Monday, September 29, 2014

Halo-Halo Blog Letter 9/29/2014

Dearest Family,
Where did the week go? Time is moving so quickly. It's taken a little bit of patience adjusting back to Waray-waray but I think it's coming. Sometimes I wish I only had to focus on one language. There were a few lessons this past week where I used Waray, Cebuano, and Tagolog all in the same lesson. I interviewed a man from Cebu this past week as well in Cebuano. Cebuano and Waray are very similar but different enough to make it an awkward transition. I am grateful for and ever reliant upon the spirit because it seems that all of hopes of eloquence have been lost in this jumble of languages. We have a really cool senior Couple in our mission from Far West, Missouri right now that are very diligent about finding and teaching when they don't have other responsibilities. They only speak English and sometimes we translate for them but my companion has made the comment that when it's just them, even if their investigator doesn't understand super well at first, as the lesson continues and the spirit gets stronger they start to understand English better and are able to ask questions. As a missionary here it has been a challenge with all the languages. To be honest sometimes it sucks but it has taught me to be patient and humble and it has taught me and even forced me to follow the spirit.
We had a successful baptism on Saturday from our San Juanico Ward and have seven more coming up this Saturday from Basey Branch. Sister H. was our last baptism. She was a referral of President Aban. President Aban is the man. He is such a consecrated leader and was indeed called of God to lead the Tacloban Saints through Yolanda and her after math. It was a great experience seeing him stand in the Water with this sister. This gospel changes lives. I see it every time I see an investigator come up out of the water. You can see it in their eyes.
I know The Church is true. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. I love you all and pray for you always. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey.
Love Elder Lowe

Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't hit anything, and don't get hit. Blog Letter 9/22/2014

Dearest Family!
It has been a really great week. It is interesting timing to be assigned here in Tacloban seeing as one year ago I was assigned in this zone as well with Elder Salangsang. Next transfer we will hit the one year anneversary of Yolanda. As far as emotions go I'm doing fine really. Tacloban was a big dirty city before and wel it's still just a big dirty city. The tree's are back and life is moving on. People are very receptive to the Gospel and there is quite a noticable difference between here and Southern Leyte.
My Companion is Elder V and he's from Oklahoma. I like him a lot and we're getting along well so far. It's been a little tough adjusting to the language but it's coming back. We do not live in the same place that the Zone Leaders did before. We live with The AP's and office Elders in a place called Caibaan. We have two area's right now. One in San Juanico Ward and another in Basey. Basey will recieve permanent missionaries next transfer but until then the Tacloban Zone Leaders have been taking care of it and we actually have 7 baptisms scheduled there for October 4th that we are looking forward to. On sundays we go to Church in San Juanico at 9 am and then go straight to Basey for their Sacrament meeting at 11am. This all being said, we have a lot of ground to cover with all our area and so we have a car. We drive a Ford Ranger pick-up. Driving here is a different story than driving in the states.  There seem to be two rules: 1) Don't hit anything and 2) don't get hit. Then after that everything else is free game. Consequently, drivers here are a lot more observant and aware than drivers in the states. Once I get my Passport and Visa photocopies sent from the Area office in Manila I will be able to convert my Utah license but until then my Utah license is sufficient.
We found a lot of new investigators this past week and one family that is Professional that we are excited to work with. One of the difficulties I'm facing right now is just remembering peoples names and keep their faces and names in order. With all the demands and responsiblities of Missionary work I am constantly reminded of my dependance on the Lord for everything. I seem to forget that pretty easily sometimes and the Lord is very prompt to remind me and I am grateful for his consistency. To be successful in any calling in the Church we must be able to submit to the will of the Lord. We are dependant upon his Grace to be able to Change our nature and become like him. Through his atonement we are enabled in everything we do. We had an investigator last week ask us how we do what we do. She commented that we are far from home and must be home sick and that we are speaking a foreign language. We had just taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and used that to answer her question. We told her that we are reliant upon the help of the Lord and that the blessings are far greater than the sacrifices.
I know I'm not perfect but I'm striving to be better each day. I think often upon Dads words of wisdom that perfection isn't so much an achievement as it is a process. I love you all and love hearing from you.
Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey!
Love Elder Lowe

Monday, September 15, 2014

Transfers! Letter 9/15/2014

Dear Family!

As for my animal cruelty story for the week... In the Sogod apartment there are two floors and the second floor has a small balcony type thing. One night there happened to be a cat going through some garbage on the ground and so I did the only logical thing and hurried to grab a bucket of water so that I could drench the cat with it from the second story balcony of the apartment. The cat ran away pretty quick but it was soaked.
I'm gonna miss Libagon! I love those people so much but I'm ready for my new area. Both me and Elder D transferred and the members were pretty sad to see us go. I gave one of my white shirts one of my favorite ties to B. I know that the work there will continue to progress. I know that the application for them to become a branch is being processed right now and so that should happen before the end of the year. I will especially miss the L's. Brother L has been a very strong example to me. As I think back on the things I have learned from him I am reminded of a talk given by Henry B. Eyring entitled, "The Priesthood Man." Brother L has indeed become one of the "Priesthood Men" In my life.
One of the things I have learned as a missionary is that Missionaries still have doubts. As in, we don't know everything like we used to or so we thought... I have found that it is important as we continue to study, to continue also seeking for a witness from the spirit that these things are true. This week I noticed a pattern that is very visible as I look back on my mission. The pattern goes something like this. I will pray to know and I will study. As I do this I will feel the comfort of the spirit but then in the next day(s) it seems as though I will be hit with doubt until at last a firm witness is received. And this pattern repeats itself. After all, we receive no witness until AFTER the trial of our Faith. I have experienced my faith being tried time and time again and each time I have received a further witness of the Truthfulness of the Gospel. I started this process again through fasting last fast Sunday. I fasted for a further witness that I might be able to Testify and teach with more power. That Sunday was very good. I felt right. I knew I was where I was supposed to be but than Monday I was hit with doubt. I had questions. I struggled with it for a few days until Friday. On Friday we were in Tacloban for transfers and President Maurer spoke to us. He showed us a Video. I don't remember what the video was about but As I watched it I was hit with a witness. I was overcome with the spirit and I couldn't even breathe for a few seconds. I knew more surely than ever before of the Truthfulness of this Gospel. I realized the fruits of struggling to receive answers as I did through study since the previous Monday.
I was transferred. I'm still getting my arms around this new area but so far so Good. I have been assigned in Tacloban City. I am one of the new Tacloban Zone Leaders. I will let you know more details this coming week.
I love you all. I had more to say but I'm out of time! Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey!
Love Elder Lowe

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Sacrifice of Kids

My dearest Family!

It was such a great week. Mostly because of the baptism of Ben and Lani and so that is where we will end. It was week 6 of the transfer this passed week which meant Elder Shields last week in the mission (The departing missionaries left for Tacloban earlier today). We had a Devotional last night with the Group due to the departure of E. Shields and my anticipated transfer. It was great. I love these people so much and they have so much potential. I refer often to Mosiah 18 with them and how they have the same potential to more than double in size over the next two years. It was a neat experience last night to participate in that devotional and really see in a sense what has happened over these past seven months. I would love to return to that place again when they have a real chapel.

Elder S. and Elder Nu. have an investigator right now that is pretty difficult. I forgot what her religion is but she is very concerned about the Law of Moses or something like that, and so somehow the Feast of the Passover came up in their lesson and Elder N. went to the Bible Dictionary for reference. Included in the sacrifices of this feast is a kid. I don't know what was going through his head but Elder N. didn't know that a kid is really a baby goat and so he told their investigator that they sacrificed a little boy or a bata nga lalaki. We got a good laugh out of that one. He will never live it down. 

The Baptism was near perfect. B. and L. were baptized along with Sister J. who is the other Elders' investigator. We planned it, as you can see in the pictures so that the baptism would take place at sunset. What you can't see in the pictures is the Moon on the other side. It was a gorgeous scene and evidence that God was indeed present at this baptism in all his majesty. I have worked for 7 months for this day. I am so grateful for the influence the spirit has had in their lives. I see it time and time again. This Gospel changes lives and three more souls have now entered in at the gate that is headed towards exaltation. As I confirmed Brother B. I blessed him that him and L. would be able to progress in the Gospel and prepare to enter the temple. 

I know this Church is true. To finish off the day on Saturday we crossed paths with Pastor W. (we don't talk to him any more than we have to). He had a lot to say and as usual we listened, didn't argue and tried to promote understanding. He is so close and has good beliefs but he can't seem to understand us. Anti-mormon Doctrine is a hobby of his. At the end, being prompted by the spirit, I told him that I wasn't perfect and still have a lot of things to learn but that I would like to share my testimony to him and I did. Words can't describe this experience but I felt as if I were on fire. I testified to him of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel and of the Truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I bore testimony that this Gospel is a plan of Happiness and that I am happier than I have ever been. I told him that if he would quit being a liar in his heart and read the Book of Mormon sincerely he could know too. I'm not sure his hardened state allowed him to feel the spirit from what I said but if anything, I bore testimony for Elder D. I bore testimony to defend my Faith. And I bore testimony in the Name of Jesus Christ that my words might stand as a testimony against him at the last day. I was almost shocked as I walked away still unsure of what I just said but knowing with every fiber of my being that this Church is True. That Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and that The Book of Mormon is the word of God.

I love you all so much. Next week I may be emailing from a different area but we'll see. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rambutan Blog Letter 09/01/2014

Dearest Pamilya!

In the Philippines there is a fruit called Rambutan. It is quite delicious. You sort of peel it and then the part you eat is on the inside. With that being said, I was getting on a bus this past week at exactly the wrong time when this girl on the bus was opening a rambutan and it squirted straight into my eyes. It's okay though. I'm still alive and I can still see. I was just a little disoriented for a second wondering what the heck just squirted into my eyes. At first I thought someone had a squirt bottle or something and was wondering what inspired them to squirt the white guy boarding the bus. We were all laughing about it afterwards though. 

The Zone leaders came to Libagon on Saturday to interview B., L. and M. I love having Elder S. as my Zone leader. He is Solid. Anyways, B. and L. will be baptized this week and we are excited for them. They are ready. With M. we have decided to just encourage them to get married first and then he can get baptized. We feel like this will really ensure a complete repentance. He is so good though. He understood and is willing to take the necessary steps. 

We have another investigator, J., that has been doing very well. She has been reading and really understanding the Book of Mormon. She hasn't been able to come to Church yet but is planning on attending next week. Until now her boyfriend hasn't shown much interest in listening but I think her progression and study of the Book of Mormon is making him more curious. We are planning on teaching both of them this evening. They will have to get married or separate in order to be baptized. They have a daughter so hopefully we can help them just get married. 

I love this Gospel. In this world of chaos, the Gospel just makes sense. There are many in this world who try to twist it and prove it false but I can't deny the witness of the Spirit that is true. It is The Way to Eternal life.

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

Love Elder Lowe