Saturday, December 11, 2010

Companions with Elder Taylor Again!

Dear Family,

After the long wait, I have the awaited transfer information....My New Companion is ELDER TAYLOR! Yes the same Elder Taylor who I trained in Anderson, Yes, the same Elder Taylor I served with as zone leader companions in Camden, Yes, he is now my companion in the calling as Assistants to the President. :D Life sure is crazy! It made me laugh when President told me. Right after the prayer was given to begin transfer planning, President stood up and said, I know who my next Assistant is going to be. It's Elder Taylor. I couldn't tell if he was joking. I informed him that I would love to serve with him again, but I had already served with him twice. To this he responded "You have? When?" It had completely slipped his mind. On to the week. I am out of time.

Monday, Elder Tran and I were informed that the new missionaries were coming in at 5:00 pm. We were working in the office preparing for the transfers and new missionaries when the office sister, Sister Taylor, informed us that the flight had been delayed and the new missionaries missed their second flight. The new arrival time was 11:50 p.m. :) It really was a blessing in disguise because we had too much stuff we needed to get done before transfers and we were not able to do it the week before because we were traveling the mission. We picked up the new missionaries and they were tired from their flight, but very excited to be here. The new missionaries were really funny. They were afraid to laugh or do anything out of line. I remember coming in the mission home and being very careful to not give President the wrong first impression. They will all be great missionaries. We trained the new missionaries on Tuesday.

Wednesday was transfers. Things were hectic like usual. Elder Tran is now training one of the new missionaries down in Charleston. I can't remember Thursday. :) Friday we were in the office figuring out a new deal with Sprint. We then went to the Windsor Lake Christmas Party. It was great to be there.

Saturday we cleaned the office Elders' apartment. We completed some more work with Sprint, then we went to Ft. Jackson for a social for all the AIT soldiers. It was great. There was food and games for the soldiers.

We are preparing for the the Christmas zone conference. The missionaries are going to perform talents then we are going to play volleyball and do other fun activities. It's going to be fun, but tiring doing it in every zone. I will be tired by the end of the week. I can't believe Christmas is here. I need to apologize to Justin; I have not gotten his birthday letter in the mail. I will do it today.

Tomorrow will be the last day at Basic Training before exodus. They will not be back until the second week of January. Sundays are going to be so different without the base. It will be good though. This will be my last transfer as an assistant. It will prepare me when I train a new missionary my last transfer. I hope all is well. Merry Christmas! I love you all!

Elder Cowan

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Save the Souls of Man"

Dear Family,

What an exciting week! Thursday was great with all of the feasts that we were able to go to. In the morning, before we went to President and Sister McConkie's home, we stopped at the office to do some office work. While I was sitting at the computer working away, I received a phone call from a lady who was in search of a bishop. She told me she needed to speak to a bishop about getting some food. As I tried asking her some questions, she became a little defensive and she would not give me her name. I told her I needed to know where she lived in order to know which Bishop she should contact. She didn't even want to tell me where she lived, but finally she told me she was located at Barbara Dr. & Two Notch Road. I told her I needed a minute to look it up on the internet to find her location. This unnamed lady was not very excited with the idea that I would put her on hold. Finally, she agreed and I typed her information into the computer. By the time I found the address and which ward it was in, I tried to talk to her on the phone, but it was too late. She had already hung up. I felt bad I wasn't able to help her more, but from the abruptness and the rude way she spoke, I don't think she was very humble and not really "in need" as she stated. If she were "in need" she would have waited while I looked up the information. Anyway, I will return to this random phone call later.

We went to the McConkie's home and that was the best Thanksgiving food I have ever had! It was sad that it was our first stop of the day. After eating Sister McConkie's food, the other two dinners did not excite me. :) After dinner at the McConkie's home, we went to John Crew's apartment for round number two. We had a fun time visiting with the Crew family and also with the sisters who also serve in the Windsor Lake Ward. After the second dinner, we started to drive back into Columbia. While I was driving, I realized we were on Two Notch Road. I had the thought pop in my head, "look up Barbara Dr. and Two Notch Rd." I followed the prompting and had Elder Tran look it up. When the GPS located our position, we were crossing the intersection of Barbara Dr. and Two Notch Road. It was too late to turn. Also, we had the sisters following us to Sister Drake's house for our third dinner. The thought came in my head, "you need to go back." I tried to brush the thought away, but then it came again, "you need to go back." I then began to rationalize with myself saying "the sisters will get lost if we do not show them the way to Sister Drake's house." I also thought, "we are going to be late to our dinner if I turn back around."  I was having this battle in my head when I turned to Elder Tran and I asked him, "Why is it so hard to follow the Spirit? I feel we need to turn around, but I'm not sure if it's just my own thought or the spirit prompting me." Elder Tran looked at me for a moment and said, "turn around." I decided to follow his counsel and we called the sisters and told them to continue ahead of us. We gave them the best directions we could, then turned around. As we began driving back to Barbara Dr. and Two Notch Rd, the thought came to me, "turn left." I decided to test this thought by first asking Elder Tran. I said, "Now the question is, which direction are we going to go when we reach the intersection?" "I feel we need to turn left," he said. "Really? I was actually thinking the same thing." When we reached the intersection, Barbara Dr was on our left and to the right the road had changed names! This boosted my confidence that we were being led by the spirit. As we drove down the street, we noticed a hotel and there were quite a few people standing outside. Elder Tran told me to turn in, so I turned. As we scanned the group, their was a US army soldier in his ACU (uniform). We pulled off to the side and began to talk to the man. He had just finished basic training at Ft. Jackson and we was headed to Georgia for AIT. We were able to teach him briefly about the gospel and he committed to attend church the following Sunday down in Georgia! After speaking to him, Elder Tran and I felt like we had done what the spirit needed us to do, so we drove to our dinner appointment. I will never know what will happen to that soldier, but I know the Lord was behind us meeting him: the phone call in the morning, the Holy Ghost bringing to my remembrance that address right as we were driving passed the intersection, Elder Tran and I serving on the Fort Jackson military post (the only two missionaries in the entire state who even begin to understand what they go through in basic and being able to understand what he had just completed). It was no coincidence. I am continuing to learn how to follow the spirit. Wow, that is a long story and I have not even finished the first day! We had a great dinner with Sister Drake; she is so funny. I hope y'all will be able to meet her someday.

Friday we drove to Charleston for a two day specialized training meeting. The meeting lasted the entire day, then we visited some of Elder Tran's converts in Charleston. That evening we slept on the floor of some Elders' apartment. Saturday was day two with the Charleston Zone. It was great.

Sunday we attended the base. I taught the discussion group. I did not do a very good job. I ran out of time. I was not able to cover everything I wanted. Even with the unfinished lesson, I knew I had to invite the class to be baptized. I was a little nervous, but I invited all to be baptized. One soldier, Brother Soli, shot his hand right up. It was a testimony that the spirit converts--not my teaching skills. It also reaffirmed the need for missionaries to be bold. One cannot fulfill his purpose of bringing souls unto Christ without inviting them to do so. Brother Soli is planning to be baptized tomorrow.

Monday was office work. Tuesday and Wednesday we had the two day specialized zone meeting in Florence. Thursday and Friday we had the same meeting in Greenville. This morning we finished transfer planning, and then had a bunch of random stuff we had to do. One of the things we did was scan a giant pencil drawing into the computer. I am attaching the file so you can see. It's an amazing picture. Elder Tran is going to be transferred. As a last hurrah, we went to a Vietnamese restaurant. I had pho. Elder Tran talks about it all of the time. It was a great experience. I am going to miss Elder Tran. I wish I could tell you who my next companion is. I will tell you next week! I know this work is true. I love my life. Let us all "Save the souls of man."

Elder Cowan