to you over the years. I feel like that is what Sunday was for me in sacrament meeting! Being grateful brings an optimism of hope and joy unlike any other.

Also on Sunday we spoke to the C. family and they have a friend who has been asking about the church. Her name is C. They invited us over to their home on Tuseday to come and start teaching her! I'm so excited! They had mentioned that they had a friend who had been asking questions and that they were working on inviting her to meet with us! So we have been looking forward to getting an invite over to their home for a week or 2 now! And here it is on super bowl Sunday! Miracle!

Also we went over to the T. family's home this weekend and we visited with their neighbors, the H. family. Well Miss H. is really interested in genealogy and has been doing it for a long time. Well it just so happens that genealogy is huge in the Lord's kingdom and there is a wonderful web site to help people out. Thankfully the ward had a mini family history night and we knew a little bit more about how to help Miss H. get started on the website than we would have before Thursday. Tender Mercy. We had a really great talk about it and the doctrine behind eternal families too. Family History is missionary work for the living and the dead!

We were knocking doors on Friday and we had been knocking for a couple of hours and we hadn't seen much happen. But we kept going. Well we got to the end of a street and so we started to work our way back to our car on the other side and there was a little girl outside in a driveway riding her bike. We asked "are your parents home?" and she didn't say a word. She peddled right over to her front door and opened the door poked her head in and then said "Ya, y'all can come in." We went in and met Gloria (her mother). We sat down and she asked us who we were and we told her that we were missionaries and what message we were sharing and she said "When I was 17 I met missionaries just like you but I was kinda wild and crazy back then and they couldn't decide if they wanted to give me a Book of Mormon or not." Well we taught her about the restoration and we gave her a Book of Mormon and we are going back on Wednesday! What a blessing it is to teach others about the gospel being Restored!

I hope y'all have a fantastic week and that y'all see miracles back in Utah just like we are seeing in Marshall Texas! Love y'all tons!

Your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen

P.S. This week it rained on Sunday. So I broke out the dorky rain boots and umbrella to help stay dry. I may have looked like a kid in the rain (that's what I think of when I think of those rain boots) but I sure was a happy person walking through puddles and keeping my feet dry! I'll have to send y'all a picture the next time it rains :) Love y'all!    

Elder Bowen turned 20!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Birthday Presents from Heaven!

January 27, 2014

This past week was amazing!! So I'm 20 now! I had an amazing Birthday! I am so blessed and the blessings just keep coming! So on Tuesday we rode our bikes because we were running a little low on miles but because we rode our bikes we got a package from Grandma Sharon. We had to re-inflate our tires which timed things perfectly for the mail. Tender Mercy! Then on Wednesday I got to open the wonderfull present I got from Grandma Sharon! I was given a beautiful CD entitled called to serve by the Motab! It's beautiful! Along with goodies and pictures I can use as visual aids in teaching! I also got a great gift from Catherine and Lucas and baby Lucas Jr. and then I got the birthday package from the family!
I love y'all so much! Thank you for thinking of me so much and for the love and support y'all have always given to me! I love how close our family is! Even when we are all over  the US! (literally from coast to coast! haha) I loved reading the notes y'all sent in the balloons that I got to pop! It was awesome! What a joyfull memory to have for my 20th birthday! I loved the light house that grandpa Zillner sent for my oil! It's so beautiful!  
So I also received many heavenly presents! On Wednesday we taught 3 lessons. In the morning we went over to a former investigators home and taught the Plan of Salvation and scheduled a baptismal date for B. for March 8th! B. is awesome! I'm so happy for him in his decision to be baptized! I'm excited to help him be ready to make those covenants with the Lord. Then we had steaks for lunch that we cooked up with some fajita seasoning and they turned out really good with chili and tortillas! Then we taught B2 and she has a baptismal date now as well! Hers is for the 1st of March! We are hoping to help her get there! She went out of town this weekend but we should be teaching her more this week! Then that evening we went and knocked a few streets and then went and had dinner with J. and M.! We had a change of menu to spaghetti but it was really good spaghetti and I loved it. We had a good visit with J. about the restoration and prophets. Things are coming along slowly but he still wants to meet with us so that's good! I love them they are awesome. J. is Pentecostal and gets really excited about the bible and gets into it! I love it. He really puts passion into the bible stories. So I couldn't have asked for a better birthday! God blessed us so much!
This week we also visited E. and L. and we watched the Restoration DVD with them! It was great and they really enjoyed it! They popped popcorn for us too! It was great, I love E. and L.!
I feel like things are really progressing here in Marshall. At times slowly but at other times I feel like our area is going to explode with work! 
We visited the T.'s and had a great visit with them and we also visited with their neighbor D. and his wife and we had a great discussion with them. Well more like with D.'s wife because he was falling asleep. But we talked about the plan of salvation and answered some of her questions and we gave them a triple combination! It was a great visit!
So this week was another amazing week in Marshall Texas! I hope that y'all had a fantastic week as well and that y'all had a great time celebrating Christopher's birthday as well! 
Love y'all tons! 
Love your missionary,
Elder Drew Bowen