Columbus Ohio Temple

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 24, 2014

Hey Erryone!
So first few days as a DL wasn't anything to special. Just a lot of phone calls and talking to more missionaries. Not gonna lie, Leadership is pretty overrated. The only thing I like about it is that I get a chance to grow personally in different ways and also get a chance to help other missionaries. Everyone in my district has been out less than a year except for a one of the ZL's who flew out with me. So it's interesting being on the opposite end of the spectrum... Ha I'm a dying breed..
I love the Currant Bush talk. I actually used to have the Hugh B Brown's version of it (I forgot it in Huber) but that's one of the things I'm trying to work on. Is understanding and taking advantage of opportunities to grow. And be better, and do better. I'm still a goofy kid and still have the same sense of humor, but with all of the experiences I've had over the past year and a half. I've grown... A TON! And at the beginning when my mind and understanding weren't completely there it was hard. I would dig my heals and "Raise my fist up in the air at god" and ask every night "How could you do this lord? I've tried my whole life to be good and to do good. How could you do this" as I cried myself to sleep some nights. Granted I haven't cried since the beginning of my mission (except when saying goodbye to loved ones) There are always new challenges arising, the only difference is that I have more faith. I have more understanding. And when I take each opportunity as a chance for me to grow, and I let God guide it. I don't worry. With the whole DL thing. It's whatever. I don't desire leadership. Cause I know it doesn't matter. BUT, I've realized that God is now taking me on another step of my life to learn and grow. Plus it allows me to think of what I can do to help others, Cause there are days where I just think about me, me, and maybe a couple other people... haha but it's not about that. I've known it wasn't, but like I said. Sometimes our views get a little distorted. Also as I think back through my mission. Each trial has been something completely different. And I've grown incredibly from them all! Did I get frustrated and irritated and stressed through them? Absolutely!! Did I question why? Yes. Where they all opportunities for growth and development? Heck yeah! Am I Eternally grateful, for a loving Heavenly Father, who sees my mistakes and my insecurities and my weaknesses and knows my fears, doubts, and questions. And loves me enough to keep pushing me to be better? Even when I sometimes dig my heels in and ask "How could you do this?".... I can't begin to describe my appreciation for such a loving Heavenly Father.
I asked you to remind me about Tim Jennings. Tim is an investigator we have. His wife and step-daughter are both members but are kinda flaky with the gospel. Tim (like every single one of us out there) has weaknesses and struggles. He is working to overcome his addiction to alcohol. He doesn't remember much from what he reads so most of our lessons have been on basic topics. Like Mosiah 7:33 and the acronym C.P.R. (church, pray, and read {which I think is what my homecoming talk is gonna be on}) and other times it's been about the love of God for him. He's slipped up a couple times when we've gone over and I can tell when he's a lil tipsy. But I have never had lessons that were so powerful and so deeply spiritual as the ones we've had with Tim. I wish I had pulled my head out of my butt a year ago to where I can feel the spirit like I do now. And teach the people I love like I do now. It's not even me. It's the spirit. But now it's just a clearer signal. (I often think how things would have been if things were like this a year ago.) But I can't change the past so it's whatever. But each time we've had a lesson, my testimony has grown. And I feel the love God has, not only for me, but for Tim. and everyone else in his home. And it's because of these lessons, my understanding of how God works has grown a little. I still have a ton to learn, but that will come over time. I know when I get home life will continue to change and shift on me and everything like that. and I know I will still have my days where I get frustrated. Cause I'm human. but I am grateful for my Savior and also my Father in Heaven. I continually pray that I am becoming the man they both need me to be. I pray for all of you guys. I hope those who are struggling can feel Heavenly Father's love. It's such an empowering force in one's life and soul. If any of you are struggling or having doubts or questions. Please know Heavenly Father is aware of you, even when it doesn't feel like it. I know what it feels like to lose myself, I know what it is like to be so clouded with darkness that there seems to be no light around. But it was only when I put my trust in God that he helped me. and I started to get myself and my head back. That's what the Atonement helps with.

 I had the impression this past week to stop by Danny and Debbie (some flaky gators we helped out with food last month) but they've been starving again and we pretty much stopped them from killing each other and themselves. Danny was on Rage mode and He cursed God. Denied a prayer. and Sat there cussing at me cause I told him God still loves him. And granted. It is very hard to see that when you get jumped for 6 bucks, Have no food, and are left to struggle. And I don't know why God lets things like that happen. (Actually never mind. I read the account of King Limhi and his people being beaten, abused, and afflicted even unto death. The main reason is because they were wicked and Abinadi prophesied that those things would happen. but there is a part where after they were sad, they got angry, when they got angry, they tried to battle the Lamanites, and lost horribly. Then after much mourning, they got mad again and tried to fight again... and lost. Only when they were compelled to be humble the Lord delivered them from their afflictions. But he was "slow to hear their cries, nevertheless, he DID hear them" I know that when trials and hardships and sorrows arrise. We only have two options. Get angry and have life fall apart even more, or humble ourselves and seek the Lord's help through it all. Either way at the end of it all. We're going to have to be humble. The people of King Limhi did.

I love you guys. I love the experiences I'm having. I still have hard days. But hard is good. I miss you all. and thank you all for the constant love and support you offer me. Can't wait to hear from you and also see you guys!!
With much love,
Elder Derrek Bowler.


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