Monday, October 5, 2009

I Love Conference!

Dear Family,
Hi y'all! How y'all doin? :) Life here is great. I thought I would start with an update of the "rashes and raincoats." Dr. Hamilton ordered me a prescription of an oral steroid which I was to take for six days, each day lowering the amount I take. The steroid was to suppress the reaction and hopefully give me enough time to figure out what I was allergic to. I had assumed it was my rain coat, but then on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., while I was still on the medication, the rash came back. I called Dr. Hamilton (mission doctor) and he was highly confused. He was really shocked because he has never had someone have a reaction while taking the medication. With the reaction still occurring, it makes it very unlikely that I am allergic to my raincoat. The investigation is still on. Besides calling the doctor, I also called the zone leaders (Elder Bowles and Elder Redsten) and asked them to send a message out to the zone and have everyone pray that the rash/hives would go away and that I would be able to focus on the work. It was not that it caused any pain, but it was difficult to focus on the work when I itched all over. ;) I also asked Elder Bjarnson to give me a priesthood blessing. As soon as he finished the blessing, I could instantly see a change in my skin. After 15 minutes, the rash had completely disappeared and I didn't have any more problems for the rest of the day. I am so thankful for the priesthood and for the opportunity to be a missionary and to have another worthy priesthood holder with me at all times. This experience has strengthened my testimony of prayer and the power of the priesthood. On Wednesday, at the same time, 11:30 a.m., the rash came back. And then within an hour it was gone again. We still don't know what caused the problem, but I've finished the medication and I have not had a problem since. I have no idea. Enough about my medical adventure/investigation. Someday I will figure out what has been causing the reaction.

Now it's time for the more important things! The people we are working with! At the top of the list are Brandon and Jessica. They have been the focus this week. We went to see them on Tuesday evening with a perspective elder, Jonathan Gawrych. I am so thankful for the support that we receive from this ward. When we arrived at their appointment, Brandon was not there. His car had broken down and he was out walking somewhere, but because we had a member with us, we were able to go into the apartment and teach Jessica. Because Jessica was not there the first time we had taught Brandon, we went over the Restoration and right when we were going to commit her to be baptized, Brandon showed up and we missed the opportunity. :( Jessica had had a difficult time at work and it was amazing to see her attitude change as she listened, asked questions and got involved in the lesson.

Wednesday was the last day of the month which means bike day. Elder Bjarnson and I biked all day Wednesday. We have to be obedient. Staying within the mileage limitations the Lord has given us equals an increase in Heavenly Father's trust for us; therefore, entrusting us with the opportunity and responsibility to teach more of His children!

On Thursday, Elder Bjarnson and I received the list of medias that we were to see. I noticed on our list that there were two names from the same address that had ordered materials from the church. One had ordered a Bible, and the other had ordered a "Joy to the World" DVD LAST WINTER! It had been 8 months from the time she had ordered the video. I call the number immediately to try and get ahold of someone. I talked to Vernesa who was the one who had ordered the "Joy to the World" DVD. When I told her who I was, where I was from, and the nature of the call, she told me, "Forget it! It's all just a hoax! I ordered material 8 months ago. You must be giving my information out to a solicitor!" I explained that I was sorry she had not received her materials, but that I had just arrived in the area and I was not sure why the materials had not been delivered. I asked her to give me one chance. She told me to come immediately to her house and if I did not come today it was over. Luckily Elder Bjarnson and I were near her house so we drove straight there. We gave her the video, and the Bible for her sister, and then I told her I wanted to give her another gift, The Book of Mormon. She accepted the gift and I explained what it was. When I finished explaining, she asked, "Do believe there are prophets today?" :) Oh yeah! We explained about General Conference, the opportunity to hear a prophet of the Lord speak today and she became very excited....which leads into the highlight of the week GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!

On Friday we had a District Development Meeting. My training was on helping the members realize that the "the field is white." So many members are willing to help us teach our investigators, but we need to encourage them to seek Heavenly Father's direction is finding out which of their friends or acquaintances are ready for the gospel today. I feel it went fairly well. After the meeting, I went on an exchange with Elder Stephens, while Elder Stocks worked my area with Elder Bjarnson. It is always a neat experience to work with other missionaries and to learn and grow from their strengths. We finished the exchange by meeting at the church building to watch conference. I love conference. The spirit definitely was working on me and I truly felt the urge to become a better example of the Savior and to be a better leader, especially with the members of my zone. I am so thankful for the insights I received and for the opportunity to hear the direction and counsel from the prophet, apostles and other leaders. Brandon came to the Saturday morning session of conference. On Sunday, Brandon and Jessica came to the morning session and then Brandon came back for the afternoon session. We also had our investigator, Hoover, come to the Sunday afternoon session.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Elder Cowan

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