Monday, August 31, 2009

First Transfer

Dear Family,

I did receive the package. I also received a phone call Saturday night telling me to pack my bags and I'm going to the Transfer meeting on Wednesday down in Columbia. I do not know where I am going or who I am serving with. It's a surprise! This is going to be a very short email this week because I have to pack my suit case today. I had no idea Liesel was pregnant. When is she due? I had a great week here in Anderson. I can only give some highlights from the week.

Elder Taylor and I went over to Kent and Holly's and we had a great family home evening. We got all of their children involved which was a miracle in and of itself because their kids are CRAZY! :) One of their children had never even spoken to Elder Taylor or me before our visit this week. Our family home evening was centered around a "gospel version" of "Don't Eat Pete." Instead of having cartoon pictures on the board, we put: Salt Lake temple, Book of Mormon, Bible, missionaries, Jesus, families, Joseph Smith, prayer, and baptism. Every time they picked up the candy on the square, the kids had to say what the picture was, and why it is important. Example: Temple. The children had to remember that it is "the house of God". Anyways the kids really enjoyed it, and at the end of the lesson Sabrina, the 6 year old daughter wanted to say the closing prayer. We also had Carey Burriss (blind man) come to church this Sunday. He really enjoyed it. I wish I could stay to continue to watch him progress, but like Dad said, "Come what may and love it!" I Love this work. I love the opportunity to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ. I hope and pray all is well and I will talk to you next week from a new location! :) 

Elder Cowan

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

6 Months

Dear Family,

I never know how to begin a letter. :) I'm glad you received my letter last week. The computers at the library have a time limit, and once the time runs out, the computer logs off and any work that is on the computer is lost. Last week I finished my email with 50 seconds left before the computer was going to log off. I hit the send button, and I watched the little bar at the bottom of the screen, and by the time the 50 seconds were up, only two of the squares were filled in. The combination of these stone age computers with makes for an adventure every week while trying to email. :) Last Monday (17th) Elder Merrell and Elder Johnson (the zone leaders) came down to Anderson to blitz our area. I am so thankful for the zone leaders. They sacrifice so much to help the zone progress, not just the investigators in their own area. With our three baptisms last week, Elder Taylor and I were in need of some help finding some new investigators who will progress. Anyways, I'm just rambling, but the zone leaders came down Monday night then worked with us Tuesday. Since I worked with Elder Merrell last time, I went with Elder Johnson. We had a very good day. We picked up a lead named Darrel as an investigator and taught a very good lesson. At the end, Darrel knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Darrel really wants to get involved. Timing is such an important part of missionary work. Darrel told us that when we met him on the street a month ago (when we picked him up as a lead) he had no interest in hearing our message, but he decided to give us his house address anyways. When Elder Johnson and I went by, he told us that the night before he was talking to his sister and during the conversation he decided that he needed to start coming back to church. We are not in charge. Every day there is a miracle. I just love it!

Tuesday night we went on an exchange with Brother Lively, and we went and taught Kent and Holly. They are loving the gospel. Their lives are far from perfect, and they still have some major hills to overcome in the near future, but they have the faith and recognize that they can get through everything with the Lord. After teaching Kent and Holly, we went on a wild goose hunt trying to deliver a media. :) We finally found the house and the lady was nowhere interested. Wednesday we taught Carey Burriss who is a blind man and on a previous visit we delivered the first binder of Book of Mormon in Braille. When we went over on Wednesday he had read through 1 Nephi 6. He was really enjoying the story but he has not asked God if it is more scripture. :S we will have to see what happens in the future. Anyways, when we left his house we noticed that there was a car in front of Alisa's house (former investigator who wanted us to come over every day, loved everything we taught and wanted her son to be baptized with her) anyways she had just disappeared. We had lost all communication with her, and when we walked over to the house, she popped out of the car. She had gone to Columbia two months ago, but while she was down there, her car died, and she was stuck in Columbia, and then her phone ran out of minutes, anyways long story but she had just got back in this Tuesday. Alisa still has a desire to be baptized so we are going to continue where we left off. Thursday was a blur...Friday was Zone Conference. The assistants talked on improving our prayers and becoming more humble. The training lasted a little longer than planned, so when President stood up to train us the first thing he said was, "I am going to teach you everything I know about the Atonement in the next 15 minutes." We FLEW through so much information, but it was really good. Everyday I realize more and more how stunning and amazing the Atonement really is. The gospel is true. I am so thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I love each of you and I am so thankful for the truths that I know and have an opportunity to share with others. Transfers are coming up this next week. I'm a little scared. I love Anderson. I have come to love the members and we continue to find so many people who are ready for the gospel. Whatever happens "the Lord is in it" (Hyrum tells Joseph that in the movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration). I am so thankful that the Lord has once again, in love, reached out to mankind and has given us the opportunity to hold the Priesthood and receive revelation for those under our stewardship. My time is out so I must go!

Elder Cowan

Monday, August 17, 2009

Two week update

Dear family,

I am sorry the email did not get to you. I'm not sure why it did not work. For the time being, I am going to blame :) Last week update: It came, it went and I loved every second of it. I don't have much to report from last week so I'm going to spend my time with this week.

Tuesday: On an exchange with Brother Rodger, I visited William Bradberry. William is not doing well. William has diabetes and he does not watch what he eats. He eats anything and everything. His diabetes is attacking his entire body but when we went by this last week I recognized how much it has affected his brain/memory. It was really sad to watch, but then at the same time I am truly grateful that Elder Bowles and I had the opportunity to teach him. It was truly a miracle that for the two and a half weeks that we taught him, William did not have any health problem. I know the Lord restored his health for the short amount of time we worked with him up until his baptism. I know the Lord is in charge.

Wednesday: Elder Merrell (ZL) and Elder Cooney (AP)came to Anderson to do the baptismal interviews for Laura Draper, Kent Byrum, and Holly Byrum. I was a little nervous because these are the first three baptisms that Elder Taylor and I have taught completely on our own. All three passed the interview and then the fun began. We started checking on everything to make sure the baptism would run smoothly. Last Sunday we invited Sister Mortensen to give the talk at the baptism because she has really become good friends with Laura, but on Friday (the day before the baptism) Sister Mortensen called and told us that she was coming to the baptism but she was not going to give the talk. :) Elder Taylor and I luckily found a replacement speaker. Elder Taylor and I also had to find clothes for everyone. This was quite the adventure. We could not find pants that fit Kent. The dress that we borrowed from Sister Black did not fit Holly. What a mess. We did not get the clothes situation figured out until 30 minutes before the baptism. :) Brother Macdonald was in charge of finding a pianist, but she didn't show up, so I had the opportunity to play the piano at the baptism. Brother Trotter baptized Kent and Holly, which was another fiasco because we found out while Holly was in the water that she is afraid of water and Brother Trotter had forgotten the baptismal prayer. :) Holly had to be baptized three times before she went under completely. Elder Taylor baptized Laura. Overall, Elder Taylor and I were at the church for five hours on Saturday. Boy was that tiring. When we finally got back to our apartment I got a killer headache. I felt like death. It was pretty bad. I had Elder Taylor give me a blessing and even with the headache, I decided I was going to go out and work. Sitting in the apartment does not promote baptisms. :P While we drove to the area where we were going to be knocking, my head still throbbed, but once we got out of the car and started knocking on doors, my headache vanished. We worked the rest of the night with no problems. Then when we got back to the apartment, my headache returned. :)  I know the Lord was preserving me as I went about doing His will. I love it. Miracles happen everyday. I just hope I am humble enough to recognize the miracles for what they really are.

On Sunday I confirmed Laura. It's way sad, Kent and Holly were all ready for church a half an hour before, but then the cable man showed up at their house as they were getting ready to go. They told the cable man that they were leaving but he said that this was the only time he was going to be down their direction. He also told them that it would only take a couple of minutes, but because of the cable man, Kent and Holly and their three kids were late to Sacrament meeting. :(  They were not confirmed. I'm not worried about Kent and Holly. I know they will be confirmed, but I just wish it was over so I could finally breathe. It will get done this week.
Okay that's enough about the baptisms for now.

Elder Taylor and I met a man named Eddie and we taught a really good first lesson. Eddie recognizes the corruption in so many churches and everything was great until the First Vision. After we recounted Joseph Smith's experience, Eddie said, "Hold on! You believe Jesus is not God?" I thought is was going to go down hill from there, but when we explained that we do not believe in the Trinity, Eddie responded: "Hallelujah!" Eddie does not believe in the Trinity, which is VERY rare. We have a return appointment with him this following week. We will see what happens. I love this work. I truly appreciate all the prayers and everything you do for me. I am certain I do not want pictures of the family but I would like a picture of Jenny and Kyle.

Love yall!
Elder Cowan

P.S. We had a shot gun pulled on us this week! :)  Got to love the mission! Don't worry mom. Everything is all right.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Slower Week

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a slower week. I've decided the Lord is helping me learn patience. :) Two of our investigators were sick, and three of them were out of town. It seems we spent quite a lot of time looking for new investigators, but our efforts were not very fruitful. Tuesday night Elder Taylor and I went out with a member to deliver medias that people have ordered through the church web site and we stopped by one house that is near Kelli's house. Elder Taylor and I were working with Kelli and her sister Sallie two months ago, but then Sallie lost interest, and so Elder Taylor and I stopped working with both of them. While we were in the neighborhood we stopped by Kelli's house and she was very excited to see us! She had wondered why we had not been by in so long, and she set up an appointment that following day for us to come and visit her. We went back by on Wednesday. Between the two sisters and their four kids jumping around in previous visits, Elder Taylor and I decided that we were going to start over and go from the beginning. We had taught a complete first lesson to the two sisters, but neither one had heard the entire thing. We proceeded to share our message and it actually took us two hours to tie everything together (Heavenly Father, His Begotten Son Jesus Christ, His prophet Joseph Smith, His teachings in the Bible and the Book of Mormon)! I do not think I have ever had an appointment that long before, but it was fun watching Kelli as we taught because everything was finally coming together for her. :) She kept saying, "Another light bulb, another light bulb!" every time she caught hold of what we were saying. We will have to see what the future has in store for her.

Friday was Zone Interviews. Since our car had over 50,000 miles on it, we got a new car. :) A 2009 Toyota Corolla! It's way nice. Elder Taylor and I both decided this is probably going to be the only car we will ever drive in the same year that it came out. :) The trainings were great. Elder Cooney trained on being humble and Elder Solomon trained on contacting like Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff.

I know the Lord has prepared people for the message I bring. I hope and pray that I may continually improve my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I love this work and I hope and pray all is well with all yall!

Love Elder Cowan