Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Temple visit....and a Donny Osmond sighting

Hey there,

This has been a full, long, but great week and a half! I'm really loving being here in this new area with Elder Torgersen; we laugh so hard and so much together, it's amazing we get anything done. We're serving in the Desert Breeze ward and the Ridges ward for right now, both pretty affluent areas of Las Vegas. The Ridges ward is actually the most wealthy ward in the mission, and you can tell. It's all behind guard-gated communities, and some of the nicest golf courses in Vegas are included in it's boundaries (including Bears Best, a course I'm reeeeaaalllly hoping someone invites us to play...). We're teaching a couple people right off the bat, which is really nice to come in to, and there's a baptism on the 1st of June for a woman who has been meeting with the missionaries for several months. This area is fundamentally very different from my last, which means it requires a different approach to missionary work, but the challenge is fun and exciting.

Elder Torgersen and I are Zone Leaders for the Lakes Zone (which is the Lakes Stake of Vegas), and in our zone are twelve other missionaries. We're blessed with some solid missionaries serving out here, and it's nice to not have to worry about what they're doing or if they're working as hard as they're supposed to. Elder Kaelberer, my MTC companion, is actually one of the District Leaders in our Zone, so I'll be going on exchanges with him pretty soon! It's been a really great week, and although it's been weird to get in the swing of things in this new area and with new responsibilities, I'm starting to get a foothold.


p.s. totally forgot: so we went to the temple today, and guess who was chillin' in the cafeteria chewin' on some roast beef? Donny Osmond. Viva Las Vegas.
Elders Dowdle & Torgersen at the Temple

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mt. Charleston, new calling, and a flood!

Hey guys, a lot of stuff to cover this week, so be patient with me.

So we'll start with Monday. Monday was great because of our trip to Mt. Charleston; it was SOOOO nice to see some mountains, trees, and snow (snow in Las Vegas, Nevada), I was in heaven. I didn't really realize how much I miss the wilderness until I was standing in the shade of some of the tallest trees I've ever seen. It really made me want to make a trip out to Northern California to check out the redwoods. All I want to do upon returning is travel and explore, I've decided. Not the most effective use for a 21 year olds time (or is it?), but I'm looking forward to it.

All week we've been looking forward to/dreading transfer calls. President Black (our mission president) calls on Wednesdays for leadership calls and then the assistants call on Saturdays with regular transfer calls, letting you know where you're going and who you'll be serving with for the next six weeks. Well, much to our surprise, the phone rang on Wednesday and it was President Black. I answered, thinking he'll call me to be a trainer again, or maybe a district leader. I was not expecting that he'd call me to be a new Zone Leader. Yeah, I'm a Zone Leader now, and I'm really, really nervous. I skipped District Leader and now my new companion and I are in charge of 20 or so other missionaries. I have no idea what I'm going to do for the next couple of months; there are only two other ZL's as young as I am, and I have way less experience. I'm excited, but scared. The assistants called on Saturday to let me know where I was going, and I'll be serving in the Lakes Zone with Elder Torgersen, which I'm really excited about. I've heard awesome things about Elder Torgersen; apparently he's a musician and an incredible missionary. I'm looking forward to serving with him. I have to be at transfers early today to pass out planners and welcome everyone into our zone...the responsibilities start today. I'm nervous, like I said before, because of the responsibility of the position and my lack of experience, but I know that it'll be good for me.


So I'm all stressing out about being a Zone Leader, and then we come home and find what? Our apartment is flooded. For the SECOND TIME. The washer had broken again and had been running for FOUR HOURS; there were about 4 inches of water everywhere. It got all into the carpets, our bedrooms (nothing is damaged, thank heavens) and ran out the door and down the street. They have to knock down some walls downstairs because of all the damage. They tore up our carpets and we've been spending the night at some other missionaries apartment for the past couple of days. Talk about some added stress! I'll send you guys a video of it, it's pretty funny in retrospect.


All in all, a crazy week. The next time we'll get to email will be next Wednesday, so I'll be sure to let you know how the new area/companion/position is going. I love you all!

Snow just outside Vegas?
Mt. Charleston, NV

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Momma

What a great weekend!

Being able to Skype (isn't it weird how "skype" is now a verb?) and talk to the three of you was so great; I swear, you look happier and healthier every time we talk. Things are going so good with me gone, I should probably ask for an extension (for the family's sake). I have to tell you, I laughed the hardest yesterday than I have my entire mission so stomach is still a little bit sore. Thanks for being my inspiration and my support. I'm excited to eventually model my own family after the wonderful one I've had the privilege of growing up in.

This week was spent checking on some potentials and trying to help them progress in their desire to know the truth. It's been really neat to come in contact with a lot of people who just honestly wants to know what's out there. I've been thinking a lot about the plan that God has laid out for us, the plan that He's given us to be able to return and live with him, and how so many people need to know this plan. A woman was talking about a funeral she attended (she's Jamaican, so the funeral was, naturally, in Jamaica) and how everybody there was grieving and mourning so intensely; falling on the ground and weeping. She said they wear badges with the persons face on it that says "Gone Forever, but Never Forgotten". It made me so grateful for the knowledge that I have, the knowledge that we WILL get to see those we love when they pass away, that we WILL get to live with our families for the rest of eternity. This life is but a probationary period, and it's so comforting to know that there's something after all of this, something better, something more. I love what I'm doing and I love what I'm teaching. Above all, I love what I know to be true. And I happen to know that this gospel is true.

Today ought to be fun; we're hiking Mt. Charleston today for p-day. I'll have some pictures next week!

I love you guys, thanks for yesterday (and happy mothers day, again!)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Sydney!

Happy Birthday, Sydney!

No, I didn't forget...almost did, though. Let me know when my package gets to you!

We had a couple of really neat experiences this past week. On May 13th, we're going over to Mt. Charleston to hike for a p-day (I'm really excited about it), and we went to go talk to the member who will be giving us a ride. We weren't there for more than ten minutes when his wife comes racing down the stairs; she had gotten a call from another lady in the ward who was on her way home, is pregnant, and started having severe contractions. She said she needed a blessing immediately. The three of us hopped in the members car and met the woman at her house. We (the member, the woman's husband, and the two of us) were able to lay our hands on her head and give her a blessing before she headed to the hospital (a priesthood blessing is a prayer for healing, comfort, or counsel given by a priesthood holder -- someone who has been given the authority to act in the name of God). It was a great instance of being in the right place at the right time.

Fast forward a day and we're showing up at a lesson we had set up earlier in the week. The wife met us outside and explained that her husband was really sick; he had a skin infection on the back of his head and was on bed rest. We offered a blessing, and she said "You know what, I'll ask him". He accepted, and we were able to go upstairs and bless him as well. He was incredibly appreciative and the Spirit was very strong; he invited us back at the same time next week. It's amazing to be able to use the priesthood in so many different ways, and all of them bless and serve others. I'm so grateful for the restoration of the priesthood in these latter days, and I'm so honored to be able to use it as many times as I do. To learn more about the priesthood and priesthood authority (what really separates the Mormons from other faiths), check out

We're finding people to teach and really loving it; May is already turning out to be an awesome month. I love you all and can't wait to talk to you on Mothers Day!