Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Blake

Dear Family,

Happy Birthday Blake! 17! Oh yeah! I loved your birthday plans aka "Just like Heaven." Keep up the good work. :P
Kevin, I'm proud of you for strengthening your swimming skills. Keep up the good work.
Justin, Do you get discounts at home depot? (wink wink-like on PVC pipe?):) I'm glad your co-workers recognize your ability to work.
Dad, don't stress. :)  Live life as it comes. :P
Mom, I received the package on Thursday. I was surprised how fast it got here. The cookies and muffins were/are delicious. Thank you. I love you.

Ok time for the weekly events:
Elder Taylor, Allen McKinney, Elder Cowan
Oh I guess I should start with last week because I forgot a little event...Allen was baptized. :) I don't know how I could have forgotten, but I did. :) and from those we found this week hopefully we will have more baptisms in the future. First story is about Bennie Jones. We were walking down a street and we see a lady sitting on her porch (common occurrence in the south--everyone sits on their porches in the evenings.) We contacted her and she told us she had heard of Joseph Smith and she agreed to listen to our message. After we said the opening prayer, I asked what she knew about Joseph Smith, and she replied, "I'm a member of your church." :) She has been inactive for many years. Her husband is not a member and she also has two nieces that live with her who are not members. We are going over on Tuesday to share the lessons and hopefully we can re-activate her, and get her family excited about the church as well. Second story: Rich neighborhood. On the weekends we normally contact upper class neighborhoods because the family members are normally all there. Elder Taylor and I came up to a door in a fancy neighborhood and the man came outside and told us he was the president of the home owners association and that we are not permitted to solicit in the neighborhood. I politely told him we were not selling anything, but simply sharing a message about Jesus Christ so therefore we did not belong in the "soliciting" category. He knew I was correct but he didn't like my comment so he kicked us out of the neighborhood. :) Oh yeah, that's got to count toward some wife points. We then went to another fancy neighborhood, and as we were knocking one side of the street, a man on the other side let out two big boxers in his front yard. We continued down the street which ended up being a dead end so we turned back around and we came back to the house with the dogs. I started to walk up and the dogs were quite angry looking, but I knew the man was inside his house and he wasn't going to let the dogs get me, so I started to walk up to the door and the man came outside and told us the dogs would bite, so we contacted him from the street. He was quite afraid of us. :) I'm not sure why anyone would be afraid of two teenagers but anyways I thought it was funny that he sent his dogs out to protect his house from the Mormon missionaries. :) Last week I think I wrote about Michelle who completely changed from not being interested, to "I want you to baptize my kids" in a couple of minutes. Anyway she came to church yesterday! :) Her two sons did not come with her but her 7 year old daughter came and they both went to primary. :) We didn't see her after church but by talking to the primary teacher, it sounds like she enjoyed it. We are also teaching another family: Steve, Lisa and their two children, Chase and Casey. They are great people but Steve and Lisa both smoke, so they have their difficulties to overcome, but I know through the Lord's help, they will overcome. Their baptismal date is the 25th of July. I also had my first DDM as a district leader this week. I gave a training on doing the Lord's work and how it is only accomplished when we do it His way. Well there are always more stories but unfortunately my time is up. I love this gospel, and the opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord's hands as He goes about His work. (Moses 1:39) Love, Elder Cowan

Monday, June 22, 2009


Dear Family,
Another week gone. Time sure does fly on by if we like it or not.  :)  On Tuesday the Zone Leaders came down to go out with Elder Taylor and me. I went with Elder Merrell. Elder Merrell is from Orem/Provo and an amazing missionary. He was a district leader for an entire year of his mission so I learned a lot while I served with him for the day. Elder Merrell and I really focused on cutting down our teaching pool to just the "elect." With the combination of the two areas, we had quite a few people to see. We first saw Yuri who was the biking Elder's investigator. We talked with him shortly and the problem with Yuri is he does not believe he can learn anything from two young men, and he also feels religion can be learned from facts not faith. Elder Merrell finally asked Yuri if he was humble enough to be taught by us and he said "no," so we dropped him. Hopefully someday he will come around. We then stopped by another investigator that Elder Taylor and I had picked up from the biking Elders. When the man saw us, he invited us to sit down and told us we were welcome to talk with him as long as we did not bring up the name Joseph Smith or the word prophet. He told us he only believes in Jesus Christ and the Bible. We respectfully but boldly told him that one cannot believe in the Bible without believing in prophets, and that one cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing His servant Joseph Smith. Boy did he not like that. We knew we were wasting the Lords time with this man so we got up and walked to our bikes and the man chased us down his drive way yelling at us saying, "SIT DOWN! I am going to teach you!" Elder Merrell calmly replied "We are here to teach not to be taught." The man got right up in Elder Merrell's face and once again told him to SIT DOWN, but we walked around him and got on our bikes. It's sad that the other Elders were wasting their time with someone who is obviously not ready for the gospel. We also stopped by Wayne's house and we taught him, and we asked him to be baptized and he said "not now." It's sad to say, but we dropped him as well. This time it is for good. So overall, we had a successful day weeding out those who are not willing to progress in the gospel. I was also very impressed with the way Elder Merrell handled himself in every situation. He was polite but as a Representative of Jesus Christ, he was not going to take instructions from anyone but the Spirit. He truly understands the significance of our calling. The Lord truly prepared me for the rest of this week because we have had quite a few run ins with people who wanted to "teach us," but because of the example of Elder Merrell, I knew what to do in those situations.

Ok five minutes left...I have to talk about one contact we had this week. As we walked up to a door, we heard a woman inside the house say, "Oh no! make them go away." We proceeded to knock on the door and a young man opened the door and we contacted him, but he wasn't sure how to respond. Whenever we asked him a question, he would lean back to see his mother (who was out of view from Elder Taylor and me) and see what, I suppose, she was mouthing to him. Finally she stood up, and we contacted her, and it was so amazing to see the spirit work on her. As we talked the "wall" she had up came down and we actually taught her on the door step, ended with a prayer, and as we made to leave, she gave Elder Taylor and me a hug! What a change! She called us yesterday after church and told us that she wants us to baptize her three children. We will see how that goes.  :)
I'm glad you had a fun safe trip for John's wedding. Thank you for always keeping me updated. I would love a package. I really enjoyed those home made oreo cookies and poppy seed muffins. They were delicious. Did you ever get my package of P-day clothes? I don't remember you ever commenting on it. If we have a scripture case that is not being used at home, I could use another one. I love you all and have a wonderful week!

Elder Cowan

P.S. Did you hear about Elder Hill? Newfoundland.  :)  I'm so excited for him. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Companion

Dear Family,
Wow. What a crazy week. Last preparation day I was trying to prepare the apartment for the change from four to two missionaries, but I spent a lot of time with the Elders as they were packing. It sure has been different with only one other missionary in the apartment. I miss the other Elders, especially Elder Bowles, but I love my new companion as well. My companion is Elder Taylor. He is from a small town in central Utah called Bicknell. He is a great missionary who has a strong determination to serve the Lord.

I feel I have been stretched and have grown more in this first week than I did the entire first two transfers. As junior companion you do help with plans and you are still accountable, but you sort of float. Now that I am the one that is in charge, I feel the burden to plan effective activities every night. As a district leader, I am "a bishop within the mission." I have a small district, only two Elders (Elder Taylor and me) and the two senior sisters in Cenica (Sis. Black and Sis. Peterson). Every night after planning, I call the sisters to receive their numbers (member present lessons, other lessons, contacts, new investigators, and less active/new convert lessons). I then add those numbers to our numbers, and I give  district totals to the zone leaders. I have no time at nights because I am on the phone. My journal writing has been almost non-existent.  :(  Oh well. I will work out some time in which I can write. My biggest struggle so far as a senior companion is having members at our lessons. The goal is to have 12 lessons with a member present, but we only had two.

Allen is all set for his baptism. Allen is not Edna's grandson. Allen is a man that Elder Bowles and I met on the street. He is an interesting individual. He has lived in the south his entire life and has never been to a church. We have taught him everything and he is way pumped for his baptism this Saturday. Elder Taylor is going to baptize him and am I going to do the confirmation. Allen has not had a single cigarette since we taught him the Word of Wisdom. It truly has been a miracle. I'm so thankful that we have Allen to work with. When we were at transfers, President McConkie talked to those who were training, and he told us he expected us to baptize during the first month with our trainee. Hopefully everything goes smoothly with this baptism. Billy Bentley is Edna's grandson. His uncle, Charly has "antied" him pretty hard so I'm not sure if he is going to progress anymore.

There is a part member family that the biking Elders had been working with: the Shooks. The mother and all the kids are members, but the father, Rodger Shook is not. I am very frustrated with him at the moment. He has a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon. He comes to church every week, but he will not get baptized. During Elders Quorum we split up into committees and Rodger went to the proclaiming the gospel committee and he was giving suggestions on how we can do better missionary work. I wanted to rip my hair out! I can't seem to figure out why he will not get baptized.

Wayne Morris has officially been taught everything. We are going over this week to go through the baptismal questions to show him that he knows everything, and then we are going to read Moroni 7 and explain to him that the "spirit" that has told him to hold off on the baptism is not coming from the Lord. The Lord does not want to withhold blessings from any of his children.

Time for a story. We were riding our bikes down the road and we were supposed to turn right at the end of the road but the thought "chocolate lab lady" kept coming to my mind. The "chocolate lab lady" was a lead Elder Bowles and I got a long time ago. We tried to see her many times but she was never home. Anyways I kept thinking of this lady so I decided to follow the prompting and instead of turning right at the end of the road, I turned left and went to her house. She and her sister were home and we picked them up as new investigators! We are supposed to see them again tomorrow. Oh their names are Sallie and Kelli. I love you! I love the Lord and the work he has me involved in! Till next e-mail-peace!
Elder Cowan

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Assignments

Humidity is killer!
What a crazy week! I have so much to write about and I don't have any time to write because I could not open any email or anything in Little frustrating but we go on. I've decided Wayne is going to kill me. This week he told Elder Bowles and me he wanted to be baptized, and then we went over the next day and he told us God had told him to slow down. AAAHHHH! Oh well. It's the Lords will to teach me patience. Alan is sweet. His baptismal date is the 20th. He has to get over smoking, but I know he can do it. I had an awkward incident with the young women from the ward. I was going down the hall opening every door to see if Billy (Edna's grandson) was at mutual, and I opened one door and all the young women were dancing with their backs towards me. I tried to shut the door as fast as possible but one of the girls turned around and saw me and screamed out of surprise, anyways all is well, it was just a little awkward. I wish I had time for more stories but I don't. 
Elder Quakenbush
Transfers: I received a call Saturday morning from AP Elder Bromley and he told me Elder Bowles was leaving which leaves Anderson District leaderless. He told me that I am going to be the District Leader. Wow. That's stressful but also a huge honor only being two transfers out. Elder Quakenbush received a call from one of the Assistants saying the biking area is going to be closed down, and that he is going to be a District Leader somewhere. Elder Bowles received a call from President McConkie a couple hours later telling him he was going to be Zone Leader in Spartanburg and the other Zone Leader will be his trainer Elder Fromm.  :)  After this next transfer, he will have spent 6 months with Elder Fromm. A couple minutes later we get a call from Elder Quakenbush telling us that President had just called him and he is going to be training a new missionary. A few minutes after we received the call from Quakenbush, we received another phone call from President. This time he wanted to speak to me. I have the assignment to train a new missionary this next transfer! I am going to have a "son" after two transfers! President told me "I've heard great things about you." He went on to say that this calling is a huge honor and he has high expectations for me. Oh wow talk about the stress. I'm suppose to train a missionary, and I feel I have no idea how to do missionary work and on top of that President McConkie has high expectations for me. I hope I can live up to those expectations. I know the Lord qualifies whom he calls so I am going to trust in Him. I love you all.
Elder Cowan 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stevie's Baptism

Dear family,

You don't need to get me any more shirts. I don't need any more. If you could find some way to keep my shirts white, I could use that. Recently I've tried putting a little bleach into the washer. I think it helps with the stains.  :) 

I don't know if I told you about Stevie Dockery. Stevie is a friend of a member named Thomas Fellows. Thomas was in a play with Stevie and throughout the practices they began to talk about religion. Stevie has cared a lot about religion, even though he is only 18. He has gone from church to church searching for the correct one. I honestly feel Thomas taught Stevie EVERYTHING he knows about the gospel. Thomas told Stevie that the only way he can know if the Church of Jesus Christ is the church he has been looking for is if he prays and asks Heavenly father. Stevie prayed and felt like he should be baptized. This is when Elder Bowles and I met him. Stevie had already received a witness from the Holy Ghost that he needed to join this church, and so we taught him the lessons (even though he already knew all of the information from Thomas) and this past Sunday he was baptized by Thomas. It was really quick but it was a blessing to see this young man and his determination to follow the Spirit and not let anything stop him. Thomas has been saving money to go on a mission, and Stevie told us the last time we taught him, that he wanted to serve a mission as well! It will be such a blessing for both of them to help each other prepare to serve the Lord.

Wayne Morris is back on the radar again. We stopped by this week to see how he was doing and both he and his brother had been antied by people telling them that we worship Joseph Smith. I'm glad Wayne revealed his concern so we could help him understand. We told him about the video "Joseph Smith, The prophet of the Restoration"(the movie that was in the visitor's center about an hour long)and we offered to watch the video with him the next time we came over. Wayne seemed really interested to learn more about the prophet. We went by later this week and watched the movie with him. I love the movie. The spirit was very strong while we were there. We had to leave to get to another appointment so we were not able to talk much about the video. Then on Sunday Wayne came to Stevie's baptism! It was a miracle. I was so shocked! We were able to talk briefly about the video and Wayne told me he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet, and he wants us to come over on Tuesday to talk about the video and baptism! I really have come to love Wayne. Elder Bowles and I are fasting for him today. It will be difficult breaking away from the Catholic church which he has been associated with all his life, but I know he will make it. 
Stevie's funny face  :)
This is the last week of the transfer. 16 missionaries will be going home, and we are only getting 4 more. Many of the areas will be shut down until we get more missionaries. I don't think I will be with Elder Bowles anymore. We have grown very close and I will definitely miss serving with him. I could not read Dad's email. There was some type of error..grrr...I really do not like myldsmail but its what I've been asked to use, and I will be obedient.

I will definitely pray and fast for grandma. I love life and I know I am where I am supposed to be.

Love Elder Cowan

P.S-Justin, Blake, and Kevin: Write me! I want to hear what's going on in your life. It doesn't have to be long--one or two sentences will be greatly appreciated. You also don't have the excuse of school. Ha! 
Thomas Fellows & Stevie Dockery