Monday, August 19, 2013

Rededicated The Lakes Zone

Hey guys!
This has been a really good first week. We got a lot of newer missionaries in the zone this past transfer, so we thought it'd be a good idea to "rededicate" the zone for missionary work. President Ahlander floated the idea past us when we did interviews, and it had been coming up in conversation between Elder Herlin and I for the last two weeks of last transfer, so we decided we'd do it right after transfers. The Saturday before, Elder Herlin and I drove around the west ridge of Vegas looking for a neat, secluded spot we could hold a rededicatory meeting, and we found one! We found this cool ridge overlooking the zone (and the rest of Vegas) and it had some logs for our Elders/Sisters to sit on. EARLY Tuesday morning (we woke up at 4:10 to go grab Krispy Kreme and OJ for the zone) we had everyone meet on the side of W Charleston at 5:30. We all hiked up to the ridge and sat down, just in time to watch the sun come up over the eastern mountains, right above the temple. It was a really cool sight. After that, we had a testimony meeting and then one of our district leaders said the rededicatory prayer for the zone. I think it was just what this zone needed, and it was perfect with all of the new companionships and everything.
A couple of my favorite missionaries went home on Tuesday, it was a sad day. Elder Eddie Woodard, who I was with in Tule, and Elder Matthew Joseph Jones, the most christlike man I've met and Sydney's future husband, both went home to Kansas City and Lochbuie, respectively. Great friends, excited to hear about their lives/futures.
Zone Conference was on Friday, and before every ZC there's a vehicle inspection. On Thursday we reminded the zone about it, and so naturally everyone washed their car Thursday night. The sisters didn't have any supplies, so we dropped by to get them some cleaning stuff. They asked us if we run into any spanish-speaking people, and we do all the time, so they gave us a box of spanish materials they don't use. Driving around on Friday after Zone Conference, we were headed visit someone when we drove by a street I felt like we should knock. The person we were trying to visit wasn't home, so I told Elder Herlin what I was feeling and we stopped to quickly tract the street. We were having no luck until the second to last door; this Hispanic lady opened up the door and said "No hablo ingles". I used the only spanish I know and said "Tenemos misioneros que hablan espanol?". She got excited and brought out her son to translate between us, and she wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. Because the sisters gave us the spanish box the night before, we had what this woman wanted and we were able to give it to her. It was a really neat experience and we passed her off to the spanish elders.
It's been great out here and it's only getting better! We're really feeling it this week; between the two of us, we've dubbed this week "go hard in the paint" week (we've been playing a lot of basketball). We're piloting it before we commit the zone to going "hard in the paint". We'll let you know how it all shakes out. Love you so much!

Monday, August 12, 2013

A visit with The Guesmans

Transfer #10!

Transfers are today, which means at around 5:00pm, every missionary that's getting transferred meets at the "transfer building" in North Las Vegas on Alexander and Ferrel. I really enjoy going to transfers; you get to see all of the missionaries that serve pretty far away from you and you get to see all of the new missionaries coming in. I think we have around 20-something new missionaries coming in this transfer, seven of them sisters. We have a lot of changes in our zone going on today, so it's going to be neat to see how it affects the zone dynamic we've got going on. Speaking of zone dynamic, last night the district leaders reported in stats and it's been the best week as a zone for months! We're really proud of how our missionaries have been working this last week here, especially those who knew they were getting transferred.
This past Friday, I talked to Elder Steenstra (one of my past companions) and he said Susie and Chase Guesman, a family we taught and baptized in Logandale, was coming down for lunch in Vegas! It was awesome to sit down with them and catch up for a little bit! Such amazing people, and I'm so grateful I was in the right place at the right time last November/December when we started teaching them. It also made me aware of the fact that Logandale was a year ago, and THAT was really weird for me. Time really does stand still for no one ("time stands still...").
A family in the ward had us over for dinner last night and surprised us by being amazing member missionaries: they invited 13 of their coworkers over for dinner to listen to our message. She works for a tutoring place, and so almost all of her guests were around our age, so it was neat to talk to them and get to know them. One girl was related (somehow) to a friend I made in college, Ben Jaojoco. Anyways, it was really awesome to share the message of the Restoration with that many people; it gave me a thrill that reminded me of being on stage, playing music. We need more members like that family, unabashed in their desire to share the truth with their friends.

Great week, and I'm sure a great transfer to follow for the next six weeks! Hope everything is doing well back home!

Elders Lane, Steenstra, and Dowdle with Susie and Chase at Smashburger!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer's almost over!.....

Hey, everyone.
This past week has been a busy one! A lot has been happening in our area/ward as well as in our zone and mission, so we've been bouncing between all sorts of meetings, trying to piece everything together. August is here, though, and it's really weird for me. I always associate August with the start of school and the end of summer, and in a way, that still holds true.  Tomorrow marks a year from when my plane landed in Las Vegas, and I now feel WAY more comfortable with who I am and where I fit in my calling as a missionary. I feel finished with my summer and ready for class.
On Tuesday we had a return appointment with the woman we had tracted into last week. We ended up bringing a recently returned missionary (Josh Bryan, just back from Monterry, Mexico) and had a nice lesson about the Book of Mormon and her thoughts about what she had read. She told us that she loved the part in the Restoration pamphlet about the restoration of the priesthood to the prophet Joseph Smith - I've never had an investigator mention that specifically. It's amazing that she recognized the importance of the priesthood and of the fact that it's back on the earth again, the fact that someone can, like in times past, authoritatively say "thus saith the Lord". That experience helped me once again realize how grateful I am for the restored church of Jesus Christ and how grateful I am to hold and use that priesthood.
My absolute favorite part about being a Zone Leader (and there aren't very many favorite parts) is interviewing people the district leader has taught for baptism. One of our district leaders, Elder Peacock, has been teaching a man named Eddie and set him for baptism on the 10th. Upon meeting and sitting down with Eddie, you could feel how bad he wanted it; he truly had a testimony. We started to talk about his experiences and it turns out that the death of his mother caused him to look for truth and that's how he found the church. As soon as he heard that he could be with his family forever after this life, he was on board; I couldn't help but notice Tad R. Callister's "The Inevitable Apostasy" and LeGrand Richard's "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder" on his bedside table. It's so humbling to meet with people ready to make such a life-changing covenant. This work is awesome.
I love you all very much and love reading your letters! Thanks a ton!

Elders Herlin & Dowdle