So to be completely honest here this past week was one of the hardest ones I've had so far on my mish. I was close to snapping multiple times and was just over everything. It's like really boring here cause I don't really talk cause there is nothing to talk about. Like I said. Polar opposites with my comp (He got after me for chewing gum at the store....) But I had some fun and got him to believe I got a tattoo. I don't know if I told that or not... Anyways. The end of the week was a lot better than the start of it. This past week it seemed like everything just hit at once and it was a fun little trial. But I'm growing from it and this next week looks a lot better and I don't feel as stressed. Church was definitely needed. Even though everyday as a missionary is based around "Church" actually going to Church is a huge sigh of relief and gives me a great recharge. So going through the days.
Monday was alright. Besides just being stressed from trying to figure things out and still make it fun and enjoyable my body decided to have some Eczema on my neck that started to get sore and hurt. (It got worse later on) I also threw up again that morning. but Pday was boring. Just sat around.. but anyways when we went out to work we went and tried a potential who lives in our complex. They let us in and the Husband (who had a lazy eye and I couldn't tell where he was looking) just bashed with us and talked smack on the BoM and it just pissed me off cause he's from Ghana and I couldn't understand some of his questions. He was right in his doctrine he just didn't have all of it. So after walking out of that and having them invite us to their church we went and tried a couple people with a member. No one was really home. We tried a PM/LA family the Oldfields. Such a sad situation they live in. I don't know how they do it. They're neighbor pulled us aside and told us to watch out for bugs there. (Bed Bugs and Lice prolly and roaches and everything else) So we talked to them, they want us to teach their 8 year old daughter before she gets baptized this summer (She'll be 9 by then) but yeah we're gonna prolly start that up soon and it'll help maybe get the dad interested as well. After we went to the Lotti's house. They're active and we just went to get to know them better. We had dinner with them on Thursday which was pretty good.
Tuesday I woke up and my neck had started to pus pretty bad because the spots on my neck got infected somehow. Prolly rubbing against my collar and what not. But we're on bikes for a while and it's been pretty cold so we bundle up but I think with the frustrations of everything it was just that small thing I normally wouldn't have minded that was just about to push my last button kinda thing. We rode around and tried to meet some people on our list. We went to the top left part of our area and met Kenny Cooper. He's a cool guy. Talks a lot but he's cool. I found a bed bug on my sleeve when we left and that put me in paranoia mode for a little bit. We also got to meet the Kohrman family. They're super sweet. I love going over there. We went like 3 times. Twice for Dinner cause we didn't have any! It was good. But They're little boy Dexter was eating mulch and thought it was the funniest thing. We biked back and got picked up from dinner. On the way back I think someone stole something cause a ton of cops whizzed by and they had the helicopter out. So we ate at the Whiteheads. That was good. Then Bro. Booth (awesome member) Came with us to a lesson with the Jennings. The other Elders gave us Tim Jennings (he's not a member) but he's super sweet. Overcoming an addiction with alcohol. so I'm excited to help him out with that. The whole week we've tracted a lot and tried to find. So we got a lot of potentials. Just not a lot of gators.
Wednesday was prolly the hardest day, It was just one of those days where everything just kept happening. Even for E. McCullough.. I woke up not feeling to well and my neck was really bad. I have a picture of it. But we had Zone Meeting. Which was alright. I found another bed bug on my jacket when I went to clean my neck off. I called the Doctor and he told me to get some antibiotic ointment and put that on. So a the pus stopped and things settled down. I just gotta get rid of the eczema now. But yeah. After lunch we went and got the stuff at Giant Eagle. Tried to find some gloves for my comp. And we rode to try a couple people. It was cold and pretty wet. When it snows here the streets get all slushy and then they freeze. So yeah. Nothing too eventful.
Thursday was a little harder. It snowed that day. We went to the hood to go and work and we tried a couple people. There were a couple funny experiences with crazy people we met. But We got a couple good potentials. On is a Jehovah Witness. So that was pretty cool. We're teaching her tonight. Thursday I slipped on Ice 3 times in like 5 minutes. Which falling wasn't a big deal. I've crashed a bike a ton so it wasn't bad. It was just so annoying that it kept happening! The third time I just threw my helmet and walked home. We weren't to far. I wasn't using my bike cause my bike was down. Luckily that night a member fixed it up. But yeah.
Friday. We had weekly planning. We did comp inventory. I told E. McC he needs to relax and just be himself. Cause I can see that he isn't and he doesn't know the balance between it all. So yeah. Friday was a humbling day after it was finished. I was stressed about everything and trying to figure out how we're gonna get this area up and running. While we were biking we got a good potential and we said a little prayer and the little 2 year old boy was holding my hand (People pray in circles here) and after the prayer he wouldn't let go. I'd say bye then he'd just grad my hand. I Just thought it was cute. Then as we were riding a school bus pulled up next to us and there was this little girl who I waved too. (Normally they don't wave back especially when I'm all covered up) but she paused then Waved and smiled. She will never know how much I needed that. That gave me just a little to keep going. Then at night I was writing about it in my journal and usually kids just love the missionaries. I don't know why. But my theory is because we are his representatives. And for these little kids to not have that in their lives I wonder if they cling on to any source of that light they just left. Then I wondered if the little girl saw Christ riding a bike in the snow just trying to share his message. That was the turning point of my week. It was humbling and helped me a lot. I don't have much time. But the rest of the week went well. We got some good investigators and church helped me a ton. This week looks better and I'm glad it's a new start. I love and miss you all. Have a good week everyone! one day I'll send pics!
So Honestly I apologize for last week. I feel bad for not writing much at all cause we had a decent past couple weeks. But now I don't have much time for all that. So sorry I'm a slacker! I will say that we went out and worked in the -40 degree weather last week and that was seriously the coldest couple days of my life. I'm just glad I got to experience it cause it was pretty cool. And I have a bunch of pictures and such explaining everything we did but I forgot my camera! So next week I'll get that out to you.
So just in short (I gotta get running soon so that's why) I'm up in Columbus again on the East side of it now. In the Big Walnut Creek ward. Which has like 70 active members. It's small. But they are great people. I got doubled in with E. McCullough. (Mc- Kulla) and we opened up a new area here. We were supposed to have a car but they don't have one for us yet. So we've been walking about 10-15 miles a day since Thursday. The other missionaries didn't give us much to work with or much info on anything so it's been kinda stressful. Plus my comp is complete polar opposites of me. So it's a learning experience all around. But this area has sick potential and great members. So I'm excited to see what we can do here! I think this is my test cause President mentioned something like this in my interview a couple weeks ago. I won't go into too much detail on that because he was on one that day and was getting after everyone. (not so much me. he was just staunchy) but yeah good stuff. We've talked to a lot of people on the streets. Relatively good contacts. Got a couple gators in a couple of days. So yeah. Fun Fun! We're in the hood again. Kinda like Westland but not so White Trash now. So I'm on guard a little more. There was a kid who asked me to smoke a blunt with him. But he was just being cool for his friends. Ha Tool.. Gotta love it though! We took over the sister's area cause they needed the nicer neighborhoods. So we got the Hood. Which is cool. I'll be sure to send out more pics! Is that hard drive on the way by chance? Just so I can start transferring stuff over. Everything I have is full now. So I gotta go! I love and miss you all! I'm doing good under the circumstances and excited to see what we can do!
Sooo I'm being transferred. And I'm pretty bummed about it. I loved this area and now I get to leave it. Right when things start picking up. I have a really bad headache right now and can't think of anything to write really so I'll look back through my journal and write details on Monday. We've had a pretty good past week. Last week we had interviews and all of that and President was on one and was just getting after everyone. I pretty much knew I was gonna get transferred from that moment on but now it's for sure. and even though I can't remember much right now I know that this past week was eventful haha. And frustrating and good all at the same time. It's how missionary work is. I'll send pics though for this week and such. Sorry ha. I just don't feel good enough to write. I love you all though. Thanks for everything!
It was so good to see you guys! I was in denial when they first told us we were going to be able to Skype this year because President is just so anti technology. But I'm glad we were able to. And don't feel bad for Calvin. I actually enjoyed it cause it was fun and I could tell it was good for him. As for the Churchy topics getting him wired out is totally understandable. At least I got a little bit in. But I could tell there is still something deep down inside him. It probably won't come out until I get home, But don't apologize for it at all. It helped me and I had a great time. Alec called me when we got back to the apartment and I loved talking to him to. It was Christmas so I took advantage of it. It was good to hear his voice and laugh same with you guys and Calvin and Ashton (even though he didn't say much) and Dallen... Ha it was just great all around. So I got my eyes checked out. The exam was 95 and she said the contacts That last a month at a time are 55 a box... Soo.. Yeah.. if you have like 100 bucks extra lemme know.. I can hold out for a couple weeks with the trial pair she gave me. (Craziest lady I've ever had checked my eyes out... haha) Also I haven't received my pants yet and I might use the leftover money you put in for the foam roller thing for my back if that's cool. and also about the hard drive. Just leave my stuff that Calvin took from my phone and all that on it. I won't touch it. I just don't want to have to worry about it being lost if you guys have to wipe your computer again. Since it's like the second time dad's done that... So thanks for sending it out. Trust me I'll take care of it haha.
Anyways. I don't have much else to say this week other than Diana did get baptized this weekend!! It seriously was a miracle. I can't believe we actually had one and it felt so good to be apart of it. We had two investigators there (Kimberlee and Momo) who are friends of Megan Collins (the family we split wood for, she's the daughter) were at the baptism and they totally got smacked in the face by the spirit and they are now going to get baptized themselves soon! It's so cool cause they both want it. I hope I stay in this area another transfer. And also Joee (the girl we found street contacting) is still super solid. She was out of town this past week but she texts us and keeps asking us about church and etc. No one does that out here haha! It's so cool! So things are looking so good for January! Plus we should be meeting soon with Cindy and her family! So I'm super stoked for that.
So it seems like the little experience you had with your missionaries got you a little fired up haha. It's all good. I would too because they're slightly on the dumb side. and I'm sure they think everything is totally fine. Thanks for the advice. It's a good reminder. That's one thing you learn over trial and error. I try to bring up everything with a ton of love and acceptance, and for me it's really easy cause I don't care about people's past or their decisions. I think some tattoos are pretty sick and I can see why people like em. I wouldn't get one cause I can see myself regretting it when it's all old and wrinkly. But people like Scott Taylor back home and Tory and Jennifer Elrich have some pretty cool ones. It's just like Al Fox. I love seeing people come into the church with visible differences because my respect is so high for those people cause you can see the past they've had and they've chosen to fix it all and just be better. That's what I love about the gospel. We all have our days where we feel low and insecure and maybe the church just requires too much. But God only asks us to do a little better each day. We don't have to figure everything out at once and definitely not before we make sacred covenants. Shoot. We'd all have no hope if that was the requirement. All of the many interview questions never ask if you're perfect. All it asks of us is if we're doing our best with what we know. Fix the wrong and just keep believing. Most of the questions are all about if we have a testimony. And I love Pebbles testimony because he says so powerfully, "I don't know for sure that God is real, or that I know this Church is really true, But I know what the Book of Mormon and this gospel has done for me and the person it's made me today. Alma says that faith is a HOPE for things that are NOT seen but that are TRUE." His testimony is that he HOPES with everything he's got that these things are true. And at first it takes a while to think about. But His testimony brings the spirit so strong. It's what got Mike to take the plunge. And I think once we all realize that if we just keep that hope burning inside us. It's going to take us so far. Even through the trials, the doubts, the fears, the insecurities, through repentance, sorrow, grief, and even the happy, joyful, and blissful moments in our lives. I know I'm not perfect. I make dumb mistakes from time to time because I'm human. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Because I require so much of myself sometimes. I pray each night just for the strength to be better. And from day to day I may not see it. That's normal. But looking over the course of my experiences and my mission and my life. I've come so far. And I just pray we all can realize that. I love the quote "Celestial beings don't wonder how they got to the Celestial Kingdom. They KNOW how they got there."
I love my savior and all that he's done for me. I'm grateful for the many blessings he has so willingly given me even when I don't deserve them. I love the learning and the experiences I am gaining. I will always have my doubts and my fears but I know that with him standing next to me. Nothing can stop me. I love you all. I am so blessed to have the amazing family and friends that have made me who I am today. Thank you all for playing a huge part in my life and the lessons I have learned from all of you. You all mean the world to me. I love this Christmas season and the gift I got to see my family. I love you guys! Thanks for being there behind me all this time. :)
With much love,
Elder Derrek Bowler.
P.S. I got a bunch of pictures to send from Christmas with the Cindrics and everything else. Even Diana's Baptism and such. :) Enjoy!
So yeah the whole sick thing just lasted for a day. Monday night I took some Nyquil and just passed the crap out haha. The biggest thing I'm bummed about it the fact my record of not spewing has to start over. (I just got the Wayne's World scene where he pulls out the little cup haha) anyways. So the product is called "Hardstyle" It's like a gel/paste thing. I dunno. Ask Judi Schofield where you can get it for cheap. I haven't been able to find it out here though. But yeah. It's like a small black tube with red on it if that helps. Thanks for the money. I'm glad I can start seeing better again (Like instantly improved vision isn't at the top of my "to-do" list ;P) also any clues as to what Calvin wants? I have some ideas.. But just let Mike know so I can get the memo. Actually. Nvm.. I have to buy it today to get it.. JK. Thanks for that though anyways. I'm glad you're talking to Liz. She's great and I miss her and Tommy. They were a ton of fun. I keep in contact with Mike. I wish I could be up in Westland or that area to see him more. Oh well. I'll just see him a ton after the Mish.
So In all honesty. This past week was brutal. It seems like everything we have tried with our investigators doesn't quite work out and they're progressing but ever so slowly. It's frustrating. The mission has been pushing hard to the finish line but we're pretty much not going to get a baptism in two weeks. We could but it'd take a freakin miracle. We're changing small things to do better this week. You live and you learn. But it's like stressful because everyone is in such a crazy situation that takes a lot more than us to help with. But we did have a couple sweet lessons this past week at the beginning. But the end of the week just kinda tanked... I mean Church was even cancelled I don't think you can get much worse than that! The stupid parking lot was all iced over cause it was all snowy/slushy and no one plowed it and it all froze over and had a ton of ice.. So yeah. We were gonna have a good day at church but Satan can fall in a hole. Homeboy's fighting hard against us and at times I wish I could just smack him... One day. haha. So I'll just touch over a couple highlights that's been going on this past week.
Monday I was all sick and achy and just needed to rest. But I still walked around and did missionary work. Nighttime was great cause I got to crash hard. But Wednesday after District Meeting E. Montgomery bought some Pizza and we had lunch as a District. We have a sweet group of people and we all talked for like an hour and a half just getting to know each other more. We did first impressions. (Either people didn't know who I was or they thought I was a crappy missionary from rumors they heard from the stupid fire. So a lot of them know what's up and how I'm pretty misunderstood. It's amazing what goes around but you just gotta roll with the punches and know in your heart things are ok. [it took a couple days after that cause I'm just so tired of dealing with crap and the past couple weeks I've been doubting myself and who I am as a missionary, two reasons, People have that preconceived notion and the work is slow here.. Once people get to know me things are ok. but I'm glad I get to prove people's opinions wrong.]) E. Chhay and his last companions baptized like 5 families and left us with nothing and the people we have are so close to baptism and they want it. They just have huge obstacles in their way. They'll get it soon. I know the will. After D-Mtg we had E. Montgomery down with us and E. Spaulding went to Huber Heights 3 with E. Cook. It was pretty good. E. Montgomery isn't personable and he's so stiff and gets pissed off over dumb little things.. I'm sure he hates all of us cause we laugh and have fun and are normal around people. So yeah. His problem. But we taught a super sweet lesson with Genevieve. We watched a couple clips from the Christmas Devotional (since we haven't seen it) and we finished with Elder Nelson's talk I think it was? With the kids singing and such. Anyways that was a powerful talk and it was what I needed personally. Cause I've just been wanting to know that things are ok with me and God. Since I feel I'm just bringing things down (I'm prolly not and I'm just beating myself up again but still) it helped a ton and it brought the spirit super strong. So we were putting a lot of emphasis on making sure her moving (this Friday btw) to Pennsylvania is really what God wants her to do. It's the most important factor in all of this cause they don't even have a house yet. Both of their divorces aren't finalizing and they still want to get married. And I think with her last husband she prolly feels she can't get better. Josh (her BF) is a good guy and all but the whole agnostic/ "I can never believe in God" crap isn't the best to be around if you're trying to build even more faith in God. He's a dingle berry. So anyways. She decided to move and continue on with her plans (which I'm having faith that God will still take care of her and help her get baptized. Cause she wants it and knows this is true) So we're trying to prep her for missionaries down there and such. We're going to watch the Chastity talk by Elder Bednar and It talks about Cohabitation and such and maybe that will help? It has to. So yeah. Stressful! Anyways. While on exchanges we went sledding with Adrian (there's pics) I got funny videos too but it was a good time and we enjoyed ourselves with that. :) Adrian needed it too. He's 12 and a good kid. Just getting use to new hormones like the rest of us. :) haha cause I was a punk. honestly... I straightened my hair.. you can't get worse than that.
We tried to find more this week so we went knocking around and got a lot of sweet potentials (all of them were street contacts). One turned into an investigator and we found her cause we were knocking and there was an icicle hanging down and I was tall enough to where I can bite it off. So we got a picture (it's included) and Adena walked by and said in a classic black lady tone "I saw dat!" "What you doin eatin that. Don't you know dat's dirtay?" So we laughed and talked and met again later in the week and taught her and had a good lesson. I think she'll progress well. She's 18 and lookin for answers apparently. :) She's funny.
We had meetings with the Stake President and President Nilsen and the other Zone Leaders, and we also had the Ward Christmas Party on Friday since it cancelled last week. It was good and we had a good turn out! Pretty fun evening. A lot of non-members and inactives showed up (there would have been more last week but what can you do) So I mean it was a pretty decent week but at the same time it seems like not a whole lot happened. And it's not like we're not working either. Just no one is home. Winter is harder too cause no one wants to open the door. Which is fine. It is pretty friggin cold so I don't blame em. haha
Saturday we watched Nathan Lewis' baptism cause he loves missionaries. We helped with the interlude part of it. The sisters here in Huber Heights 2 were gonna have a baptism but she couldn't make it cause she got stuck in Dayton with an Ultrasound. President and Sister Nilsen were gonna show up to that too! haha and now she dropped off the grid... It's nuts. Satan is just messin everything up! This battle is so real. You just can't physically see it. But you can see it's effect's.
So we did receive some good news last night from Sis. Lewis. She updated us on Cindy, Dave, and her daughter Anna. They were talking and said that they want to have us over at their house (Cindy's) for dinner to meet with them. Dave is opening up more and has questions for us and Anna feels bad for us cause E. Spaulding and I both got "Dear Johned" (sp?) and wants to meet as well to prolly see why we give up so much even people back home. Ha who knew that would help me with missionary work in that way pretty cool stuff. So future events look great. The past is the past and there's not much we could do about that but hey fun stuff. We make it fun and laugh. We get along pretty well and make light of dumb situations. E. Spaulding is going to tour our Zone to strengthen each of the Elder's areas to help them with those they have on date since we're prolly not going to get one. We'll just help others. E. Beverley and I are gonna tackle our area and we'll blitz some of the Sister's areas to help them out. So it'll be a hectic but good week. I got lots of pics. Some are from bowling a while back. and just other fun random ones. We all got mustaches from little 25 cent dispensers and then E. Spaulding and I bought some at the dollar store. I also made some "Chex Crack" to give to people and it all settled to this one giant clump! The picture is the smaller broken portion. It was like twice that size. And there's also some pics from our little photo shoot (I don't remember if I said something about that in my last email.) So fun stuff. That's pretty much it for this week. I love and miss you all! I hope you all have a great week especially with Christmas coming up! Merry Christmas!