Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow and Icy Baptism Plus Trips to the Airport

Dear Family,

Hello from the icy South Carolina! This week has been really busy. I can't believe everything has happened so quickly.

Sunday we woke up extremely early in order for the visa waiting missionaries, the office Elders and Elder Taylor and I to get through the single shower we have in our apartment. We dropped Elder Hinckley and Elder Neighting off at the Windsor Lake building to watch out for our investigators. The three other visa waiting missionaries were dropped off at the Columbia building and Elder Taylor and I went to the BASE! It was the first week for the soldiers being back from Exodus! It was great seeing all the soldiers back on Post. We had a baptism. It was really cold. Ice was forming on our portable font! When the soldier came out of the water, he was blue! In a modern way I felt like the missionaries who had to break the ice at the river to perform baptisms! It was an epic experience. We dropped the visa waiters off in neighborhoods to proselyte and then we wrote soldiers. We then drove home at the end of the night. Sunday night it snowed! We had three to four inches of snow in our apartment complex! We got ready for the day and we drove to the other side of Columbia to pick up the visas in the office and Elders Riggs and Earl. We then had to drive to Cayce to pick up Elder Devitry. The roads were horrible. We were on the freeway and nobody else was on the freeway. At one point our windshield wiper froze, so we stopped our car in the middle of the Interstate (because nobody else was on it, and we did not worry about someone hitting us) so I could jump out and break off the ice. When we arrived at the office there was another email stating that another one of the visa waiters received his visa. This Elder, Elder Richens, was serving in Myrtle Beach! His flight would be on Wednesday.

Random story: We told one of the visa waiters, who was scheduled to fly out on Tuesday, that all flights were canceled (It was a joke) and that President McConkie had prayed to know what to do and that the spirit told him that we needed to do everything in our power to get them to Brazil. Their connection flight was in Dallas TX. We told this missionary that president gave us permission to drive all 8 of the missionaries in the mission van to TX. It was so funny. He was the last missionary we picked up and all the rest of the visa waiters knew about our joke and this Elder was so excited to go on a road trip to TX. It was great when we arrived at the mission home and finally told him that the flights had not been canceled and that he would be leaving in the morning. :)

Tuesday morning while the first visa waiters were getting ready in the morning, one of them read a slip of paper that came with their paper saying that they were allowed one suit case, not exceeding 44 pounds and a small pouch or backpack. This was new news for most of them. 15 minutes before we left for the airport to drop them off for their flights, they frantically got rid of two of the luggage cases and a whole bunch of stuff. Sister McConkie will be shipping it all home to their parents. It was a crazy morning. Luckily we got them all to the airport and they headed off to Brazil. We then dropped off the three remaining visa waiters (who were leaving on Wednesday) in Cayce. Elder Taylor and I drove to Florence where we met Elder Richens and Elder Koch (they are the two visa waiters who were serving in Myrtle Beach.) Even though Elder Koch did not have his visa, we thought it would be smart to bring him in close to Columbia just in case. After picking up the Elders we drove to the office to pick up Elder Richen's Visa. While we were in the office, we received another email. That's right, another VISA! Elder Koch's Visa was received in Salt Lake! :) I'm glad we brought him down to Columbia! That night we stayed at the McConkie's home and the next morning Elder Richens got dropped off at the airport at 4:00 am in the morning! It was early, then at 10:00 am we dropped off three more of the visa waiters. One of them was emotional. He really enjoyed his time in South Carolina. He has been doing missionary work in the Spanish language while he's been here. When I hugged him goodbye. He told me, "Train me how to be an English missionary and I'll stay. I will not get on that plane if I'm allowed to be your companion." It was a great compliment to receive. He will be a great missionary in Brazil. The following day we dropped Elder Koch off at the airport. Long story short, we went to the airport 4 times in 3 days. :) That was the majority of our week. Oh I almost forgot, Leslie Smith, we stopped at his house and we found him unconscious on the floor! We had to call 911. He is out of the hospital now, but that made our week even more hectic.

Transfers are happening on Wednesday. Nobody knows this yet, but I'm transferring up to the Grenville 1st ward. I am replacing sisters. The area they live in is not the best part of town, so I and my new trainee will be there instead! I'm excited to get out in the field and work this new missionary to death. Oh, with that piece of information, I will have my next preparation day not, Monday the 17th, but on the 24th of January. I will talk to you then!

Elder Cowan

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