Monday, March 31, 2014

Lots of work, a wedding, and some French!!

Hey everyone!

For some reason, this week was brutal - we were absolutely worn out. We had some pretty labor-intensive exchanges this week, though, biking around and doing service. This week we were in South, Spring Mountain, Lakes, and Las Vegas zones, and we had a pretty good time. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for some sweet experiences, and it was pretty awesome to be able to share them with two deserving missionaries. Most, if not all, stemmed from trying to teach at all times and in all places; a mental shift from the normal mindset of a normal missionary. We too often believe that we can only teach after an opening prayer in somebody's living room, but we can teach and testify in everyday conversation with anyone and everyone, and it truly makes a difference. 

This week I've been working with a lot of missionaries on that very concept, teaching whenever we can. It's amazing how many people talk to you when you're just real with them...missionaries have a nasty habit of reciting the old, "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we're sharing a message about Jesus Christ". About halfway through that sentence, most people decide they don't want to listen; it's rote and it feels like we're talking to them out of obligation. People are much more receptive when you're 1) talking like a person and when you're 2) doing it out of love. "Hey dude, I've got something that means a lot to me and I want you to have it", is way more personable and way more effective. I've seen more success in being myself than I ever did trying to be a "missionary"; yes, I'm Elder Dowdle, but I'm Elder Dowdle, and I need to act like it. When you integrate your personality with sharing the gospel, it becomes easier and more effective. It becomes fun. It becomes what it's supposed to be. 
We took this Saturday off because a part-member family we've been working with for a couple months (and love a ton) got married! It was so much fun and so sweet to see Duane and Charisa McNary tie the knot. We helped Duane set up the whole day and he was so nervous, it was pretty adorable. He took us out to BBQ for lunch and while we were driving there, he just explodes and yells, "I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!". Haha we love these two and I'm so happy for them! Manning came down from Provo and took their wedding photos for them; it was awesome to see him again (Torg is probably coming down next week - that'll be fun, too!). Charisa will be getting baptized on April 11th and I couldn't be more excited. 
Something that I never thought would happen happened this week: I used my high school French. I contacted this black guy across the street and starting walking over to talk to him. The other two elders were caught on the other side due to traffic, and so I approached him alone and started a conversation. When I was a couple of words into the contact, I realized he wasn't understanding me. I don't know why, but I stopped and said, "parlez-vous francais?". He lit up and starting rattling off in French, telling me he moved here from the Congo in Africa 8 months ago and has been learning English at a catholic church but wants to go to a "mormon church". By this time, one of the elders I was with (Elder Ballard) comes up beside me...and starts speaking to the guy in French! I was floored. Turns out he's an old referral that never got contacted due to the language barrier. In our broken French, we set up a lesson and later found a translator to accompany the elders to the lesson. Crazy experience, but pretty fun.

Anyways, looking forward to this next week and conference! Love you and I'll talk to you then!


1 comment:

  1. Dowdle, you are doing an amazing job and make sure you stop by for a visit. We miss you!!!