Monday, December 16, 2013

Hope for Forgiveness Letter 12/16/2013

Dearest Family! Merry Christmas, I hope you are all enjoying the cold weather there while I enjoy the warm weather here!

It's been another exciting week with many ups and downs. The struggle with the language continues but gets better everyday. I am learning a lot of patience and humility which you know is something that could do me a lot of good. Sometimes we try to do more than we are capable of and end up doing more harm then good. Sometimes I think God just wants us to work our hardest and then be patient. As long as we are exactly obedient and working our hardest The Lord will take care of the rest. If he needed me to be fluent now I am sure that would be the case. If he needs me to understand what people are saying as long as I have done my part he makes it so. It really is coming but I just want to do and say so much but I can't... Yet. I know it will come because I saw this happen in Tacloban but it's taking a little more patience and a lot more humility this time maybe because I feel like I should be farther along than I am.
We have been teaching two kids from a less active family, The T. Family. We are hoping that as we help them towards baptism we can help their family towards reactivation. We were teaching them this past week and the lesson was about prophets and we were focusing on the kids but one of the less active members asked how exactly Thomas S Monson talked to God. If it's literally face to face or what. As usual my companion tossed the difficult question to me. I honestly didn't really know. Do we really know exactly? But I just talked about how we don't know exactly and I discussed Faith and the Brother of Jared and how even if we don't know exactly how he talks to God we need to have faith that he does and then exercise the faith to follow what he says. I felt bad that it was such a vague answer but that was the best that I could do. Shortly after this lesson we had a less active try to tell us that the Burning Bush was Satan and I couldn't completely understand or that Moses was evil or something because we were trying to explain the 10 commandments and how they're being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I'm not sure what kind of burning bush he was smoking but he just needs to come back to church. He's one of these old guys who think they know everything. I always want to ask him if he knows it why he won't do it but hopefully we can help him and his family return and also help them get their doctrine straight.
Our investigators are doing well. We only have one now though because sister G. moved into the sisters area for work and so they are going to finish teaching her. I am glad she is still in the same ward and I am still going to think of her as one of my converts. Sister B. is also doing well, we have had a hard time finding opportunities to teach her though because we don't always have an adult male to work with us but we teach her when we can. The R. family however is a little more difficult (they are a part member family as well and we were teaching their two teenage sons.) I think they were more converted to Elder D. then to the Gospel and so now they have started hiding whenever we come which is really sad and it breaks my heart but we will continue to try. We pray that they will soften their hearts.
I baptized my first person on Sunday morning. The baptism was supposed to be on Saturday but something came up and it got pushed to the next day. It was a really neat experience. I even did it in Tagolog. So I had to do it twice because her foot came out of the water because she forgot to bend her legs like we instructed. So that made it memorable. The spirit was strong. The sisters taught her but I was honored to have the opportunity to baptize her and participate in her confirmation.
I have been thinking a lot about hope lately and faith also. We taught a lesson to a less-active family about hope The M. family. The wife and kids are more active than the dad and he's the one we want to focus on but he's never home and their marriage is struggling. We taught about hope and used the scriptures Ether 12:4 and also Moroni 7:41-43. We asked her what she hoped for and she said that she hoped for repentance and forgiveness and I thought that was a neat thing to hope for. That is something we should all hope for especially if we understand hope's close relation with faith. Hope is the reason and faith is the action. When we hope for something, faith is how we achieve that something so if we hope for repentance and forgiveness and then exercise faith, through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can surely achieve it.
I know this Church is true, I know that God answers our prayers. I am so grateful for the priesthood and I know that it's power is made manifest through our faithfulness and obedience. It makes sense that the priesthood, being the power of God, has it's power manifest through developing the attributes of whose power it is, Even Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas and may you all be ready for the Savior on the 25th. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey.
Love Elder Lowe

Monday, December 9, 2013

Letter 12/9/2013

Family,
 
Only in the mission field can a long week seem like it went by so fast. I was learning a lot of patience and humility with Elder D and I was starting to be able to get along with him. But after a few late nights of texting President and our Bishop, Elder D was emergency transferred and Elder V, is my new companion. I love him. He is from Bacolod mission and so he speaks Ilongo and the Visayan missionaries also usually speak better English as well. I still try to use Tagolog as much as possible but when it comes to getting things done during planning and study, it's nice to be able to use English since that's the directive anyways. But anyways, I love my new companion and It's nice to have the spirit in our lessons again. It was a rough couple of weeks with out it. Last night we had an amazing lesson with the A family who are less actives. We had a couple with us who are sealed in the temple and we were able to talk about the Atonement and get the temple in their sights! I couldn't help but shed a few tears when we left because I hadn't felt the spirit like that in a lesson since I was with Elder S and we were teaching the P family about forgiveness.
 
This week I was studying in Ether 2. I love the story of the Jaredites. In verse 7 after they had crossed some body of water in barges The Lord would not suffer that they should stop but to continue on until the Promise Land. I think it is so important to learn from this concept that we must not settle for something good when something better awaits us. We should never be content living a Terrestrial Law when we are capable and have the potential to live a Celestial one. As missionaries it is our job to help people to the Celestial Kingdom. We are helping people to the Promise Land. Later on the Lord chastises the Brother of Jared for not calling upon the name of The Lord but then after he commands him to repent and get to work. He doesn't say, "Go pout for a little bit and be upset that you got in trouble" but rather don't be a little girl and get back to work, his exact words are "Go to work and build..." And I am impressed with the faith of the Brother of Jared to continue as he did. We must follow this example. We will make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes will bring upon us chastisement but we must be humble, repent and then get back to work. And never fall into the trap of feeling unworthy to continue. It always breaks my heart to meet less actives who don't come back because they are ashamed and they don't think they can continue on. And lastly we learn in verses 16 through 20 that our vessels must be tight like unto a dish. I wrote in my journal, "Through the winds and waves of mortality, we must be sure the vessels in which we travel are tight like a dish. We do this by becoming close with our families, strengthening our testimonies, and keeping our covenants and living the Gospel. These things must be tight that we will not perish in the wind and waves of the adversary." And then at the end of the chapter the question arises how the vessels will be lit. Somtimes we ask God questions and he lets us answer. I love how he says to the Brother of jared to ponder upon it and then bring it back. Information before inspiration. That's a valuable principle to live by. The Lord will do his part, we need to excercise faith and do ours.
One last story before I close, so I don't know why the missionaries never talked to our land lords but as of recent, because the some other missionaries are moving into the same apartments we have been able to talk to them and they have started asking some good questions. They are Baptists and somewhat prominent in their Church. They have Bible class or whatever they do at their house. We did a service project for them with our zone and My companion and I were able to give a spiritual thought at the end. We gave it on Proverbs 3:13-18 because that verse was written on their little white board and we then related it to 1 Nephi 8. They both talk about a Tree of Life. It was amazing to see the lights turn on as they saw the Bible relate so brilliantly to the Book of Mormon. I hope and pray that they will soften their hearts and hear more of our message. We may have Christmas at their house and so we are super excited to see if that will follow through becuase it's just an idea right now.
I love you all, I love hearing all your stories. You all never cease to make me smile. I pray for you always and I feel all your prayers. Keep on keepin on. Keep loving your neighbors and eachother. And most of all, Keep the faith and may peace be the journey. Remember the reason for the season as you celebrate Christmas this year. We have already been given the greatest gift which is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Use that gift. It works.
 
Love Elder Lowe

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter 12/2/2013

Family!
So I had so much to tell you, but then I left my brain (my planner) at the mission home and so hopefully I can remember it all.

 This week has gone really well and I have so much to be grateful for. We weren't able to teach our investigators as much as we would have liked but we still had a few lessons with them that went really well. We had a really good lesson with G on Sunday about the Plan of Salvation: Our purpose here on Earth. I am so grateful for the spirit. There are a lot of things I would like to say but I can't yet but I know the Spirit teaches what needs to be taught. We had two service projects this week. They went well but we had our whole district at both of them and there weren't really enough jobs for everyone and they absorbed more time than I would have liked. We just did various yard work type things for members in the various wards that the missionaries in our district are assigned to. I was grateful for the opportunity to serve though.
Things with Elder D are getting much better, especially as I learn more about the language. I try to use as much Tagolog as I can when I speak with him and it has helped me a ton! I am doing my best to learn from him and I hope I am a good example for him. Every companion has something to teach me. I still have discouragement and moments of depression. There is so much I want to say and do but I can't yet because of the language. I Know this is teaching me so much and I am growing so much. And thats just it, I'm growing because it's hard and I can do hard things. And if we can do hard things, we can progress and grow. Miracles have not ceased, and I see them every day in the mission field.
For thanks giving we had a fun little adventure. We went over to the B's house. The B's are couple missionaries assigned in our same ward. So Elder D and I as well as the sisters in our ward, Sister H and Sister L went to The B apartment and while the food was finishing up the Carbon Monoxide detector went off so we had to get out of the apartment and figure things out. So we ended up just getting all the food out and eating downstairs in this little lobby area and it was super funny. We had chicken, potatoes and stuffing, and we even had yams! And then a lemon something pie. It was really good considering what Sister B had to work with and we had a lot of fun with it. I love the couple missionaries. Everything worked out with the gas problems but it was a fun little adventure there for a second and it made for an unforgettable Thanksgiving in the mission field. I can't wait to see what the next one has in store.
I love you all. Thank you for your prayers. They have strengthened me so much. Keep the Faith and may Peace be the Journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Letter 11/27/13

I saw this guy last week with a shirt on that had a stick figure sitting on a toilet while listening to an IPod and at the top of the shirt instead of saying "IPod" it said "IPood." It made me chuckle.
Okay sorry about that but I had to share. This week has been really good. We have had a lot of good successes. Elder D is a good missionary. It's been a little difficult adjusting because he doesn't speak very good English which is hard and he isn't much of a team player so it's been hard getting him to involve me in the planning especially because I don't know the language or the people. I know that will all come though and it will help me learn the language quicker. It is already making great improvement.
We committed 4 people to baptism this week and have date set for December 28 right after Christmas! What a great Christmas present! I am still getting to know them but I love them already. Sister B is in her 50's and was a referral from a ward member. Sister G is 19 and was first contacted awhile ago but has just barely started making progress. The ward has been awesome with fellowshipping her and we have also been able to develop a good relationship. I can understand Tagalog better than I can speak it but it's still hard and so I've gotten really good at pretending I can understanding and then coming up with something to say based off what I did understand. Then the other two are brothers, R and J they are members of a part member family. I am excited to see them all continue to progress.
We focus a lot on less-actives as well and so most of our lessons every day are actually to less actives because there are so many. It's kind of frustrating but it's all part of the work. A lot of them left because they got offended which is hard. That seems to be the story with everyone here. Usually there is another reason it seems as well. Usually they have also lost hope. They have lost the vision and it is our job to help them catch it again. We had 16 less actives at church on Sunday and so we hope we can continue to help them back into full activity.
This week I have loved witnessing how the Lord works. It's been like this my whole mission but I am always happiest when we are out working. It makes sense but it still amazes me. One morning during our studies I was having a super hard time. A depression had hit me that I didn't know if I could handle. I honestly didn't know if I could do it anymore. I thought maybe I needed to leave for awhile and sort things out. I just felt depressed and hopeless. I missed you, I missed Tacloban, I missed my missionaries and my area. I didn't know if I could get through this low that I was in. So I prayed... And I said one the most sincere prayers that I ever have. I was a mess but He listened. He didn't answer immediately but he answered. He answered while we were out working. We were walking to an appointment and I had this calmness come over me. The depression was lifted, and I felt hope. He answered after I had exercised my faith. He answered because I kept going hoping that He would help me. He then continued to answer my prayers as we taught throughout the day. Each lesson the language improved. It improved as I exercised the faith to speak. That day Either 12 was made manifest in so many ways. It is easy to get discouraged sometimes when we see the evil in the world. I can only imagine how Mormon and Moroni felt at the end of the Book of Mormon. But as we Read in Ether 12, we must move forward hoping for a better world. I have indeed felt the Tender Mercies of the Lord this week and each day is a little bit easier. It was such a blessing to be able to go to the temple earlier today and feel of the spirit there.
I love you all. I am so grateful for your prayers and for your love and support. You too are in my prayers and I give thanks for your thoughts and prayers every day. Keep moving forward. Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey!
Love Elder Lowe
Ps. Next week my P-Day will be back to normal on Monday.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A letter from the Mission President

We haven't heard anything from Elder Lowe yet, but his parents wanted to share a letter they got from his new Mission President.  

Dear Brother and Sister Lowe :

Sister Sperry and I are so happy to have your son, Elder Ethan Adams Lowe, with us in the Philippines Quezon City North Mission.  He arrived safely, although somewhat weary. We are so saddened by the terrible tragedy he had to endure. Yet we have all been strengthened by the love and safety that Heavenly Father’s miracle has shown to all the Tacloban missionaries. As well, his strength and faith has been inspiring. We had the opportunity to meet with him and get acquainted.  We were impressed with his testimony about serving the Lord through his mission.

The people here in Quezon City will be blessed by Elder Lowe, as He continues to serve.  His experiences in Tacloban will provide strength and leadership in our mission and we thank you for the privilege of having him here.

He will have the privilege of changing the lives of many people as he teaches and takes them into the waters of baptism.  His life, in turn, will also be changed forever through his experiences here.  The success of his mission can only be determined by how well he has learned to love and serve the people.

We have enclosed a picture taken upon Elder Lowe’s arrival.  Please make an extra special effort to keep in contact with him through letters of encouragement and support. Please encourage your missionary to continue to be obedient to the mission rules. Being obedient to these rules will help ensure the spiritual and physical safety of your missionary. As you know, when missionaries receive letters in the mission field, it is the highlight of their week.

For your information, Elder Lowe’s release date has been set for 02 Jul 2015, to coincide with the mission’s transfer day schedule.  Please be assured that we will do our very best to make this a wonderful and fulfilling experience for him.  Thank you for supporting him in this new assignment.

Sincerely yours,
President Dennis R. Sperry
Philippines Quezon City North Mission



Monday, November 18, 2013

I've got news! New everything...

Dear Family,

Here in the next couple of weeks I will get the entire story written down and send it to you. But wow, It has been a wild couple of weeks filled with more change and emotions then I have ever experienced. My testimony has been strengthened so much. Again, I express my gratitude to you all for your concern and your prayers, Everyone has been felt. I'm not sure where I would be without them. I am so grateful for the Atonement, not only does it cleanse us from sin but it heals us from sorrows. In Hymn no. 30 "Come Come Ye Saints" one line states that "grace shall be as your day." I have felt that grace as I have coped with the events of these past couple weeks. We have a loving Heavenly Father and I know his son; Our savior Jesus Christ has carried me through. As I look back on the last two weeks I only see one set of footprints. He has carried each and everyone of us through this tragedy. I know He is preparing me for a greater purpose. As we face trials we must remember that He is as a "refiners fire and, and like fuller's soap" and that "[He has] chosen [us] in the furnace of affliction." I remember in the days after the storm feeling helpless. I wondered what I, an 18 year old kid, could do with the Gospel in such circumstances. I then began to realize just how great this Gospel is and just how important this work is. Everyone needs this Gospel! The way is narrow but there is room for all who will hearken unto this Gospel in the Kingdom of God. After such tragedy and loss I began to realize what is really important. After all is lost, we still have the Gospel; we still have our testimonies. We have been given so many tools and resources to be able to learn and grow in the Gospel, but it requires faith. We must act. "[We] must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

I never imagined that my second area in the mission would be in a different mission. It's good and it hasn't been as hard as I thought to adapt but I definitely miss Tacloban and my missionaries so much as well as all my investigators and families in Palo. I am so grateful for your prayers but continue to pray for them as well. Elder D. is my new companion. I'm still getting to know him but I like him so far. He's a Filipino and I'll tell you more about him as I get to know him better. Our ward is really good and they were so welcoming. I was asked to bear my testimony on Sunday and I was able to testify to them of being prepared for the storms of life. I shared 3 Nephi 9:13 and encouraged them to turn unto the Lord and be prepared for His coming. I was crying the whole time but the spirit was really strong. The ward is very new but they are doing their best and I am excited to work with them. It's always a challenge getting to know a new area but I am excited to get to work. I know I am where I am supposed to be, and as I get to know other missionaries, I know that all the missionaries from Tacloban were in Tacloban for a reason. The language is already coming as well after just a few days. There are a lot of similar words and so that makes it a little easier. Learning a new language is a lot of fun and It doesn't seem so hard this time since I've done it two other times before. 

I have said it before and I will say it again that the Gift of Tongues is real. The Lord is hastening His work! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Never pass up an opportunity to share the gospel. The gospel is for everyone and everyone wants and needs it, just not everyone knows it yet. I love this work and I love this Gospel. I know I am where I am supposed to be. There is power in a smile and a good Attitude even if you have to fake it at first. 

"Be still my Soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain. 
Be still my soul: they best, they heavenly friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end."

I love you all. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pictures 11/15/2013

received an e-mail from Elder Lowe in response to an e-mail I sent him telling him that my husband and I were praying for him. This was his response, and then I got these pictures.-JaNae 


Dang, That was ridiculous. I can't even describe everything that I saw and experienced but It am so grateful that we are all safe. The Lord protects his missionaries. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. They have been felt and I know that angels have been bearing us up. I love you so much. Thanks for your concern. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey.
Love Elder Lowe



This is how we left our apartment. Maybe it's still there, maybe it's not. Maybe it got looted. We don't really know.


Before the storm outside 



After the storm outside 


The Mission Office 


I'm not sure if this made it all worth it but it was sweet getting to ride in these bad boys.



Ethan has been reassigned to a new mission, his mission is now the Philippines Quezon City North Mission. I will update his mailing address as soon as I get it. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A brief phone call 11/12/2013

Ethan's parents were able to talk to Ethan for a few minutes this morning and this is what they had to say about the conversation:

We visited with Elder Ethan Lowe this morning. He and two other English speaking Elders made contact with a Marine, who is a member of the LDS Church, at the airport in Tacloban and were instrumental in getting all of the missionaries out of Tacloban on an Osprey Aircraft. Ethan and his group of missionaries are at the MTC in Manila where they will receive medical treatment and psychological l counseling while they await reassignment to other missions. Ethan got out of Tacloban with a duffle bag filled with a few personal items. He has come to realize that material items are of no worth when your life is at stake. Ethan and his missionary companions have seen more destruction and death than anyone should have to see in a life time. But if you ask him where he wants to be - back with the Filipino people in Tacloban.





To follow the relief efforts in the Philippines from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints you can visit them at 


Twitter:     http://twitter.com/MormonPinoyNews


Monday, November 11, 2013

A text from Elder Lowe after Typhoon Haiyan

"Hey Family. We are ok. Things are pretty crazy but we are safe and are being moved to Manila in the morning. Love you. No worries."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter 11/04/2013

Family, 

Wow! I can't believe I've already been out for almost four months. We'll see what transfer day brings on November 20. I may get transferred, I may stay but whatever happens I'll let ya know. Most likely I will be transferred though which kind of sucks because I won't be able to be here for all our prospective baptisms but such is missionary work I guess. Sometimes we plant, sometimes we harvest and part of white washing an area is planting. No matter what happens I am excited for the future missionaries in this area whether it be me or not. I am also excited to experience new areas and new companions. So much work, such little time. Adapting to a new country as well as a different lifestyle made two years seem like forever for the first few months but it hit me yesterday during church how fast time is moving. I love it here and I want to take advantage of every moment. The other night I didn't want to stop and eat dinner and Elder S. informed me that we weren't robots. I got a good laugh out of that and let him eat a snack while we walked to our next appointment. He's a really hard worker but sometimes I think he wonders how I go all day without food. I mean I like food and I get hungry it's just eating isn't a priority. I'll eat when it's convenient that's all. We're supposed to take an hour for dinner but I prefer just eating at 9:30 after daily planning. I'm not here to eat food. I'm hear to harvest souls. And the vain part of me really doesn't want to get fat. And we have dinner appointments often anyways with members. 
As for my week. Now that I am better, I will tell you that I got really sick at the beginning of the week. Mostly just Monday and Tuesday. I had some pretty nasty diarrhea and a wicked fever and head ache. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and found out I had an Amaeba. Don't drink the water, yes, yes, I know. I have learned my lesson. I just forgot to ask if the juice at a less actives house was purified. But they gave me some medicine and I am all better now. We were able to recover and meet most of our goals for the week.  
Our progressing investigators are doing well. The L's are doing well but we are having a hard time getting them to come to church. We are having to be patient but it is all worth it. We have a Baptismal interview set for Sister A. on Saturday. Stake conference is next week so the baptism should be the week after. We had a great follow up lesson about the Word of Wisdom. She loves coffee like most of the world and so we talked about the blessings and she is now keeping the word of wisdom. We had FHE at her house on Saturday night for Elder S's birthday and it went so well.  
Elder S.and I have gone on splits twice this week with the ward. It is a great way to teach more lessons than we can just the two of us. I love it but is nerve wracking completely leading. It forces me to have confidence in speaking the language. I am starting to be able to understand which is good but I have to focus really hard and so I get really tired just from using brain power to focus on understanding all day. Everyday it gets a little easier. I am starting to pick up Tagolog as well. I was called Bisdak for the first time today! Which means Visayan Dako which just means you know the language and can speak. 
We didn't have any investigators at church on Sunday but we had a lot of Less actives. The L. family came as well as the C. family for the second time.  I was so excited when I saw them walk in late! I almost fell off the piano bench (I am the unofficial ward pianist... Sometimes I just play the right hand and it's all good. I am also accompanying them for a song they are singing for stake conference) because I was so excited! 
I am so grateful to be here. I love the work with all of its challenges! We should never try to find excuses to get out of church meetings or opportunities to serve. I imagine that many of us, members and gentiles alike will stand before God at judgement day and wish we weren't so busy. There are times when we are honestly and truly busy with life and can't make it to everything and God understands that but above all we must remember who we are fighting for and with that who is fighting against us. In 1 Nephi 14 we read that there are only two churches. If we aren't following God then we are following the Devil. There is no in between. I don't mean to guilt trip anyone but this is just something I will think about when I find myself trying to get out of an assignment.

I love you all. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey. 

Love Elder Lowe 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Letter 10/28/2013

Dearest Family! 

Wow, my heart is so full after reading your emails. It is so good to hear from you and I love to hear about all the blessings your are receiving. So today is election day in the phillipines for their town or barangay leadership. We are usually supposed to continue work on P-day at 6 but apparently things get pretty sketchy and we have been instructed to be in our apartments at 6. I love the people but here are my thoughts on all the election stuff; It's like a prison had a student council election. Needless to say, we are used to a more professional way back in the states. It just makes me chuckle and I am grateful that I am not involved. So don't worry, I will be safe and I will tell you next week if anything exciting happens.

I am so grateful for the gift of tongues. It is real. I am nowhere near perfect and it is still wicked hard to understand what people are saying, but on three separate occasions I was complimented on how well I speak Waray-Waray. One potential investigator even made the comment that it was better than Elder S. because he uses a lot of Tagolog (which everyone speaks but it is good to use the native dialect). Now I am just trying to receive the gift of the interpretation of tongues which is also coming but not quite as fast. Surprisingly this is actually somewhat of an advantage because it requires me to rely on the gift of discernment and be able to say something that is right on whether or not I understood what was just said. But as you can see, there are so many gifts to be received if we just obey Gods commandments.

We have been visiting the C. family a lot lately. They are less active and we are working with them to return to church. They came on Sunday and so that was super exciting. This family has basically nothing, but I love their home made of Bamboo and other humble materials. It feels like a home. It is nice and clean. You can tell a lot about a person by what they do with nothing. With this family like most Less active families, they just lost hope, they lost sight of the vision. With these people, it takes persistence to convince them that they belong, that the atonement is real. 

We were finding earlier this week and we talked to a "professional" (anyone who has a job and have actual houses and cars) and they had talked to the missionaries before and had the Restoration pamphlet. She likes reading and asked for another one and we also gave her a Book of Mormon. She made the comment that "They weren't ready yet" and when she said this my first thought was "Dumb and Dumber" When he says "You mean there's still a chance?!?!?" and that is what it's like to be a missionary...

We found another really good potential investigator this week. We only taught them once but we are excited to continue. It was a mom and her daughter and they were very impressed with us and how we give our life for two years to serve the Lord. She got out this Book about Catholic Saints called "Champions of God" and likened us to it. I had never thought about it but I thought it was a cool idea of what some people may see us as. In reality, as we are obedient and follow the spirit, we are indeed Champions of God. And they were also commenting on how you actually have to do stuff in our Church. The opportunity was perfect or otherwise I wouldn't have said this. I said, "Yeah it's not a 2 times/year Cross on the Wall conversion plan being a member of our church. They Got a good laugh out of the statement mainly because of how True it is.She also made the comment how we do this and get nothing in return. I didn't say this but I just thought to myself, "Are you kidding?! We get everything in return!" There is a part in "Screwtape letters" Where the comment is made that the submitting of self will just gets a way from all the noise and clamour and after we do that he gives everything back. How true that is.

Sister A. is doing well. She wants to be baptized she just needs to pick a date and we're hoping and praying we can do it before transfer day. I will be so heart broken if I am not here for her baptism. We taught her about eternal marriage and so we have the temple in her sights. 

Brother L. has been super busy and so we didn't get to visit him a lot this week, but we have been teaching his mom and she is doing so well. We talked about the spirit and how the Spirit is the perfect teacher. She made the comment that I was perfect evidence of the spirit because of how well I am speaking the Language in just two months. That was cool and we hope she will be able to come to church next week. 

I love you all so much! Keep the faith and may peace be the journey! This Gospel is true. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share it each and every day.

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm fine. . . The earthquake was lame... Letter 10/21/2013

Dearest Family,


Anything you have seen on the internet about the earthquake is in Cebu, not Tacloban. We just felt a little bit. There is no damage here and everything is just great. It was so weird when it happened though. It was like being on a boat kind of. We were wondering why our house was moving and then we looked out side and realized the power lines were moving too so we got out in the open. It only lasted about 20 seconds and was pretty minor. It would have been an awesome service opportunity though! 

Our Investigators are doing great and are progressing but at a pace of their own. I admire Brother L. for doing his research and wanting to know for sure. He has been searching Mormon.org and stuff which is good but I keep telling him and testifying that The Book of Mormon is his best resource which he is also reading. I just hope he doesn't stumble upon any anti-mormon material on the internet. We have prayed and fasted much for him as well as all of our investigators. Sister A. is doing super well. She wants to be baptized but has insisted that she pick her own date so we are waiting to see when that will be.  
We also started teaching Brother L.'s mom this week and she also wants to be baptized so we are excited to continue working with her and then eventually the rest of the family. (Brother L. is about 30 and single, he has 11 other siblings, I'm not sure where he falls but I know he is one of the oldest but not the oldest. His father passed away a few years ago. His mom is living with someone right now but has a strong desire to learn and accept the gospel so we hope we can work that situation out.) 
We have also been teaching the R. family. The Nanay (mom) is a little tough to get through to but her son and Daughter are doing very well and they came to general conference and brought their little brother. Her son is mentally handicapped and he has the most amazing spirit. He works with us sometimes and he loves it when we come and teach them. We were teaching sister A. yesterday and he came over just to listen. 

We had zone conference this week! It was really good and we got a lot of good counsel from President and Sister Andaya as well as the other mission leadership. One missionary was asked to bare his testimony and I was really touched by what he said. It was really simple but he talked about how his testimony has grown that God is real. Its simple but true. Knowing that God is real explains everything we do in the church. Everything we do is for him, for his cause, the cause of Our savior; His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. As I was reading in 3 Nephi 10 this week, my testimony of this concept was also strengthened. I know Christ lives. I know that he died so that we can overcome death and return to the presence of the father. I love the line in "I Believe in Christ" in the fourth verse that says "I believe in Christ, So come what may..." I know that through him all things are possible. I believe in Christ so come what may. "What comfort this sweet sentence gives, I know that my redeemer lives" and through him all things are possible. We have a father in heaven, He sent his son. God is real. I know that to be true. The Mission is tough at times but I believe in Christ so come what may. Life is hard at times but if you believe in Christ, come what may. He will help you through.
Oh, so our apartment south I think, of the chapel about 3 kilometers. You cross the big road and it's a pinkish red building. I don't really know how else to describe it.

Thanks for your love and support. I am so lucky to have such amazing family and friends. Keep on keepin on. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey.

Love
Elder Lowe

        


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Earthquake Update

Dear Family,

We have been instructed to email our families and inform them that we are okay and no damage done. There was indeed a minor earthquake this morning about 8 30 AM (6:30 PM your time). It was the weirdest thing but no worries. All is well.
Love you all
Elder Lowe

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Letter 10/14/2013

Dear Family,

Another week come and gone in the mission field. It isn't with out it's difficulties and discouragements but I am getting into the groove and I am so happy, I'll start at the beginning of my week and then I'll finish off with general conference.
We have been visiting a less-active and his girl friend. The lessons are really good and the spirit is strong but they need fellowship from the ward. They even said to us that they love our company but we won't be here forever. They want to come back but I think they feel ashamed and well I think what Dad said characterizes it perfectly, they don't want to go back and have someone ask what they are doing there. We continue to work with them but sometimes it takes time and patience. Less actives and investigators a like, we have a few who have a desire but don't want to make commitments and it just takes patience and persistence. We are told in the mission to be persistent but not overbearing.
Another less-active we have been visiting who is lacking in faith and in income. We went to visit him and he was taking off part of his roof that was made of tin sheets so that he could sell the scrap metal in order to feed his family. The situation was quite heart breaking. Who needs food stamps right? Its situations like these where we can find comfort in 3 nephi13:30-34. God will provide a way. Great are the mansions above for those who are faithful on earth no matter their circumstances.
Brother L. and Sister A. are doing very well. Thank you for the prayers. We have taught everything and just have a few more commitments to extend from lesson 4. They are so close. Sister A. wants to finish the Book of Mormon before she commits to a date and Brother L. just has a lot of questions which is good but kind of disconcerting at the same time. We taught them about temples this week which was really cool. It's kind of a hard lesson to teach because you have to be careful, but it was really neat and I hope and pray that they both can go to the temple one day. Neither were able to go to General Conference though which was sad but we will continue to work with them this week. 

I loved all of General Conference. The Church stands ever firm in the faith and the brethren are Bold, yet eloquent as ever. Sin will always be sin. The doctrines of this gospel will never change. We are all called to the work. There were so many themes that were present in this conference. I loved how much charity  and love was mentioned. My favorite parts were actually in the music. On Saturday night we taught Brother L. and read Mosiah 2 in relation to conference and he was curious about how the prophet is selected and how we know it is the right decision. I explained as well as I could the process of the brethren meeting and receiving revelation and that he could know if he would attend and pray about the words which were spoken. Unfortunatly he wasn't able to come but if I didn't know Thomas S. Monson was a prophet before that lesson, I know after. I can't describe the experience in words that occured as I testified of Thomas S. Monson but I know he is a Prophet of God more so than I ever before have. And as I watched conference the next day and listened to President Monson speak my testimony was confirmed and I couldn't help but shed a few tears as the Choir sang "We thank thee oh God for a Prophet" following his remarks. I also loved singing Called to Serve in the Afternoon session Sunday. I am so grateful to be a serving in the Lords vineyard as a Missionary. I love all of you and am grateful for your love and support. Continue living life to the fullest and serve at every opportunity.
Keep the faith and may peace be the journey
Love Elder Lowe
2 Nephi 32:3 Feast upon the words of Christ. Then Exercise.  

Oh and My companion told me that sometimes I testify in waray waray in my sleep so that's kind of cool.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"If I Believe the Book of Mormon is true, I can do anything" Letter 10/07/2013

I'll admit! I am super jealous that you got to watch conference before me but I am super excited to watch it next week!! It sounds like it was a solid weekend.
So first of all, These mosquito's are stealthy! I never see them bite me. I just look at my arm and there is a bite! It's the worse. I use bug repellent but sometimes I get bit anyways. Oh well. The work is still moving forward and Cockroaches don't bite. (They can fly though and that was a terrifying moment.) I have personally accepted it as my responsibility to kill each and every cockroach that crosses my path.

So the language is coming really well. I'm getting better everyday. The gift of tongues is real. We have language study everyday but the best language study is really when we're out talking to the people. You see, they don't really study grammar, It just kind of happens. You just have to figure it out by connecting what the books say to how they talk.

This week Hymn #270 "I'll Go Where you Want me to Go" has been in my thoughts. As I serve the Lord as a full time missionary and as you all serve him as Member missionaries I hope that we are all where the Lord wants us to be, saying what he wants us to say, and doing what the Lord wants us to be doing. A marvelous work is taking place. The World continues to wax strong in iniquity but the Gospel also continues to wax strong in righteousness as the work is hastened.

We had FHE with a Less Active family this week. When the little Children sang "I am A child of God" The spirit was so strong. My testimony was strengthened of our divine identity as Gods Children.

As for Brother L, He is doing so well. He just gets it. Everything makes sense to him. We taught him the Word of Wisdom this week. He was willing to give up everything but he said that Coffee would be tough but that he would try. He then proceeded to say something that I will quote for the rest of my life. He has developed a testimony of the Book of Mormon and he said that if he believed the Book of Mormon was true he could do just about everything and he then proceeded to say that coffee was a pretty small price to pay for salvation. If everything continues to go smoothly we are planning on having a baptism for him on November 2. Thanks so much for your prayers for him.

Sister A. is also doing super well. She is progressing about at the same rate as Brother L. It's interesting that she refused the missionaries previously in this area but has progressed smoothly with us and now wants to be baptized. She told us this week that she just had a feeling she should be baptized. As we have strived to be obedient we have witnessed miracle such as this one. As we are obedient, the spirit is able to teach through us. We are also planning on a baptism for her on November 2 which is also Elder S. birthday.

As I have witnessed with Brother L. and Sister A., once they realize the Book of Mormon is true, everything else is easy to teach.

On Sunday we taught primary. Teaching primary in English is hard, Waray waray on the other hand is much harder. Wow. I needed a nap afterwards. It was a really good experience And I enjoyed the practice.

I love you all and Love hearing from you, Keep the faith, and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe
Alma 5:16 "picture this"


The next two were taken at The Santo Nino shrine in Tacloban. Way cool place. look it up.

 ....


Sweet piano. Don't worry I wasn't really playing...



We had FHE with a LA family this week and this little girl and I became great friends. She started calling me her big brother and it pretty much made my week. Don't worry it's pineapple juice (non-alcoholic) ;)








A note from JaNae: Due to Privacy and Church Policies I am unable to post pictures and names on public blogs without written permission from the people. That's the reason for abbreviated names as well as cropped photos. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

What can you fit on your motorcycle? Letter 09/29/2013

Dear family!

Wow! I have been here for one month already! The language is coming but I still have a long ways to go. It is super hard to understand what other people are saying. All of our investigators are doing well. we have about 10. 3 of which are progressing. Brother L. is doing super well and he wants to be baptized but wants to be completely sure before he commits and that's the same case with our other investigator sister A.

So usually when you transport a couch you would use a truck right? But hey, a motorcycle works too. I wish I would have gotten a picture but the other day I saw someone riding their motor cycle with a full on couch balanced on the back. Here they take the max capacity for a motor vehicle and than multiply it by like 10. The jeepney's probably have a max capacity of about 25 but once they pack that thing full with people on top and what not I bet you there's about 60 people. It's quite the experience. ( and safer than you'd think).

We are instructed to teach fifty percent investigators and then fifty percent less actives Dad, you are spot on. A lot of times they just lack hope. It is an amazing experience seeing people return to church and remember the spirit that they once felt. No matter what your excuse is, if you have faith you will find a way to make it to church. We are currently teaching a family (a couple) that want to return but feel like they can't because of transgressions they have committed. It's heartbreaking but they are making progress. It's hard finding the right balance between having compassion but then being straight forward enough that they still know what they did is serious.All I have to say is that I love the Atonement and it is for everyone. It is so important that we fellowship! Everyone needs to feel welcome. Fellowship gives hope and then so the miracle begins that Elder Lund talked about.

General Conference: We don't watch it till the 12th due to time difference and poor reception. It gets sent via dvd and we watch it a week later. So let me know how it goes. And send me the conference Ensign when it comes if ya would.
Thanks for everything, I love ya! Keep the faith, Always be grateful for everything you have been given, Always do everything to strengthen the less active, The gospel blesses families I know that to be true. I bear testimony of it everyday and have all of you as proof to back it up and I thank you for that! I would defend each and everyone of you "even unto bloodshed" (Alma43:47)
Love Elder Lowe



 Service Project roofing a house Filipino Style


We are sword fighting and yes I am using my umbrella.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Letter 09/22/2013

Family!

Wow, Where do I even start? It has been another solid week in the mission field. It's crazy to think that I've been here for a month already. I'll admit, for the first couple weeks I was convinced that time had slowed down but now it seems just like yesterday that I was stepping off of the plane into Manila. The adage is true that the days feel like weeks but the weeks feel like days. I feel so young. Everybody here is always surprised to hear that I am only 18. It's weird that my comp is 24. That's as old as Rob and Austin. I can't help but realize that these short two years are shaping everything I do for the next 80 years. 

So just a small story first about getting my haircut. It wasn't that exciting but I want to tell you about it anyways. They are like a machine with scissors. It seriously reminded me of Edward Scissor Hands (if you've ever seen that movie). It looks alright though. Oh and if you watch Star Wars V or the one with the Ewoks (the short fury jungle animals) you'll notice that they talk. Well the language they speak is Tagolog. It makes sense because if you look at a picture of a Filipino (some more than others) they look like Ewoks without fur. That was one of the best realizations of my week. (I already knew they spoke Tagolog from something I heard in the MTC).

We continue to teach brother L. We did a service project for him on Tuesday where we cleared his back yard of 6 foot tall thick grass and weeds with machetes. It was way fun. I love service projects. They are a nice change from finding and teaching. They don't really have a concept of work clothes. Him and some members we brought as well as my comp were just wearing shorts and flip flops and that's just how they do things I guess. Me on the other hand had my black keans on with my khaki Columbia pants. Brother L. questioned my clothes and jokingly informed me that that wasn't how they do it here. I laughed and told him that I would make it work (Of course I would make it work! Why the heck would I do yard work the nature of which we were doing with out pants and closed toed shoes?!? That's what I was thinking) So, we start working and surely enough Elder S. Gets bit by an something on his foot and so I took the opportunity to inform everyone that that was why I wore pants and shoes and Brother L. said that only an American would have that kind of foresight. (I just kept working with the look on my face that Dad gets when someone realizes that he is right). 

We were able to take Brother L. and another Investigator to a baptism this week and that was super neat and the Spirit was so strong. We have invited Brother L. to be baptized but he doesn't want to commit until he is completely sure so we will continue to work with him but I am pretty sure he will.

We had a training on Wednesday and Sister A. talked about handling stress and being resilient but later that night I figured out that there is one way to handle stress that trumps all! Top Load... This is wear instead of riding in the Jeepney, you ride on top of the Jeepney, and yes, It was the best thing of my life. And as far as you are concerned, it's not dangerous. 

Okay just one more experience, I wish I could tell you everything but I don't have time. So, every Sunday we have Missionary Coordination meeting with all the Ward missionaries and then this Sunday we had ward Council and had the opportunity to train them. We talked about ward involvement with Recent Converts and Less Actives. I talked about the War chapters in Alma and How each family adds to the strength of the fortress. And How It is all of our responsibility to labor and build up the fortress of the Palo Ward. Alma 48:7-8 and 12. We also talked about being united in purpose. I came up with a sweet analogy about how the members create the dam that keeps the pool of recent converts and not as strong members active. It's hard to explain but it was really cool and the bishop loves me for it. 

I love you all and Pray for you always. Thanks for your love and support and your prayers. They are felt. I couldn't do this with out you. Keep the faith, and peace be the journey. Never pass up opportunity to live up this adventure we are on called life. Let there never be a dull moment.
Love Elder Lowe!
Matthew 6 By their works ye shall know them.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Letter 09/16/2013

Dear Family,
Every week gets better. I am really getting into the swing of it and I am so happy where i am at. Of course I miss you all so much but I am in the right place doing the right thing at the right time. And think about how much greater our adventures afterwards will be because of what I am doing now. Anyways, Missionary work is a grind but I'm loving it. I wish I could tell you everything that happens in a week but I just don't have enough time so I will just tell you the best stories from my week.


 I am learning to work with the members. I really like them, and enjoy being with them and working with them, it's just if I had to choose a team responsible for saving the world or doing something else that is really important I wouldn't choose them. I can't wait till I can speak the language well enough to really connect with people(everyone speaks Tagolog pretty much because it's the national language but there's something about being able to speak the native dialect). Everyone, especially in the ward speaks some english (some better than others) but they shouldn't have to for me. 


One of the hardest things to get used to has been people flaking on appointments and not keeping commitments. The hard part about his area is it is a devout Catholic center and there is a big cathedral in the middle. I know they will feel the spirit if they will keep the commitments but they have to act and teaching them in a way that will inspire them to want to feel the spirit is tough. I'm learning to love the answer "no." I'd rather someone say "no" and then keep working with them then have someone say "yes" and not follow through. 


I have two stories, one about a less active and the other is one of those stories that every missionary dreams of having. It is seriously like a story you would read in chapter 9 of preach my gospel.

So the less active. If any of us were under the perception that this was a high baptizing mission, kind of. It used to be at least but the people weren't becoming converted I guess and so now there are tons of less actives. The ward membership is about 400 and average sacrament meeting attendance is 140. So as missionaries we are supposed to spend half our time teaching investigators and the other half teaching less actives.
Sorry for the tangent but our less active hasn't been to church for 15 years, we started visiting him two weeks ago and he has started coming back. The ward members asked us how we did it. We didn't. The spirit is so strong when we visit him. I think his heart was just a little hard and he needed to know someone cared and be reassured of the power of faith. He has trouble seeing and so he can't really read the Book of Mormon. We have had some really good lessons about faith and revelation. Our last visit we talked about the parable of the lost sheep. When ever we are lost, the Lord will go out of his way to rescue us. It was then I realized why the picture of Christ holding the sheep on the cover of the "Restoration" pamphlet was so significant. 

The next story is about Brother L. While we were finding Saturday, we were walking down the street talking to people when both of us stopped for no reason really and to our right in a little ways was this house. My companion and I looked at each other and we both knew we needed to go to that house. So we go and at this house was Brother L. You know how when we pray for the missionaries, we pray that they may be led to those who have been searching for the gospel? This was the answer to both Brother L.'s prayers and our prayers. We taught him the restoration and he tells us about how he was inches away from going atheist a couple months ago, because he was going through some rough times  but he prayed and asked God if he was there and if he was to help him. To send him the truth. So here we are a couple months later and he acknowledged us as an answer to that prayer. When we talked about Joseph Smith being an honest seeker of truth he said he felt like he also was an honest seeker of truth. And then he proceeded to tell us that this was so weird. He wants to get baptized if he feels that it's true and he wants us to teach his family also. This was the highlight of my week. The Lord indeed answers our prayers to be led to those who have been searching for truth. My description doesn't do justice to how amazing this experience was.



I love you all. Thanks your support. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey.

Uban ha Gugma
Elder Lowe




We ate crab and it only cost like five bucks USD.



At the airport