Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 108

WELL!!!!... The mish is over!  I am way excited to get home and see all your faces!  Get ready to party everyone.  I can't wait to see all you and tell you all about my mission.  I LOVE YOU ALL AND WILL SEE YOU IN TWO DAYS! {He gets home Wednesday October 10th at 6:20pm!!!}


Elder Lowry

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 107

Hello Family!

Well Here is the last real letter coming from your missionary here in the Philippines.  I really can't believe that this is my last week to work as a missionary.  Talk about making someone nostalgic and sentimental.  I have had a great time lately getting together presents for everyone and I think I am about prepared to hop on the plane and see all your beautiful faces again.  I say I am ready but the fact that I am leaving this place hasn't really hit and I don't thin it will until I am back with you all again. 

This week was sure alot of fun.  We are getting lots done still and we are working hard.  We had a member officially return to activity this last weekend that had been inactive for a good 10 years.  He seems to be doing really well and he is seeing how the gospel is still able to bless his life and the life of his family.  His name is Romeo Malcon and is a great guy.  I am glad we have been able to help him out and see changes made in his life.  We were supposed to have one more person return officially as well but she wasn't able to go to church this last weekend.  I was let down because she has REALLY made alot of changes in her life and we have been working with her ever since I got transferred here to Jordan.  Ah well, She is doing well though and has been coming to church pretty regularly over the last several weeks.  I am happy with the progress we have made with her and if she had officially returned that would've just been the cherry on the cake but I didn't get to see it.  Too bad.  

The other area here in Jordan had a family baptism this last weekend.  A mother father and Daughter were all baptized and the branch was really supportive of the newcomers.  They really are an adorable family and have just LOVED investigating the church and now I am sure they will make fantastic members. They have so much potential to be leaders of the church and if they remain strong they will join the other pioneers here in Jordan to make Jordan a ward on day.  We also had a branch activity that day and it was fiesta in the barangay we live in.  So we were plenty busy this weekend eating, playing, eating, working, and more eating.  People love Fiesta here and literally anyone from their houses that sees you walking down the street will call out and invite you in their homes to eat their food.  I love FIESTA!

I am loving my time here in the Philippines and will cherish these memories for the rest of my life for sure.  I can't wait until the day that I can come back here and show you all around.  It IS going to happen sooner or later.  You all just HAVE to come here and experience the Philippines.  It is just so much fun.  I hope everyone has a fantastic week and everyone is ready for me when I get off that plane... IT'S GONNA BE PARTY TIME!!!!

I love you all and miss you all so much.  Can't wait for story sharings when I get home.


Elder Lowry

Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 106

Hello Family!!!

Well another great week here in Jordan!... not gonna be able to say that too many more times.  But really the work here is moving along and I am really enjoying being able to work here for the last part of my mission.  Guimaras is such an interesting place and provides lots of challenges to the work here.  The biggest thing is how new the church is here in Guimaras.  I think we are only going back about 10 years here on this island so things are just now starting here.  I'm sure the work has to be different in America where the church has been established alot more and we have been around for a couple hundred years.  Elder Sefeti and I are working hard here to get the church more established here in Jordan.  That is really what's lacking and new converts are not going to get the support they need until we fix some of the problems we have right now.  So we are trying to help the members be more established here in Jordan so they can support new converts when they come.  

I cannot even believe how close I am to coming home.  I am trying not to think about it too much but I can't even help it anymore.  I have this week of work and then next week of work and then I am homeward bound.  I still do have quite a bit I wanna get done so I still have motivation to get me through the tough times ahead.  But the upside is that this weekend is festival here in Jordan so we will have some awesome dinner appointments this weekend and then my last week of the mission I will have a dinner appointment every night.  So I expect to put on 20 lbs. before I get back to Augusta.  I am so excited to eat delicious food and soak up my last two weeks in the Philippines.  

We are having some success with helping our LA members come to church.  We are close to "rescuing" two less active members from Balabag, Jordan.  Sis Amor and Bro Malcon are both really doing well and have realy desires to return back to activity.  Technically if they both go to church this next weekend they will both be considered active members.  So that is super good to see.  Right now this is really the focus of the Philippines area.  They are more concerned with rescuing people than they are about new baptisms.  We feel really confident that they will continue to be strong in the church and really become contributing members for the Jordan branch.  I am glad I am at least seeing some success my last couple weeks in the mission.  We are not able to get any investigators to do anything but our LA work is taking off.  I have been pounding away at these people for the entire time I have been on Guimaras and just now we are seeing some positive results.  

I am so excited to finish my mission strong and to get back and see everyone again.  You all don't know how much I love and miss you.  I am super happy to be here serving the people but I am just ready to be back with my family.  I have so many stories and things t tell and show you.  I really am excited to let you all see all my pictures and introduce you all to all my Filipino friends and tell the stories behind the pictures.  Today we went and played mini golf in Nueva Valencia and later today we will be playing football and basketball again.  These last few weeks are really turning out to be really fun for us Guimaras Elders.  This is my last P- day on this island.  Next p-day we got to Iloilo to withdraw support (no ATM's on this island) and then the next p-day after that I will go to the city to get my exit interview.  So we are close ladies and gentlemen and it is really starting to hit me.  Well, I am ready for another week of work... wish me luck. 


Elder Lowry

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 105

Hello Family!

I am doing well here in Jordan! This week seemed to go by a little bit slower but it has been so much fun... so I'm not complaining.  I imagine things might slow down a little bit these next few weeks considering I only have three left and it is really starting to hit me that I am actually going home.  I was so surprised when all the sudden it was Saturday and half way through the day I realized I had been gone from home for two years now.  I was so shocked and it really is starting to set in just how excited I am to go home and be part of the grind again.  I literally cannot wait to see you all again and be able to talk to everyone. 

This week was really busy with meetings in Iloilo.  I had my last day of training I will ever have in the mission... President Pagaduan was getting funny about how a bunch of us were going home that transfer.  He made alot more references to marriage and dating in a meeting than I have ever remembered in a missionary training.  Elder Domincel, my ZL companion in Hamtic that I had a blast with, is now the new AP so it was super fun being with him.  The other AP Elder Galloway is also another really good mission buddy of mine here and I had a blast listening to their trainings.  I think this AP companionship is the best one I have seen my whole mission.  Elder Galloway is also one of the guys that I want to go to Brazil with in 2014.  We had sometime after the training that we researched some more of the logistics of how to get to Rio de Janeiro...  Looks like it will be quite the adventure.  It is so weird doing things now... you always wonder if it will be the last time that you will have the opportunity to do that thing again as a missionary.  It makes you feel so sentimental.  

The work this week was alot of fun with Elder Sefeti.  My companion is so funny... he has such a weird sense of humor and has made me laugh all week.  People from Fiji are crazy!!  We have been working alot still with our LA and RC convert families.  There seem to be ample amounts of problems in our members' lives.  We really are having a tough time helping some people prioritize their lives so that they can give the Lord a chance to bless them and work miracles in their lives.  I think the motto of my mission has been, "Give the Lord a chance."  I think that is the biggest thing I have learned on my mission.  When we follow commandments and obey His word we are really just giving the Lord an opportunity to bless and prosper us.  When we refuse to follow we are not giving the Lord any room to work in our lives and it is completely our fault.  So i have really just acquired a desire to allow the Lord to mold my life into what He would like it to be.  

 It was great hearing about Graham and Sascha's "farewell" Sunday.  It sounded like I missed out on a spiritual sacrament meeting.  I am sure those two are gonna make exemplary missionaries and will work miracles in the mission field.  I am so excited for them to experience the mission life and to enjoy the blessings that come from being on the Lord's errand.  I have felt so edified on my mission and I know it is impossible that they will not feel like they have improved by the end of their mission.  This has felt like the bootcamp of my life and I am ready to go on and continue my service in the real world.  I can't believe that my own little brother will be a missionary in 10 days.  For a few short weeks there will be two Elder Lowry's in the world.  WATCH OUT.  

I am really looking forward to these next few weeks.  We are having another fun P day right now.  We went to a place in Nueva Valencia and went on a zip line and did a fun ropes course.  We got lots of pictures and I got a video of the zip line (no head injuries occurred thankfully) and then enjoyed a nice lunch.  Later we have an afternoon full of football and basketball planned.  So I am super excited for this afternoon.  I am so excited to come home so I can watch real football and basketball on the big screen! I am so mad I am missing Georgia football... but I know it is because I'm still on a mission that they are still doing so well this year.  Let's hope that continues when I get home.  I have quit counting my brownie points with the Lord for my beautiful wife... I have recently asked Him that all brownie points I gain for the rest of my mission can be deposited in the "Georgia National Championship" jar... I hope to fill it before coming home!o

Well I love you all and I was looking through a bunch of my pictures the other day... I am so excited to have a picture day with you all when I ge home and introduce you all to my friends from the Philippines!!!!!!!  Only three weeks left and I will be home...  get excited.  I love you all so much and can't wait to see you all soon.


Elder Lowry

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 104

Hello Family!

Well It is here.  I am going to hit my two year mark this week!  How do I feel about it?... I feel great and I am really pumped for these next 4 weeks I have to be a missionary and to finish the  work I have here.  This has been a tough week of work but I have enjoyed trying my best to help others.  I really hope I can make a bit more progress in this area before I have to leave this place.  I hope to get some momentum... It has been such a struggle for us here to get any energy in the work and get people to get excited for the message.  I don't know what the problem is right now but the work seems a little stuck.  I have been trying really hard to get it moving again, but it just doesn't seem to want to budge.  Let me explain:

We have had lots of people baptized here in Jordan over the past year... Maybe 12- 15... About three of them are still super strong.  The others are just struggling.  My problem with this situation is I don't feel comfortable with adding to the 15 without fixing the leak.  The leak is proving really tough to fix... So that is what I am focusing on.  how do I help these people rekindle the fire that they had just in the recent months?  There are lots of problems in the lives of our recent converts and it is hard to help them prioritize their lives and to put God above all other things.  So now you all know what concerns me about the area I am assigned in right now.  I am still trying to find some solutions.  

We have had lots of fun though... today was one of the funner p- days I have had on my mission.  We went to a cave down in my area that was right on the beach.  We had a blast exploring the big old cave and then we payed a guy to let us climb his coconut trees and get some fresh coconuts to eat on the beach!  I'm talking we were stuffed from drinking the juice and eating the flesh.  The were perfectly ripe and the juice tasted like a funny sprite (which is the best kind).  Then Elder Loe remembered that he had brought his football.  So we tossed the football around on the beach and then went home.  We wanted to play basketball but it started pouring... so we went in frontt of the provincial capital and played football in the pouring rain.  People thought it was the craziest thing to have ten missionaries playing football (which they have never sen before) in the pouring rain.  We had people videoing us and taking pictures the entire time.  Man, we ruined our clothes but had the most fun I've had in a LONG LONG time.  We had a blast teaching out Filipino buddies the art of Football.  Even they said they hope it rains next week!  We got lots of pictures and I can't wait to show them all to you.

They work has been going well with regards to some of our less active families.  We are really seeing, slowly but surely, some changes in the lives.  We are really striving to help them make more gospel habits and it is slow tedious work.. and tiring.  We are working really closely with the Ogaya family wand we have most of the family coming to church every week.  They are going through lots of trials right now so it is good to see them draw closer to the church when they are struggling.  I know that they will be able to make it through in one piece.  We are also seeing some success with Sister Amor and her family.  Her daughter Lovellia even came this Sunday and enjoyed her church attendance.  I am seeing that she is really getting the gospel fire back in her right now.  

We also saw some set backs here with some people we are working with.  People here love to hide from missionaries... it doesn't really make sense to me (probably because I am a missionary)... but we are the easiest people to get away if you really don't want to listen to us.  Why hide?  It just makes me laugh and think how childish people can be sometimes.  

We are working hard here in Jordan and I am super excited for this next week of adventures.  I am having a blast here and love the work.  I know the church is true and this is the Lord's work that I am doing.  I hope everything is all well on the homefront and no problems.  Graham is getting ready to leave here soon.  I am so excited for him to get the mission experience.  It has been such a ride and I know he will love it.  

I love you all!

Elder Lowry

Picture with Elder Bednar

Elder Lowry is in the back row, 3 to our left of the giant.

Week 103

Hello Family!

This was an AWESOME week here in Jordan for me. I have really enjoyed this last week and I can't believe yet another week has just ran off the calendar and I am here emailing you all again.  Where do I even begin telling you all about my week... getting to meet Elder Bednar, transfers, new investigators?  There is so much. 

Well let's start with maybe the coolest experience of my life as of yet... I got to talk with and shake Elder Bednar's hand this last week.  It was such a cool experience to be around and to talk with an Apostle of the Lord.  He was such an cool and smart person to be around and was a fantastic teacher, as you could imagine.  He had asked us to read two talks he had given in the recent years.  One was Ask in Faith which he gave in 2008 and the other was Seek ye Learning by Faith that he gave to CES educators a couple years ago as well.  First of all those two talks were amazing! I really enjoyed the Seek ye Learning by Faith talk... he brought out maybe one of the coolest points I think a teacher can understand.  It was from a quote he used.  Brigham Young was advising the man who started the Young Men program that he should give time at the beginning of each meeting for the students to bear their testimony.  He said that often times testimonies are found while trying to bear it rather than when we are on our knees praying for it.  Then he linked that quote to a quote from President Packer that said to have the Holy Ghost bear testimony to you that what someone else has said or done is true is important and a vital part of conversion, but to have the Holy Ghost bear witness in your heart that what you have said or done is true is so much better and has a bigger impact on the learner.  I was thinking during the meeting... That is why the church has 19 year old boys going on missions.  You receive such a witness that the gospel was restored in these latter days when you are out on your feet, dripping in sweat, and bearing testimony to strangers that what you have taught is true.  Not that this is the start of a missionaries testimony but I think this is what seals it for a young man.  That is what I have felt on my mission anyways and I am so grateful for it. It also applies to investigators and anyone we are teaching... when we ask those good questions we are really asking them to bear their testimony about something and then the Spirit has an opportunity to witness to them that what THEY said is true and then we witness conversion. So for 1 1/2 hours Elder Bednar asked US questions and then the last part of the meeting we got to ask him questions... about anything.  On the panel were Elder and Sister Bednar, Elder and Sister Ardern (of the seventy), and Bishop and Sister Davis (from the presiding bishopric).  He explained that getting to ask questions to a panel like this will likely never happen again in our lives... and he was right.  We had so much experience and knowledge in that room Tuesday.  I asked Elder Bednar what changes he had seen in himself as he accepted the mantle of being an Apostle of Jesus Christ.  He gave the time to his wife to explain a bit about what she had seen different in her husband and then he talked about how he had felt that his talents had been magnified by the Lord so that he would be able to fulfill the responsibilities given to him.  I have so many cool notes that I will have to share with you all when I get home!

I then got my last companion for my mission.  He is Elder Sefeti!! I was actually his first zone leader while I was still in Hamtic.  So I knew him a bit.  His trainer was Elder Waggoner which is one of my good mission buddies.  He is from Fiji... My first and only Fijian companion.  He is a way cool guy and loves to work hard and have fun.  We were all talking last night hat this 5 weeks are just going to fly by.  We have a super fun apartment... which brings me to my other cool news.  My trainee Elder Quinantoto did it again and followed me here to Jordan.  He is now my Zone leader and lives in the same house as me.  I was so glad to have him come here to Guimaras.  He has followed me wherever I have gone in the mission and it has been such a blessing to be so close with my trainee throughout the whole mission experience.  To see him grow more and more.  I am so excited for these last few weeks in the mission.  I think they are really going to be special for all of us here.  

When Elder Sefeti got here we went straight to work finding new people to teach.  We have found two new families that seem to be promising.  One is the Delacruz family... when we went to their house to tract they invited us right in let us share and made a return appt.  We went back an the whole family wasn't there the second time but we got to teach a couple of them and we have a return appointment for Wednesday.  They are really open to the message and super friendly.  We will see how that goes.  The next family has a much funnier story behind it.  It was the same day we were tracting and sort of towards the end of the time we had planned to tact.  We had met some really grumpy people and had gotten punted around for a little bit.  We went to this one house and called tagbalay! which is what you say at people's doors to let them know they have someone there looking for them.  This woman Anabelle peeked her head out and then ran back and hid.  So we told her that we saw her and we just wanted to chat.  She came out and said she was busy and didn't have time to entertain us.  I told her we just wanted to introduce ourselves to her and promised we wouldn't be long.  We got to know her situation a bit and she said her husband only comes home Sat and Sundays.  So we set up an appointment for Sunday after church and as we were leaving she said.  I hope when you come back you will bring a snack for us.  I turned around so surprised and laughed and said... well, what do you want?  She got really shy and then said I hope you bring the bread of Mormons.  hahaha. I just asked what is the bread of Mormons?  She said she meant the bread from the bakery right next door to the church.  I walked away laughing but completely planning to buy her some bread for the next time.  Well Sunday came around and I already had the bread bought for Sister Anabelle and her craving for Mormon bread... but it was raining way hard.  We went anyways and it turned out the house we talked with her at wasn't her house... The shack behind that house was her house.  She had two cute little boys and is pregnant with the third.  We got to meet her husband Orlando and were able to share a really nice message with them.  They really appreciated the bread even though they were too shy to eat it in front of us.  I was glad that she actually kept the return appointment and now we have another appointment with them this next Saturday.  I am excited for them though.  They seemed super nice and really into the message.  We'll see what happens.  

Like I said... this week was busy and it seemed to just fly by.  I am super happy I extended so I could have these experiences these last few weeks of my mission.  It really is going to be a great memory that I decided to extend.  Well I love you all and miss you all like crazy.  We are coming up on 104 weeks here next weeks.  That is entirely too long to be away from home.  But now I can count the weks on one hand.  THat is a cool feeling to know that we will be back together in 5 weeks.  Until then keep writing me and keep me updated!


Elder Lowry