Monday, August 25, 2014

Letter 8/25/2014

My dearest family!

It was a very good week. We had a really good Zone Conference and we are super excited for our baptisms that are coming up on the 6th of September with B., L., and M. They are all doing well and we feel they are ready. A lot of our focus this week will be making sure they are ready for their interviews on Saturday. LIbagon has been a good area with a lot of Challenges that have helped us grow. But after 7 months of labor and miracles comes the fruit. President Maurer met with the Sogod District Pres. this past week and one item was about making Libagon a Branch and so we should see that happening soon. 

When I first met M., I never expected him to progress like he has. We visited him with Brother L. last night and even Bro. L. mentioned to us that he is surprised that Brother M. will be baptized but that he feels like he is ready. The big challenges with M. have been Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom but he is repenting and it has been miraculous watching his conversion. Last night, because we had Bro. L. with us, we discussed with Him and his "live-in," Sister M. (she is a member...) about the possibility of marriage and so that's the direction it is headed. We are excited for them and we feel good about it. We are planning to teach about the temple later tonight in more detail so that the temple will be in their sights. 

We had our first Zone conference with the Maurer's this past friday. It was really good. I am excited about the direction that President Maurer is taking the mission. Serving a mission has such a significant effect. It's not only effecting us here and now with us and our investigators but also our children and our children's children. I am grateful to have parents that are both RM's. One goal of the brethren that was mentioned in the mission presidents seminar is Creating Successive Generations of Righteousness. So with that being said we then talked about Sacrifice and Consecration. Sacrifice is but a lesser law that leads to consecration. The Assistants gave a training about the Book of Mormon and how we as missionaries need to continue to pray to know and to Ask Heavenly Father in prayer specifically about the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true and each time I pray about it my testimony is reaffirmed. It truly is the word of God!

I would love to tell you more but I am out of time. I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week. Don't pass up an opportunity to share the gospel. Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm a nigga letter 08/18/2014

So, Libagon has 2 areas and Elder N. who is assigned to the other side is Shri Lankan and has dark skin. Well the filipino's don't know the difference between him and an african-american and so it's not uncommon to hear people say on the street, "hey N*gger!" They don't know what it means, they just hear it on TV. When he first got to this area I was the only American in our castle and so it was really funny to hear them talk about it. I explained to them that unless they want to get stabbed, they should never say that if they ever visit America. So now a few months later, I was talking to the L's daughter yesterday and she says, "I'm a nigga!" It was really just so unexpected and with her accent I just busted up laughing.

This week was amazing! The highlight of course being the baptism of Sister M. I arrived here in February and that's when we started teaching her. Now, finally 7 months later she has entered the straight and narrow path. It was a truly rewarding experience. The baptism was performed in the ocean and as you saw in the pictures the sun was setting. It was so beautiful. I'm not sure I ever want to hold a baptismal service at a Chapel ever again. M. told me when she arrived the day of her baptism that she was just happy and didn't know why. I just told her that it was the spirit testifying to her that she chose the right. Her situation is really quite difficult but she knows that this Church is true and she is at peace. I know everything will work out. 

Assuming all goes as planned, we will have a similar experience with B. and L. on the 6th of September. We also started teaching them when I got to this area and now they are ready. I love them so much. They may just as well be my grandparents. Whenever I see L. and shake her hand she always takes my hand in both of hers and just holds on. B. can teach us all of the lessons I'm pretty sure. He is super smart and I think he will be the future Stake President of Libagon Stake. 

The work is really moving consistently now here. I've been here for so long yet not long at all it seems. I walk the same streets everyday, and see the same people doing the same things they were doing the day before. Yet, every day has a new adventure in store, a new face to talk to, another soul to save, and I love it. I feel at home. It's going to be weird if I ever transfer from this place. 

I came across Enos 1:4 this past week. Do our souls hunger after righteousness and for forgiveness from sin? I truly love the scriptures and hunger after them. I am starting to understanding them more and more every day which has helped me understand why Nephi tells us to "feast" upon them. They truly do tell us all things that we should do. 

I love you all. I love hearing from you and all your adventures. Sorry to hear about Robin Williams but hopefully he will now accept the gospel in the Spirit World.
Keep the faith and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, August 11, 2014

6 and a half months later letter 08/11/2014

Dearest Family,

I taught primary yesterday at Church. It was one hour out of my day, yet I am sure that it was the reason for my quickness to sleep last night. I truly do love the kids though. I am coming to understand why Christ said to become as little children. 

It has been another successful week here in Libagon. We are looking forward to Sister M's Baptism this coming Saturday. I have been teaching her since just after arriving here in Libagon and now here 6 and a half months later she will be entering the waters of baptism. It hasn't been with out challenges, but they have been challenges that have made her stronger. She is ready to take this step. I am so happy for her. 

I also look forward to the Baptisms of B. and L. at the end of the transfer. They are so funny. B. can teach us the lessons I'm pretty sure. He really likes to talk and so it is a task in and of itself just controlling the lesson. He has a Gospel Principles book and while we were teaching him one day he just started reading randomly from his book. We were doing our best to relate everything to the Lesson until finally we were explaining a principle and he started reading from the Law of Chastity. It was really one of those funny yet frustrating moments. We have since asked him to put away his Gospel Principles book while we teach or give him specific assignments from it. He will be a great teacher and leader in the Church. 

This has been a challenging area but it is so rewarding to see these Children of our Heavenly Father make the final steps towards baptism. It's not us converting them but God converting us, investigators and missionaries in common. I always know when the Spirit is present when I learn something or come to a deeper understanding of a principle while we are teaching. This truly is a Marvelous work. 

I love you all. I will be sending my memory card home with this next batch going home. So you can expect that in the next month.

Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, August 4, 2014

Letter to Venturing Crew 1532 for Kodiak 2014

This letter was written to the Venturing Crew Ethan was a part of before his mission. His adviser asked him and a few of the other crew members, which are also on a missions to write a letter to the crew for the Kodiak course they went on.

Dear Crew Members,

I hope you are all having a blast on your Kodiak Course. If you haven't yet, make fun of B. Lowe about his Halo and then tell him he's a champion because he can probably do more with a broken neck than any of us could. I look forward to joining you next year. You are not wasting your time. I have thought a lot about what I would like to say to you but as it comes down to writing I am relying on the spirit and hope that what I write may be of benefit to each of you as you prepare to serve the Lord in the Mission Field in the coming months and ultimately for the rest of your lives as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Miracles have not ceased here in the mission nor there at home. Miracles happen every day. One of the things that our new Mission President has said that has impressed me is that if we look for miracles they will happen. Reflection is a powerful practice with which each of you is familiar. On my mission I have not always followed the pattern of "Thorns, Roses and Buds" but the practice of reflection happens daily. At the end of each lesson, and at the end of each day, week, and month we reflect. What went well? What could have gone better? And then we see miracles. When we reflect we are made aware of the Lords hand in everything we do.

Maybe in your activities this week or surely during an activity in the past you have been forced to step outside of your comfort zone. And at other times you have had to help others step outside of theirs. This is one of the most valuable principles that come to my mind as I reflect upon my experiences in Venturing. By explanation of the saying, stepping outside of our comfort zone entails being "un-comfortable." This is okay. I have in the past said that venturing helped me "get comfortable outside my comfort zone," but as I have thought further I have come to the conclusion that "I learned what to do and how to cope until my comfort zone expanded." Don't worry about being "comfortable." Just learn what to do and how to cope while you are "uncomfortable." As you serve in the Mission Field and in various church callings, the Lord will stretch you and he will put you in situations that will force you to step outside your comfort zone all for the purpose of helping you become like Jesus Christ and return back to his presence. For most of my mission, I have been uncomfortable, I have at times wanted to serve some where where they speak my language, and know my culture. In these times I just put my self at the top of a cliff knowing that if I just follow the rope, I'll reach the bottom. In turn I have been able to help investigators take the first step towards salvation and watch them learn that if they will just follow the rope, they will make it to the bottom. If we will follow the Gospel, we will make it back to the Presence of Heavenly Father. Now, I don't think that Jesus was comfortable in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the way to Golgotha but he knew what to do, and what was required to finish the job. As we strive to follow his example, we become instruments in his hands in meeting the needs of our Father in Heaven's Children.

I don't remember everything I ever did or learned in Venturing but I do remember that it played a role in preparing me for the mission. Or in other words preparing me to be prepared for life. Or even further, preparing me for preparing others for Salvation. I don't remember everything ever said around a campfire but I do remember the spirit I felt and how it strengthened my testimony. Every skill I acquired in venturing has become a weakness before it became strength. I have seen the evidence of Ether 12:27. I know that if we will press forward and be humble, the Lord truly does make weak things become strong. He is doing so with me, and he will do the same with you. 

Keep cheering each other on. When life seems hard stop thinking about yourself and turn out towards others. Remember that the most effective team is the Family. Build your Vision on the values of the Gospel. There is more to Communication than language, trust me. The most important language to learn is the Language of the Spirit. You make Decisions every day. Remember: Think, Listen to the Spirit, and then think again. You may never like planning but... keep practicing, I promise you will get better at it. 

In closing, Begin with the End in mind. Set goals and make plans to become what your Heavenly Father wants you to be. Before everything you do, think of what you want to become because of that thing. Each day, week, and month I set goals and make plans for what I want to accomplish and how I am going to become what my heavenly Father would have me become by the end of my mission. From the wisdom of B. Lowe "Perfection isn't so much an accomplishment as it is a process." My friends, find joy in the journey. (Ha, He thought I never listened to anything he said..) I love you all and leave you my testimony that this Church is true. It was restored through a true Prophet, Joseph Smith and that the Gospel changes lives. It will Change yours. Nagbilin ko niining tanan sa ngalan ni JesuCristo. Amen. (I leave this all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.) 

Love your brother, 
 Elder Ethan Lowe

We Really Live in a Castle Letter 8/4/2014

Wow. What a week.

It was transfer week this past week. I'll be here in Libagon for one more transfer. I've been here a while but I'm happy to be here for this transfer. Libagon is growing. Slowly but surely. Here's the best news... Elder S is my new Zone Leader!!! This means exchanges with T!! It's cool because Elder S is my trainer and I'm currently training Elder D. We've got the whole family Grandpa, Dad, and son. And then it's the same with the other Zone Leader Elder C as well. His kid is in our zone and is training as well. 

We had some what of a surprise this past weekend. We have been holding activities each Saturday as a way to strengthen the members and as an opportunity for them to bring their friends and introduce them to the Gospel. President Maurer and his wife came by and participated and came to church the next day. We were honored that out of the entire mission he was impressed to visit our small group in So. Leyte. I hope that this might lead to becoming a branch here in the near future. He visited our Castle afterwards. We told him that we lived in a castle but when he actually saw it he said "When you said it was a castle I thought you just meant it was really big but this... This is actually a castle!!" It was funny seeing his reaction. He then saw to it that we would get two more electric fans this week because of how hot it is. 

The previous night The group read together with President Maurer from 2 Nephi 31. He said something about enduring to the end that was very simple but I liked it a lot. He said that it's easy to say 'endure to the end' but it means forever. When we endure to the end we make the basic principles of the Gospel a pattern of life rather than a one-time "initiation" or "right of passage" if you will. When we endure to the end we don't just go through the motions but we truly live the gospel and make it part of our lives.

We have been focusing a lot on Brother M. He is sticking to the Word of Wisdom like a champ. To be honest he was kind of a punk before but he is progressing so well as he learns of this glorious Gospel. We taught him about tithing last night and when we committed him to pay it after baptism he commented that he had already started. I am proud of him. He is doing so well. Please continue to pray for him. He is planning to be baptized on the 30th of August

Sister M is planning on being baptized on the 16 of August! She really opened up to us this passed week. Members of her family might disown her if she is baptized but she knows the right thing to do. Her situation really does break my heart and it has been a humbling experience teaching her and helping her understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have been praying and fasting that her family might soften their hearts. 

Oh and B and L came to Church this week and so we were happy about that. We stopped by their house before church to get them and they had already left for Church. We are planning on holding a baptism for them at the beginning of September. They have been taught everything for the most part and so if they will come to Church Consistently they will be ready. We are excited for them. It has taken a bit of patience but conversion truly does take time and the process isn't finished at Baptism either. 

I love the work. It's hard but worth it. I love you all and love hearing from you. Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe