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

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

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