Monday, January 27, 2014

With the Guesmans at the Las Vegas Temple

Hey everyone!

Don't have a ton of time to email today; it's transfers again, so we're way super busy today. It's also Serre's birthday, so we're going to go have birthday lunch with her soon! Then we set up some pick-up baseball at some nearby ballfields for the zone p-day activity, so just in case you wanted to know what my planner looks like today, there you go.
This transfer has a lot of changes happening in the zone! Three of our wards are being double-transferred, which is crazy. That means three brand new companionships are coming in tonight and taking over an area they know next to nothing about. Hopefully the missionaries leaving have updated all of the records necessary so that the new elders can pick up right where the old ones left off. We're kind of excited about the "facelift" we're going to be experiencing here in Meadows shortly; it'll be a new start, and a fresh one, at that. One of our favorite missionaries, Elder Tanner, has about 4.5 months left and so he's dropping from Zone Leader and becoming one of our district leaders! He also happens to be Tunney's trainer, so we're really excited to have him here with us. All in all, the zone will be well-equipped to find, teach, and baptize at quite an efficient pace. That's the plan, at least.
We've been able to teach some good lessons this week and meet some new people. Our stake has organized a basketball night at the stake center on Saturday nights, opening it to missionaries who have investigators/less-actives who like to play basketball. We play for a couple hours and then have a little lesson at the end. We got three kids to come out with us this weekend and we had a great time; I've been blessed (or cursed, depending on the viewpoint) to have a couple companions that are really good at basketball (Tunney, Herlin...), and so that comes in handy in this instance. It's all about the unorthodox finding methods nowadays, and this is definitely one of them.  
The most amazing thing that happened this week (saving the best for last) was Tuesday. Tuesday night, I got to go to the temple and be there when Susie and Johnny Guesman received their endowment. That night has been the absolute highlight of my mission to date. It was an incredible blessing to be able to witness these two worthily enter the temple of God and make covenants with our Father in Heaven - it was almost surreal. The entire ward (Logandale 3rd) was there as well, and so being in the temple with all of them together was pretty much like being in Heaven; everyone was so happy, there wasn't a dry eye in the room, and the spirit was as strong as I've ever felt it in my life. Standing there with them in the temple, my mind raced back to that night in 2012 where we knocked on the door we've knocked plenty of times, not expecting anyone to answer. Susie opened the door and let us in. Now they're temple-attending latter-day saints. Nothing I've ever felt before can compare to the joy that filled me when we hugged in the celestial room (for more info on LDS temples, visit I understand now the pure happiness that will come when we're reunited with our loved ones who now reside on the other side of the veil.
Awesome week. Love you all.

With the Guesmans at the Las Vegas Temple

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Amazing Week

This past Saturday, Serre Splond was baptized! It was an amazing service and she was so ready; she's BEEN so ready for weeks! Always reading her scriptures, asking us questions about what she's been reading, praying for guidance and answers and receiving's been incredible to see her journey thus far. It's been incredible to be one of the missionaries witnessing her journey; Ben Manning drove down from Provo for the baptism to give a talk and it was great to see him (we played 9 holes at a local golf course on Monday while Manning was in town - shot a 50, not great, too many three-putts...anyways, this isn't about golf, it's about Serre!). Her mom and grandpa came to the baptism and seemed to have a good experience as well; just an overall great night. The next day I had the honor of blessing her with the gift of the Holy Ghost, and now she's a fully fledged member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She'll be able to help so many who are looking for a knowledge of the truth and I'm really excited for where she'll be in five or so years.
As per usual, when someone is baptized or leaves our teaching pool, the Lord provides somebody to take their place. A man was riding his Razor kick scooter by the church on Sunday and decided he should go inside and see what it's all about. He stays for the entire three hour block, making comments in all of the classes, and then sets up an appointment with us and off he goes on the scooter. We go by later that night and teach him and his cousin (we think) and they have both committed to baptism for mid-February! We're so excited and so happy and so are they. It's been three days and we've had two lessons already; we're having a church tour with them on Thursday as well as a lesson about the Plan of Salvation. A young couple also moved into ward boundaries last week and the non-member girlfriend wants to be baptized this spring; her husband is in the music production business and does some work with some hip-hop artists and Disney, so that'll be a great way to better get to know them. Basically, things are amazing here in Meadows 1st ward, and Elder Tunney and I are way happier than we deserve to be.
Thanks for all of your support! I love you and pray for you.

Elder Tunney, Serre Splond, Elder Dowdle

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Great Week!!

Happy thirteenth!

This week was great, mostly due to the baptism of Vilma Carrillo and Andrew Gargiulo! Two absolutely amazing people, so ready for the covenant of baptism. Vilma asked me to baptize her and Elder Tunney to baptize Andrew, and so we were also in white with them sitting on the front row. There was a great turn out; the ward hadn't had one in who knows how long - no one could remember the last convert baptism. After ten year old Andrew was baptized, he just about floated out of the water with the biggest smile I've ever seen on his face. Elder Tunney and I were at the top of the stairs, still wet and in our whites, and Andrew says, "I feel so good right now!". I'm never, ever going to forget how happy those two were immediately after their baptism, and hopefully neither will they; while we were all getting changed, we had those in attendance write down some thoughts for Vilma and Andrew on notecards and we put them in a little photo album for them. When things get tough in the future, they can read the words of those who witnessed them enter into a covenant with God and they'll remember the feeling they had on January the 11th, 2014.

This week will now be spent helping Serre get ready for her baptism THIS Saturday! We're so excited and so is she - it's amazing how prepared she is and how much she wants to learn and do. She's always texting us with questions and comments about parts of the Book of Mormon and I absolutely love it. Serre came to the baptism and really felt the Spirit; she said she held her breath when Vilma went under the water to see what it would feel like! Haha she's amazing and her baptism will be just as wonderful this Saturday.

Incredible week - so very blessed. 

I love you and pray for you daily!

Elder Tunney, Vilma, Andrew, & Elder Dowdle

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!!

I can't believe it's 2014.
2014 has already introduced itself as a crazy, crazy year.
The bad crazy happened on New Years Day.
New Years Day was a non-proselyting day, and so President authorized tri-zone activities across the mission. We were grouped with Highland Hills and Bonanza Zones, and after talking with the other zone leaders there, we decided basketball wouldn't be fun for around 60 people, so we decided on capture-the-flag in the desert for our activity (if you follow Simmons all the way north on Google Maps, you'll find the desert we played in). To make a long story short, we were running around and one of our visa waiters (missionary waiting for his visa so he can go to Brazil) tried to jump a little slot canyon and didn't make it. I was right there with him, and he broke his right ankle. Me and one other missionary had to carry him out of the slot canyon (which took a good amount of time), we found Elder Tunney and we headed for the hospital. It was a pretty intense couple of hours. Turns out it was broken in three places, but luckily they were able to get him into surgery in a matter of hours. After his surgery, Tunney and I had to organize six-hour shifts for missionaries to stay at the hospital and watch him; I was there from 12am to 6am, then had to be at a meeting from 9am to 2pm the next day. It was crazy. However, he's out of the hospital and recuperating right now; might have to go home, not sure.  
The good crazy happened on Sunday at church.
The next two Saturdays we have three baptisms scheduled! This upcoming Saturday is Vilma and Andrew (her ten year old son) Carrillo's baptism; they've just moved here from California and they're two pretty amazing people (See: December 23rd letter). January18th is Serre Splond, an amazing 19 year old mother who feels the spirit strongly and is preparing for her baptism by video-blogging her feelings (See: December 2nd/9th letter; her YouTube channel can be found at Both Serre and Vilma got up in church and bore their testimonies during sacrament - it was amazing. They both bore powerful testimony of the Savior and of the truth of His church. It was such an amazing meeting, I don't think I'll ever forget it.
Anyways, 2014 is all kinds of crazy. Here's to the rest of it being crazier.
At Savannah Kotte's baptism

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Hey guys -
It's been a great week; an odd one, but a good one. Non-proselyting days always make it feel a little off, but it was great to talk to loved ones on Christmas and spend time talking to you all! We did a lot of relaxing, basketball, and napping, which made for an overall successful Christmas day. Again, a thanks to all who sent letters and cards to let me know I'm still thought of - I sincerely appreciate it.
Elder Tunney was sick Saturday night to Sunday morning, poor guy. He picked a good week to be sick, though; we didn't have a lot of appointments due to the holidays. He was feeling better Sunday night, so we went out to teach two of those who are preparing for baptism. In both lessons, we talked a little about obedience and the commandments - what they are, what they mean, and what they do for us. Because we've been teaching this so often lately, I've been reflecting on it time and time again this week. The scripture in D&C 130 keeps coming to mind: "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated - And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated". The blessings that God gives us depend entirely upon our willingness to be obedient; obedient to His commandments, to His prophets, to our parents. I know that when we're obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, we're happier than we would have been otherwise. Good things happen - things work out.
You're all in my prayers. Thanks for the love and letters this holiday season.