Monday, March 31, 2014

Letter 03/31/2014

My dearest Family,

I love hearing from you all. It has been a crazy week here in the mission. These past six weeks have been some of the best six weeks of the mission. We got some good things started and witnessed many miracles in this area. This week started out quite normal. P-day on Monday, District meeting on TuesdayOn Wednesday, while we were doing language study, we got a call from our zone leader. I answered the phone and he informed me that he was calling about transfer announcements. Due to the recent reopening of the mission, we didn't expect that there would be many transfers. He proceeded to tell me that my companion would be transferring and that I would be training a new missionary. As he told me these things my face just went blank as I replied, "okay... ah. okay. okay. I'll let him know. Thanks. bye." After I hung up I couldn't say anything. My companion came over and put his arm around me and then when I finally came to, I told him the news. He took it a lot better than I did. He told me he was super excited that I would be training. Because of the way I reacted he thought something had happened to my family or something. I was so nervous and scared and well, not ready to train. I have only been in a Cebuano area for six weeks and now I will be on my own with the language. Now with all that said, I know that my mission president is called of God and that this will be a good experience for me. God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies those who are called and I know he will do the same thing for me. 

In that same day my companion packed up his things, we went and said good bye to a family and then we went to Sogod to spend the night so that we could get a van early in the morning with the other missionaries in the zone that were transferring. We left at about 3:30 AM Thursday morning and traveled up to the transfer point in Tacloban. There is still a lot of damage but things are moving in Tacloban. The people continue to press on through life. 

Whenever a new batch of missionaries come into the mission they are taken to McAurthor park to meet their trainer. It was weird being back, the scenery is a lot different now. As part of the program, the mission presidents wife read an article about MacAurthor and how he returned. Then she talks about how Jesus Christ will return. This time it was cool being there though because... We returned as well. The work of the Lord continues to move forward in this part of the Lord's vineyard in preparation for the Second coming or Return of Jesus Christ. A miracle happened as each of us stepped of the plane, back into this mission. 

My new Companion is from the Philippines. He speaks Tagolog and Ilocano. 0 Cebuano. I can understand tagolog a little still but It's really hard to speak it now because I have switched to Cebuano. He doesn't speak much English either. I am going to learn and grow so much from training him. I am striving to love and serve him and help him become an obedient missionary. He doesn't like me very much yet but he'll come around.

On Saturday, our investigator who has been waiting to be baptized since before the Typhoon was baptized at last along with two others in the other Elders' area. It was really neat. I had the opportunity to confirm her as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints the next day. It was incredible. Hopefully her mother and her grandparents will enter the waters of baptism soon as well. Her grandpa is progressing super well and attributed his success fishing to his listening to the Elders. He told another brother that the reason he caught so many fish was because he listened to us. I am excited to see them progress. They have a date to be baptized on the 19 of April

I love you all so much. I am so grateful for your love and support. Keep moving forward. Keep the Faith and may peace be the journey. Never pass up an opportunity to preach the Gospel. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ.

Love Elder Lowe

3 Nephi 5:13

Monday, March 24, 2014

When The Savior Comes To Visit Letter 03/23/2014

Akong Mahigumang Pamilya:

Napasalamaton ako para sa inyong mga ampo ug mga huna-huna! Ganahan ako nagbasa sa imong mga emails. Malipayon ako nga mga butang didto sa USA ang nindot. 

It has been another excellent week here in Southern Leyte. It rained a lot. There were a few days that I came home soaking wet. But being wet really doesn't bother me anymore. As long as my scriptures stay dry, I'm good. My white handbook has gotten completely soaked so many times. It's still functional though. I dropped it in the dagat (ocean) the other day on accident while we were crossing a river (I think I sent a picture last week). 

We have continued to work with the B. family. They are amazing. Brother B. might be leaving for a few months for work and he told us that he was going to miss us. He's been in prison several times but you would never know it. This Gospel has changed his life so much. I am so happy they are returning back to activity. They told us this past week that when ever we come visit it's like the Savior is visiting. I felt a little unworthy of the compliment but I'm grateful for the spirit that is present in our visits. One of their daughter's is nine but wasn't baptized and so now she needs to be taught by the missionaries before she is baptized. We taught a simple yet powerful lesson on prayer. I learned so much about prayer as the spirit taught the lesson. It is amazing how the most simple lessons can have such a strong spirit. Afterwards, we were talking about how simply we taught and asked why don't we teach like that all the time? 

Brother E. is doing well. His parents won't let him come to Church but hopefully he will be able to come next month when we are in Sogod and he also wants to come to General Conference. Like I've said before, he has so many questions and does a lot of research but this week when we taught him, he didn't seem to have as many questions. He seems to be starting to understand or rather accept the Gospel. We hope he can now continue to accept these things and become converted. 

We had Zone Training meeting this past Tuesday. I love this zone right now. Our zone leaders are really good and after everything that has happened we are all really close with each other. The spirit was incredible. At one point of the training we were talking about Mosiah 3:19. It says to PUT OFF the natural man and then it says to BECOME a saint through the Atonement. The first part makes reference to the cleansing power of the atonement. The Atonement allows us to put off the Natural man by allowing us to be cleansed from sin through Repentance. The Second part refers to the Enabling power of the Atonement. The Atonement enables us to become a saint. One elder made a comment that I really liked. He is a convert and you could say he had a rough upbringing. He said that it's much easier to go from bad to good then it is to go from good to better. To go from bad to good requires that we repent and stop doing bad things and start doing good things. But going from good to better is harder because we have to sometimes give up seemingly "Good" things for better things. Many General Authorities have said similar things but it was really neat when the elder said it considering his past. He is an amazing missionary to say the least. 

I love you all! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. You are always in mine! 

Keep the faith and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Nindot view- I took this picture just before being spotted by the children and then getting chased. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Just have faith letter 03/17/2014

Dear Family,

I am short on time so I'll keep this one short.

It has been an amazing week here in Libagon. We had Seven Investigators at Church on Sunday and they all had a great experience. We should be having a few baptisms here in April and we have one scheduled for March 29

This one family we had been teaching, well they have this daughter who is nine and hasn't been baptized and so she is one of our investigators. We passed her on the street the other day and so we asked what she had been up to that day and she informed us that she was reading The Book of Mormon. It was the cutest thing. She is the most Christ-like little girl I have ever met. Even in church on Sunday she was listening so attentively to the speakers. She is a sweet heart.

Brother E. is doing well but he needs faith. He wants evidence. We have taught about faith quite a bit. He has a lot of doubts and he does a lot of research. He is still receptive and wants to know for sure that this is true. However, I think he has asked us about every big Anti Mormon doctrine there is. If you have a question about any of them let me know and I have probably studied a scripture which resolves it. We don't always answer his questions but we do study them. Pray for him to be able to change. It must be a huge sacrifice converting from a religion you have been devoted to your whole life.

We continue to teach the T. family and friends (the group of about 30). Some are progressing, some are just there. We want to separate them but people just gather and so it's hard. We almost had five of them at church but something came up and so they are coming next week instead. On our way from one of our visits with them all the kids were holding on either of my arms and all in all I think there were about 12 on each side. They almost tore me in half. I'm not joking. We ran away again, but they were more persistent in chasing us this time. We walk a lot but my running endurance has dwindled quite a bit. We only ran like 400 meters but my legs were sore the next day. 

I love this work. The Lord is helping us so much. I know this Church is true. I know this is Christ's Church. I love you all. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Hebrews 8:16-18

Monday, March 10, 2014

Under The Covers Letter 3/10/2014

Ang Akong Hinigumang Pamilya!

Maayo Kaayo and among kinabuhi dinhi sa Libagon. We have had an amazing week and have seen so many tender mercies from the Lord. There were a few disappointments as well but I know that's part of the work. I love this place. I can't get over how beautiful the scenery is. Life is just better in the province where we get to proselyte through the mountains and trees as well as on the beach and ride on top of jeepneys and what not. Oh, and freshly caught fish is 40 pesos per kilo. That's like 85 Cents to the kilo. 

We had branch conference this week so we attended Church in Sogod. Sogod is kind of far and it is hard for our members and especially our investigators to come, but we still had 6 investigators at church. They all seemed to have a really good experience. One of our new investigator came even though she said she probably wouldn't be able to! We invited her to be baptized last week and she accepted. 

Our other investigator is doing well. He reads the Book of Mormon a lot and he has so many good questions. However, his family is devout catholic and they wouldn't let him come to church or let us teach him. When we followed up on his Book of Mormon reading he told us that he told his mom that he was studying for a test but he was really reading the Book of Mormon under the covers with a flash light like a little kid. He's 21. He is very involved in the Catholic religion and he asked about baptism and how we are different. We gave him Moroni 8 to read. When we followed up he said he was having some doubts. I'm not sure if they were about his own beliefs or about the Book of Mormon but he says that he believes the Book of Mormon is true and that it is from God. He needs to pray about it though. He is having a hard time understanding that This is the only True church even though other religions have many good things and bits of truth. We know that he recognizes the spirit because he said that he feels a difference when we teach. We are just praying to know how to best help his family soften their hearts. 

We have been teaching a Less Active family that is now returning. They are one of my favorite families to teach. The brother has been to Prison like 5 times but he's so nice and their family is amazing. They have even given us a few referrals. Remember when we taught all those people and ran from the children? That was their referral. He has made the comment that whenever people talk about the Gospel and Salvation, his soul seems to soar. He loves it. His wife made the comment last night that whenever we come and teach, all of their problems seem to disappear. Mind you, they are very poor and they live in a very small house made of bamboo and tin. It is the coolest place ever though because it's on the beach. 

I read Joseph Smith-- History Yesterday. I love his story and it strengthens my testimony everytime I read it. After reading verse 6 about how the pastors would just pretend to like people so they would join there religion but then would have contempt towards them once they joined another sect, I had the thought that we need to love all men regardless of where their beliefs take them. If an investigator stops investigating, we shouldn't stop fellowshipping. We have been commanded to love all men and that is regardless of their beliefs or conversion.

I love you all so much and I look forward to hearing from you each week. The work continues to progress and there is more to tell you then I have time to fit in and so I apoligize for that but I promise I am writing in my journal diligently and will have time to tell you all of these things soon enough. Keep moving forward in this Gospel. Continue faithful in the Work of Salvation. Keep the Faith and May peace be the journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, March 3, 2014

Subject: Oi! Whats That?!? Letter 03/03/14

Dearest Family,
It has been another great week here in Libagon! We have found a couple new investigators that have a lot of potential to progress and we are so excited for them. Sister A. was given a Book of Mormon before the storm and then she ended up in Tacloban for the storm but anyways she read the Book of Mormon the night before Typhoon Yolanda and she found strength in it and so she has read it everyday since. So we taught her once and she was super receptive. It was neat sharing my experience with her about the typhoon. There is so much power in the Book of Mormon. The other one was Brother E. He works in the Libagon Assessors office and is super smart. He has done a lot of research about religion on line and so he wanted to hear it from us before he believed it from the internet. He has a lot of really good questions and claims that he just wants to listen and "observe" but we hope we can help him feel the influence of the spirit and progress. He would be an amazing leader in the church and more importantly the Gospel could bless his life so much. We were teaching him about the Restoration and we taught about Joseph Smith and how this is the Only True Church and so he said, "So you're claiming that this is the only True Church." We replied "yes." He paused for a moment and then we asked, "Do you trust your Father in Heaven?" And he then looked up and said "Okay, He is who I will take this quesiton too" (we had already taught about praying to know as well). It was a really neat lesson and I can't wait to follow up with him.
We went on exchanges this week with the Zone Leaders and so I stayed in Libagon with Elder M. and Elder O. went to Sogod with Elder S. It went really well and I learned a lot. Elder M. and I taught a returning member family and it's amazing how strong they are already. They even gave us a referral and they came with us to contact the referral after our lesson. So we went over to the referral and it was a family and there were a ton of people including kids. So I just started introducing the Plan of Salvation because I had run out of Restoration Pamphlets and it was so cool. Then Elder M. just distracted the kids while I wrote down names. When we were ready to leave we knew there was no way that we could get rid of the kids unless we ran. So Elder M. gathered all the kids together and said we were going to do a magic trick and so he pointed behind them and said "Oi! What's that?!? and they looked and we ran. (Don't worry, everyone thought it was hilarious.) This was on Thursday and Elder O. and I went back to teach them on Saturday. We preached to about fifty people. It was insane. Now it is our goal just to go back and teach those who are interested in our message with their families. 
Anyways. The work here is going so well. We have so many people to teach right now and so it's just a matter of helping them progress and truly convert. Miracles happen every day and I have noticed that this week. We are so blessed to be members of this Church. Never forget your potential. We are heirs of God. Joint heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:16-18 I love verse 18; the trials we face now don't even compare with the blessings that await. 
I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your love and support. Keep the Faith and may peace be the journey.
Love Elder Lowe