Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Rain = Wife Points

March 30, 2009

Hello Family!
This has been one crazy week...but then again I don't think I will ever have a boring week on my mission. :D Tuesday we parked the car at a member's home and rode around on our bikes the entire day because it is near the end of the month and we are low on miles. We started the day by visiting a member's mother who does not want to join our church because we are quiet in our meetings. (She is used to the shouting and praising.) After we talked with her for awhile we went contacting and the first person we talked to was a lady named Melonie. She does not go to a church and she was very interested in what we believed. While teaching the first lesson, Melonie explained that she has cancer and the doctors told her she has less than a year to live. :( We had a wonderful lesson and I really think she is ready to accept the gospel into her life. On to Wednesday--It rained all day Wednesday. It was my first opportunity to use my rain jacket. I thought of dad's dream of wearing a big rain jacket on his mission. We biked in the rain for the major portion of the day. While contacting, we ran into a man named Barry Brown. This man is HUGE! He says he used to play football in the NFL, but that was six years ago, and all the muscle he must of had, has now turned to fat. When we taught him, all he was wearing was small basketball shorts. He had stretch marks on his belly. :P Anyways, back to missionary work...Barry is searching for more truth, he's been reading from the Koran, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and testified that he would find the truth he's searching for in the Book of Mormon. Wednesday night the zone leaders came and stayed the night with us. It was a very quick visit, I'm not even sure why they came but they stayed the night and then the next morning they left. It rained all day Thursday as well. It was raining harder and the wind had really picked up so instead of biking we thought it would be safer to walk. I just want you to know I love my shoes. I think it might be because I shine them on a regular bases, but they have kept my feet completely dry! We walked in a continuous puddle all day and my feet stayed dry. :) Nothing too exciting happened on Thursday, it was one of those days where the Lord just wanted to see if we would be faithful and work even in the rain. A member put it this way: We are gaining wife points. :) Whenever there is a difficult day, as long as we keep a positive attitude and continue to work to the best of our ability, the Lord may not bless us with investigators, but he will certainly give us beauty points towards our wives. :P That made me laugh. Friday was Zone Interviews. We had to drive to Greenville and we didn't get back until 7:00 that night. My interview with President McConkie was very short. When we weren't being interviewed, the assistants trained us. One of the assistants did a training on discerning investigators concerns, and the other assistant trained on answering those questions, the questions of the soul. After zone interviews, we planned to teach Luis and Gasper, but they were not there. We have not been able to get a hold of them since I got here. We tried to find people to teach but once again it was a wife point type of day. We didn't teach a single lesson. Saturday was supposed to be Nick's baptism and Luis and Gaspers. I'm not sure if I wrote about Nick in the last email but his mother would not sign the baptismal record so he could not get baptized. Luis and Gasper have not answered the phone for the past week and we have not been able to teach the rest of the lessons so we had to cancel their baptism as well. :( Instead of baptisms Elder Bowles and I focused on getting people to church. We tried to visit five of our investigators and not a single one was home. We then went contacting the rest of the day and we didn't teach a single person. It being the 5th Sunday, all the adults were combined and we (the missionaries) taught a lesson about member involvement in finding people. We showed the video "by small and simple things" and then passed out a card that we had created and put on a magnet so the members can put on their fridge and it was titled "My Missionary Commitment" our focus for the lesson was to remind the ward that as disciples of Jesus Christ they are responsible to testify of the truth. The card was a check list of things each member should do. I'll mail one home so you can know what I'm talking about. The meeting went very well. I hope it made the members excited to do missionary work. After church we went contacting (the rain finally stopped) :) but it was really windy and cold. I'm not sure what we need to do better but we once again did not teach a single lesson. We will just have to do better this next week.

Elder Cowan

I asked about Grandma's emails and you can just email it to me. I can also email other missionaries in the field as long as their mission president is fine with it. So Elder hill needs to ask if he can email me. :) I loved the package. The treats were delicious. Thank you very much. From the email I recieved from you mom, it sounded as if dad sent me an email as well but I never recieved it. Maybe he is sending it to the wrong place. I wish I had time to address the letters you sent me but I am out of time. I love you and I know the gospel is true! I have the greatest job!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm finally in South Carolina

March 23, 2009

Its my first preparation day in the mission field! :D I am serving in the city Anderson. My companion's name is Elder Bowles and he is from southern Utah. We have four missionaries in our apartment. Elder Hall and Elder Jones is the other companionship. Elders Jones and Hall are biking missionaries (they cover the center of the city) and Elder Bowles and I are in a car and cover the outside region. Our area's name is Anderson, but it covers a big area. I don't know much about the area except I know Iva is in our area down south. I wish I could open up multiple windows so I could see the questions you wanted me to answer. President McConkie does not want us to give out our address, he wants everything to go to the mission home. It's a little annoying but he's the boss! Our area only covers one ward, but it is such a great ward! The members are missionary minded and we are fed dinner every night! :) its great. This first week was a little interesting because I did not get a PD to buy food, and materials, but I just mooched off the other Elders. :) I'm excited to to go to Walmart today to buy a pillow.

I guess I should tell a little about my companion. Elder Bowles is the second of four boys (who would have thought) and before he came on the mission he loved playing football and lifting weights. His family lives on a beef farm. We are very different, I'm tall and skinny, from the city, and he's short and large from the country but we both have a strong desire to work until we can't work anymore so we get along just fine. Oh random thought: The high school in which the movie Radio takes place is in Anderson. We are teaching a young man Nick who sees "Radio" every day he goes to track. I want him to get a picture with him. :) I did not know Justin was going to work at Subway. I hope he has a better experience than he did at Ranch Market. Nick's baptism is the 28th but yesterday he asked his mother to sign his baptismal record and she told him she would not. :( Its sad but the gospel is true today, tomorrow, even two years from now. (which is when he will be 18 and he can sign his own baptismal record.) We are also teaching two kids Luis and Gasper. Their dad is a member and always goes to church and they have begun to take interest. Their baptismal date is the 28 of March as well. The week of baptisms is stressful. Satan does not want God's children to get on the straight and narrow path so he will do anything to stop it. This past Thursday Elder Bowles and I contacted a Lady named Felicia who is going through a divorce. I should not be happy about this, but adversity leads to humility which leads to opportunity to accept the gospel. When we first met her we briefly explained what the Book of Mormon was and shared some scriptures that help us when life gets hard. I read Alma 36:3. Its one of my favorites. We gave her the Book of Mormon and she said she would read, and we went over yesterday and she kept her commitment to read! We taught the first lesson to her and her sister Crystal and it was a very spiritual experience. We invited them to be baptized and they excepted. The baptism is scheduled for the 18th of April. We didn't even get the chance to talk about church and they told us they wanted to come to church with us! They are pretty solid, but once again Satan is strong so I can't take anything for granted.

The blog idea sounds great if you want to do that. What other questions did you have? I have an hour to write emails in the mission field. I'm not sure if you should email Sean's letter. I'll have to ask and get back to you.
Mom and Dad: I love you and I'm so thankful for your wonderful examples.
Grandma and Grandpa Dennis: I will not get a chance to write any letters, but let them know I really appreciated the dear elder letter while I was in the MTC.
Blake: Keep running.
Justin: Make work a party. :D
Kevin: Beat Ganondorf! ;)
I love you all and look for opportunities to spead the good word!
Elder Cowan

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Last Preparation Day at MTC

March 17, 2009

Dear Family,
How is life going? I can't believe I'm going to be leaving this place already! It's crazy! I've really enjoyed my experience here. My companion and I try to teach whenever we have the opportunity. Our teachers' boss came in on Tuesday and wanted some volunteers to teach her, so Elder Naulu and I taught her according to her needs, in front of 15 teachers here at the MTC, pretty nerve wracking. The devotionals are so great here! On The 3rd we had Elder Kikuchi of the seventy come. He promised us that if we taught at least twenty lessons a week, then we will have 1 to 2 baptisms every month. We have had many large group meetings that all focus on baptism. One comment I heard that I really liked was "there is no scripture that states the field is brown all ready to plant." :p I know there are people in South Carolina who are ready for the gospel, I just need to find them. Another thing I've learned is that no one mission is harder than another. All missions are hard, they are just different. We had another Devotional on recognizing the spirit by Richard Heaton. It was really good. He explained that we need to be able to speak in the language of the people, must learn all the grammar rules, vocabulary etc. Just as important as learning the language, we need to learn the language of the Spirit. We've all felt the spirit very strongly in a particular way, but that is not the only way he speaks to us. We need to learn all the grammar rules and vocabulary of the Spirit. Sunday night I watched the video "Gift of Teaching" by Holland. He said the five things we need in order to be affective teachers is to
1. Ask, seek, and knock spiritually
2. Teach from the Scriptures
3. Teach by, and with the Spirit
4. Help the learner assume responsibility for learning
It was a great talk. The last thing he said was "never let your faith be difficult to detect." I need to live and teach with faith. Yesterday we watched the video recording of Holland speaking here at the MTC. The talk was entitled "Miracle of a Mission" It was powerful. What I heard in that talk will not only help me through my mission, but throughout my life. He talked about the sacrifice of being a disciple of Christ. He said it not only will be hard, but it HAS to be hard. Salvation is not cheap. It never meant to be an easy experience. It wasn't cheap, painless, or easy for the Savior. Paul called the disciples the "Brotherhood of Suffering" Holland continues "if you are going to represent Christ, you better have some evidence" Christ being resurrected, being a perfect being kept his wounds in his hands, arms and side as an example to us all of what it takes to follow the Father. Read John 15:18-19. Its powerful. I love you all, I wish I could write more but I'm out of time! Did Kevin get my letter?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

First Preparation Day

Brother Clemment
Sister Andelin
Hello Family!
 It's finally preparation day! My address is I LOVE 
the MTC. I have two amazing teachers, Sister Andelin and Brother Clemment. There is so much stuff going on here! Elder Naulu and I have been practicing the first lesson since we arrived, but on Monday we had our first "real" test. Volunteers come into the MTC, and we had the opportunity to teach one of the volunteers. In the room where we were teaching the lesson, cameras were mounted on the wall so our teachers could observe us. I felt we did very well. It's so much fun to teach people about the gospel! The hardest part is figuring out where the investigator is in there life, and what questions they have which the gospel can answer. Sometimes I just want to ask "What is wrong with your life?"  :) 
Elder Naulu
Elder Naulu is from Spanish Fork UT, his dad is Tongan, his mom is Canadian, and they met at BYU-Hawaii. When I first got to my room on Wednesday (25), I was the first one there, but a couple minutes later Elder Francis arrived, and I talked to him on Facebook before I arrived so we were talking and then Elder Naulu showed up and while we were getting to know him, we asked "You are going to South Carolina as well, right?" and he just looked at us funny, and hesitantly answered yes. Later when Elder Naulu and I were picking up our luggage, I overheard him telling some Elders he was going to India. I thought he was pulling a prank on them, so when we were walking back to our dorm I asked him why he told them he was going to India, and he looked at me funny, and then he told me he truly was going to India. It was great, he thought that Elder Francis and I were messing with him when we asked about South Carolina, and then I thought he was messing with some other Elders about India. We still get a good laugh from the memories of the first day.  :) 
With the constant study and spiritual environment, everyday I realize more and more how blessed I am to have this gospel. I am so excited to to go to South Carolina and tell people about the wonderful truth that the church has been restored in its fullness to the earth. Thank you for all the letters and I'm so thankful for a loving Family that supports me while I am on my mission! I love you all! Time is about to run out, I need to learn how to type faster ;P Have a great day!
Elder Cowan