Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New people to teach and a morning in Death Valley, CA

Hey, everyone - 

This has been another great week, especially as far as finding and expanding our teaching pool goes. After a baptism, you're always afraid of having to fill up the pool of people to teach; finding, especially through your own efforts, is pretty difficult. Luckily, we were able to find several new people this week we're really excited about and a couple of them are already progressing!

The part-member family we taught on Wednesday was great - we show up for dinner and a lesson and they invited over their nonmember neighbors as well! We were pleasantly surprised; we had talked to the neighbors earlier in the week from street contacting, so we already had somewhat of a relationship with them. The lesson went very well - they were asking some great (and sincere) questions and committed to church this upcoming week. 

On Thursday, we saw two teenagers get out of a van as we were biking by, so we stopped to talk to them. They live right down the street from the church, said they've always been interested and accepted a return appointment for Saturday. We go in Saturday and they're actually there; we were half-expecting two 18 year old boys to no-show, but they were ready and curious. After the lesson and a really great prayer from one of the guys, they committed to work towards a baptismal date in late June. We have another lesson with them tonight and we'll let you know how that goes!

All in all, great week and our teaching pool is filling up! Today for P-day we went to Death Valley - a large amount of it is actually in our zone, Lone Mountain, so we've been up there all morning. I'll send some pictures; it was pretty crazy, but crazy fun.

Love you so much!

Proud of my roots during a Death Valley sunrise

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tatum's baptism and some great contacting

Hey guys - 

Best week in the area thus far. Tatum was baptized this Saturday and it was such a spiritual service! Because she's Tunney's cousin, he got to come and give the talk on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and it was such an awesome experience to witness; he called it the "highlight of [his] mission". We've been so grateful to have been able to teach such an intelligent and intuitive young women as she's really desired to know what's true. Her entire age class was there at the baptism and I'm so happy the ward was so supportive - this is the perfect place to finish a mission. 

Although Tatum's baptism was the highlight, the rest of the week has been really fruitful. Through talking to everyone we see, we've found several part-member families that haven't been on the ward records. One of them was excited to see us; he mentioned how he just ran into his old Stake President at a gas station and how seeing us was a sign that he needed to start coming back. His nonmember wife was excited to meet with us and they set up an appointment for dinner this Wednesday. Things are happening here and we're way happy about it; the ward hasn't seen this amount of work for a couple of months. We're grateful that we have such a great ward to bring these people to, as well; we don't have to worry about the ward being on it's best behavior when we bring these people to church. 

We invited a young man who was contacted by missionaries to Tatum's baptism and to our surprise, he accepted. After the baptism we were able to take him on a church tour, teach him a lesson, and set him for baptism for the first week in June! He was prepared and it was an amazing experience. However, he's 19 and so we set up a lesson yesterday with the YSA sisters to pass him off and that went super well - he's all passed off and still excited for baptism. Amazing week - next week has the potential to be just as good.

I love you so much!

Tatum's family at her baptism

Elder Dowdle, Tatum, and Elder Palmer

Elders Dowdle and Biggs were with Todd and Shea Hill as they
were sealed together as a family at the Las Vegas Temple

Monday, May 12, 2014

Flat-tops and some service work

Hey there -
It was so much fun being able to Skype yesterday! It's so weird to think that yesterday was the last video chat until July; four General Conferences = done, four calls home = done. I don't like it. Every time calling home has been fun, but different, as I've been in different stages during the mission at different times. Now that this last call is over, it's time to keep my head down and work hard until mid-July.
This has probably been our slowest week. The casita we were living in was undergoing some pretty heavy construction, and so we moved in with the Zone Leaders for the week until the work was done. Living in a four man apartment again was pretty fun, albeit distracting, but Elder Palmer and I were able to get out and get some things done. At one point we were talking about Dad getting a flat-top on his mission, which, of course, led to discussion of US getting flat-tops. I said the only way I'd get a flat-top is if Tunney got one, knowing that he'd never get one. He got one...so I did too. It's hilarious. The Zone Leaders cover Indian Springs as well, a small town up the 95, and so we went with them one morning to pick up trash around the town - that was fun, almost entirely because Indian Springs is pretty strange. 
We spent a lot of the week helping a girl named Tatum get ready for her baptism! Funny story, she's actually Elder Tunney's cousin, and so it's been neat for me to be able to leave him and go teach members of his family! She'll be getting baptized this coming Saturday and we're really excited about it; she's young, 12/13, but grasping it all extremely well and she, and her family, is on fire - we love them. That's going to make for a great weekend and it'll be Elder Palmer's first baptism, so that'll be awesome.
Anyways, great week and a better one coming up. Love you tons!

Just minutes before getting my flat-top

Elder Tews giving Elder Tunney his flat-top

Elder Dowdle and Elder Palmer cleaning up Indian Springs

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Time is flying by

Hey guys!
I can't believe I'm sitting down to write another email already. These past two weeks in this area seem like such a blur, I can hardly believe it. Elder Palmer is doing so well out here, teaching and talking to people like he's been out a year. The other day it finally got a little toasty out (probably around 95-97 degrees) and poor Palmer was just eaten up by the sun - a Canadian lobster. A rare delicacy. However, his attitude is awesome and the work in this ward is fun with him by my side.
In order to be counted as a resident of the state of Utah (which is crucial for my tuition this fall), I have to have a Utah drivers license issued before May 1st. I told one of my zone leaders, Elder Tews, about this and he called President to ask for permission for us to go up to Utah and get it...and permission was granted! So on April 30th, Elder Tews and I went on exchanges and rode the 15 up to Hurricane, Utah, to get my drivers license! It was a trip to be back in Utah again, but we got there, got the license, and headed back...after a little stop at Chick-Fil-A, of course :)
The people that we're teaching are making great progress; a family we've been working with came to Stake Conference this weekend and really enjoyed it! It's so neat for me to be with Elder Palmer and experience his "firsts" along with him; his first lesson, first investigators, first rejection. We're so filled with love for the people we've been blessed to teach, and when they keep their commitments and come closer to fully repenting, we're the happiest we've ever been. Good things are happening here and it's such a blessing to be trusted with the people in this little part of the vineyard.
I love you all and I'm excited to Skype with you on Mothers Day!
He sends these pictures and thinks I'm not going to put them on the blog???