Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

May 11, 2009
Dear Family,

It was nice to hear from all of you! This has been a busy week! Last Monday we went out to lunch with a member to Olive Garden. Oh it was so good! The member who took us works at Olive Garden so she knows how many calories are in each bread stick: 380! I had a total of ten bread sticks. We were having a fun time counting up the calories we were inhaling. :D Tuesday/Cinco de Mayo/Dad's Birthday. We had a successful day! We had six lessons with a member present. Elder Bowles and I went on exchanges with two members from the ward. Wednesday we started the day searching for new investigators. We were blessed to find four. It was a great way to start off the day. We then spent the night with the two investigators who were getting baptized on Saturday: Edna and William. I have truly enjoyed spending time with them and watching their countenance change as they have lived the gospel. It's been wonderful seeing their testimonies grow as they read from the Book of Mormon and through prayer. Thursday morning we had a District Development Meeting in which Sister Black (she's a senior proselyting missionary) gave a training on using members in missionary work. That woman is BOLD! She goes to inactive members and the first thing she says is, "This gospel used to mean something to you. If you let us come over and teach you four lessons, I know it will mean something to you once again." Elder Bowles and I struggle with using members. It was a great training. After DDM, Brother Gardner came out on splits with us to teach all our new investigators we found this week. We had appointments with six of them, and not a single one was home. Oh well.  :)  We also had the baptismal interview for William, Edna, and Billy Thursday night. Billy does not have a baptismal date because his mother Darlene will not sign his baptismal record but we wanted to get the interview over so when she does sign it, we won't have to wait for anything. Elder Bowles went out with zone leader, Elder Jones, while I stayed at the church while Elder Merrill conducted the baptismal interview. Elders Bowles and Jones taught Wayne who has been progressing tremendously, (He told us the Spirit told him to be baptized, but he wanted to see a baptism before he made his final decision). During the lesson Elder Bowles explained that part of being baptized is becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. This did not sit well with Wayne. He told Elder Bowles and Elder Jones that he no longer wants to be baptized. After the interviews were over and we met up with Elder Bowles and Elder Jones, they told us what happened and it crushed my heart. Wayne has felt the Spirit, he has told us the Spirit had told him to be baptized, and then he denies everything. I have to trust in the Lord that He will make everything right in His time.

Saturday was the big day! The Baptism was at five, but we had to arrive at the church three hours early to fill up the font and make the room ready. The baptism was perfect. I baptized Edna, (my first time baptizing, well excluding non proxy baptisms) and Elder Bowles baptized William. I wish I was better at expressing my feelings because it was such a joyous experience. After we changed out of our baptismal clothes, Edna bore her testimony. It was so sweet and pure. I know everyone who was there was touched by her simple loving testimony.

During sacrament meeting Edna and William were confirmed. Brother Trotter confirmed William, which was a neat experience because Brother Trotter joined the church only a year ago and by confirming William they have created a bond of friendship. Elder Bowles confirmed Edna a member of the church. Both blessings were heartfelt and came from the Lord. 
Sweat marks from Biking!
During church we received a voice message from the zone leaders. In the message they explained that the mission as a whole exceeded our miles by 8,000! I could hardly believe it! Staying under miles is part of being obedient. The zone leaders explained we had to go under miles this month in order to make up the excess from last month. Everyone in the mission has to reduce their miles by 1/4. That is going to be difficult because we have to go to Greenville three more times this month (stake conference/zone Interviews, zone development meeting, and zone conference) each one of these trips take 100 miles. We calculated how many miles we can use, and we can only drive on P-days. So for the rest of this month we are biking Elders. It will not be very effective since it will take us 45 minutes to bike to our area, I know the Lord will bless us, after he tests us. Obedience is the first law of heaven and we are going to obey! It was so nice to hear from each of you! Make every minute count! I will close with a quote from President Monson: "It is not the number of hours, but what we put into each hour that counts."
I love you!
Elder Cowan

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