Columbus Ohio Temple

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hey Everyone!
So I hope everyone is doing well. I'm doing pretty well out here. This past week was kinda rough. I've been thinking a lot about the roll of the sower. And it can be a very hard roll to play. All of the investigators that we had all dropped for the most part or just aren't progressing. We were able to find a couple other people which is a blessing cause we're not completely at a loss. But Sheree dropped us on Sunday after doing some research about Mormons which sucks. I think she'll find her way back though. Tim dropped off the grid again and so we're going to give him a break for a little while. It's been a weird transfer. Cause each week progressively the people just flake out. And I don't think rear ending that guy going 3 miles an hour was a good way to start the week ;) haha but oh well. You live and you learn. Not much I can do except that which is in my control. I'm trying to not feel like a complete failure cause ya know. People dropping can lead to feelings of I'm not a good teacher. And the things I'm not good at I'm trying better to fix those areas. It's been a weird week though. I've been in this little funk and I'm trying to get out of it. We did have a couple good lessons at the beginning of the week. We had dinner with Sam Lee. who is the wife of Jared Lee who is a member. So that was cool. She doesn't like the whole sit down lesson thing or reading the book of mormon or really praying but yet she's come to church every week for the past 5 years cause she's socially converted but doesn't want to give up her lifestyle so she avoids getting a testimony. Or ignores the one she has... I'm still scratching my brain at how to get her to progress.. We also had a lesson with James Hughes. He's an older gentleman and knows a little bit about the church. We had a good restoration lesson with him. But now the hard part is getting in an appointment. Lee Pryor. His Pentecostal church is kicking our butt! They have him so busy over there and he's having a hard time in the "mid-church" phase. He was gonna come to church yesterday but wasn't able to. Which is sad. Yesterday at church everything was focused on Adversity... how appropriate right? It was good. I wasn't able to quite focus as much as I would have liked to. We're doing good. and helping as many people as we can. Yesterday we randomly helped some people move some couches and furniture out of their house cause their being evicted. haha Some real ghetto people but it was cool. I enjoyed it. Made me laugh. I'm trying my best to get out area up and running and being a good leader to help the rest of the district. I gotta do better at focusing on them. We did talk to a couple people though that I felt good about. One was Saturday night. We went to the store to get some cinnamon rolls to make for people and we talked to a lady who has some potential. Her name was Vickie and she was a really nice lady. Then E. McC was gonna pee his pants so we went to the bathroom and there was a guy just chillin in the food court. Only one there and I just decided to talk to him. He was really cool. Claims he's agnostic but I just talked about him and what he enjoyed doing and gave him a card a bore a simple testimony. He's moving up north and actually lives in the Westland ward I think. Or close to it. But that was a cool experience. So not everyday is bad. We have little things that are good but all the big things are what is slipping through. But it's all good. I'm learning lots. OH! we also went on exchanges in the Zone Leader's area and that was interesting... It was a beautiful day around 60 degrees (right now it dropped back down to 27 haha... friggin Ohio..) but we went service contacting in the hood... Not really the best place to do it. We gave some guys a card or two and then turns out it was a drug deal. haha like 2 feet in front of us haha then talked to some drunk rednecks. I also attempted to eat salmon and crab sauce stuff! I didn't finish but I tried it! Grandpa would be so proud ;) haha Then we told the BWC sisters we were gonna blitz their area so they gave us a couple names to try and first door was this like... Schizophrenic Transvestite?... Or something... I couldn't quite make out what she/he was... But anyways that was a funny experience and I couldn't help but laugh cause she like was nice at first and then freaked out on me and it was just surprising. but fun. I love and miss you all. That's pretty much all for this past week. Nothing too special! :)
Elder Derrek Bowler

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hey guys. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
So Bout teaching the drunk guy "I am a child of God" I'm not sure how well he would have remembered it. Still a good idea though. So... This week was pretty rough. We've had a couple good lessons and we were able to get Sheree and her family to church (the people we found last week didn't come and canceled on every appointment we tried to set up with them) one little miracle that happened was that we finally got in touch with Tim after 2 weeks! but for some reason they've canceled on every appointment as well... Pretty much every single day every appointment canceled. And that was very defeating. We've been finding pretty decently. But most of it has a hard time taking off. I liked what you said bout the Sower and such.. That's the conclusion I've come to. But not in that detail. It's hard though, and for me it's not about recognition from anybody. I've never cared about that. But I just feel like I'm not doing any good anymore. Cause like you said, The visible success isn't really there. I've been having a hard time feeling like I'm making God proud. I've made mistakes and done crap and almost like Alec. I've felt I've wasted a lot of time. My mission wasn't what I expected. Haha then again I don't think anybody's is. From all the trials and frustrations and let-downs. I sometimes don't feel like I'm where God wants me to be. Because of the efforts I'm trying to give daily, don't seem like their doing anything. And I feel it's hindering everything else as well. I reflect back on my testimony and wonder if that's the reason. Cause I'm told I can't convert someone beyond my own conversion and etc. So I've reflected on that. And I'm trying now to find my "Why?" to really find my own testimony. Cause I feel it comes and goes and it's not Solid. Maybe I should read previous letters home, but I think mostly it's the 4 weeks in a row of people flakin' out left and right and different trials coming up. I know God is there. But I wanna know if I'm making him even the least bit proud. That's really all I care about anymore. So this past week while in the midst of thinking what it is that keeps me going and why I'm out here. I've run into a couple scriptures and a couple thoughts came to my head that isn't anything set in stone but is gonna keep me going. Like Alma 17: 9-11 (Talks about being an example. Which goes along with what you were saying mom.) and also when I prayed and asked why am I here. the thought came "Because you told me you would." yeah.. that humbled me a bit haha. but it's true. I've never been one to quit but that helped. Still learning. and I'm glad He's patient with me! And just like Brad Wilcox says. Sometimes God waits a little bit until we do all we can to learn and find out our own answer so that we can truly learn more about his purposes and also learn what it is like to be Christlike. Which I'm stubborn and some things are harder to learn than others for me. But I'm getting there. Just gotta get the motivation and drive back up from getting knocked down. But We've been trying to come up with new ways to help the ward get into missionary work because our own efforts aren't following through. We did have a couple fun things happen so don't think that all my thoughts are totally negative. Which they really aren't. I'm just in another situation where I'm forced to learn and grow. And like Alec said. None of the vices we had back home are there to distract us. So it's hard. But it's good. You face disappointments time and time again. And I won't really see how this all effects me and blesses me till post mission but I can see times where it will help out a ton because I had the knowledge and experience I'm having out here. 
We had a really sweet lesson this last week about the Plan of Salvation with Sheree. Which I think it was the first time we've actually taught the Plan of Salvation since I've been in this area. Which is crazy. But it was cool cause they said they felt a peace about some things that had happened. (Lot of lost loved ones) and That's one thing I'm grateful for is the knowledge of the P.O.S. (the good POS haha) so that was cool and they all came to church with us and were ready when we got there and it was sweet. Her two little boys were super shy but they're funny (Tyler is 6 and he said to Sheree when we first stopped by "That guy is Handsome" talking bout me. and yesterday to keep em entertained I just had them draw me some pictures of robot aliens haha :) I keep this stuff. Which isn't surprising.) but yeah they also said they liked church and so hopefully they'll come next week. She is like our most solid investigator that we have right now. So that's cool. We also had a cool lesson with another guy we tracted into (it's hard to get appointments with him too) but we stopped by his house and he was cooking dinner and we just talked a little about the Book of Mormon. and we just taught him how to pray and after we walked out of the front door he actually thanked us. Which helped a ton. I think that's the first time I've ever been thanked. So that was cool. And after that I actually felt the love of God in my heart. It was brief but it was a great stepping stone for me. And I'm glad that I am able to reflect on it. We played glow in the dark Dodgeball that some missionaries threw on in our zone for the community. That was cool. We got Tim there and he seemed to enjoy it. Saturday we helped a less-active move and that was a pretty tough move actually. Limited on help, And nothing was really prepared. But I got a good work out that day haha. Just glad we could help. Her mom passed away and she's been living in the house and it's just been hard on her. So she's now in the process of healing. Friday I went down to Huber Heights again for the contacts and G-Pa Bristow treated 6 missionaries to lunch! Cray cray. but it was really great to see everyone again. :) I love and miss you all. Dad, I still need your testimony and conversion story and Same to Grandpa Steurer. and anybody else who feels like writing one up :) I love you all dearly. thank you for the love and support you've always given me throughout this crazy life! I officially hit 18 months this Wednesday and it is unreal to think about! Love you all! Sorry if this was scattered!
Elder Derrek Bowler.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 10, 2014

Derrek said this was a picture of him getting the call to be D.L
Hey Errybody!
Mom, Thanks for doing the talents thing. That helps a ton. Most days I sit and me always being hard on myself makes it difficult to see the good in myself. It's easy to see it in others. I can easily see what needs improvement and I don't stress too much over it. But That helps me get a base. Especially the thing about Satan distorting our views on our talents... I like that a lot.
So I don't have much to say. We Had a better week than last. We were able to Pick up 4 new gators this last week (Two were a complete miracle! I'll talk about that in a sec) But they seem to show more potential than others we've found. Lot of seed planting....hah. But we were able to find Sheree, Leah, Tamika (Tuhmeeka) and Brian. Sheree is an R.N. and is crazy busy all the time! But she let us in and seems pretty interested in learning and is pretty smart so she at leasts remembers we're coming over and lets us know if work is gonna get in the way. So that's cool. And Leah is pretty cool too. We just went over the Restoration and Book of Mormon with both and both seem interested. Other than that. It was another week of scrambling around.  Appointments falling through... Tim fell of the face of the earth. We haven't heard from him in a week and a half... never answers the door, nor calls... It breaks my heart cause seriously this dude is my brotha! It's like Big Black and Rob Dyrdek haha Pretty close to that actually now that I think about that more! haha Sick... :P
Wednesday we had Zone Conference. That was pretty cool. I cared more about seeing my mission buddies than anything else. They had good trainings. and I learn a little bit each time. Even when it's all repeat of stuff from the beginning of my mish. So that was good. I enjoyed that.

Other funny things that happened were on Thursday I pulled E. Blalock up here for exchanges and that was pretty good. The funny thing that happened was after dinner we were getting in the car and this guy (seemed drunk) came over yelling and askin for a prayer (cause we're christian and errybody knows it haha plus who else wears a suit in the hood?) so we said a prayer and they do the classic circle. He was so stern and told us how he was a fallen angel and disciple of the lord and that he needed help. There's more detail that I'll tell after the mission but homeboy had a friggin death grip on my fingers and after E. Blalock said a prayer he said hold on and he said one. Still breaking my fingers (he gripped the tips all together) but then we started to talk about how Christ can help him "Take the taste out of his mouth" and get him back on the path. Then as I'm talking. He grabs my hand and says (while looking in my eyes like he was about to propose to me or something) "I just need to feel your palm. Keep talking." Then after I finish he talks to E. Blalock saying "I know how to find Christ, But how do I find myself?" and it really was a sad thing and he was so sincere (as sincere as you can be while you're a little tipsy but still) and he grabs E. Blalock's hand to feel his palm and then after we get done talking he kisses both of our hands together. So haha that was funny/weird/crazy and interesting. Interesting has become my number one word on explaining experiences hahaha. then the NEXT day we get in contact with a referral. Straight in the hood. and then after we talk a little bit another guy asks us for a prayer... cause he pretty much got stranded down here in Columbus cause he's from Michigan. He came along for the ride with a "friend' and the guy was wanted or something and the Cops snagged the other dude leaving this guy stranded. No one would help him and honestly I didn't know what to do. Ha luckily Lindsey (the referral) had a bus pass but he needed a little cash and help to get to the bus station to get back home to his family. It was sad too. Cause this guy was a good guy. Just scared out of his mind. So it's cool we got to help. But man was it crazy!
So after all was said and done the weekend finally hits and weekends are pretty stressful. and Not gonna lie I was pretty discouraged and kinda over missionary work. Cause it's been a hard stressful thing trying to get people to progress. And with people droppin left and right I just feel like a crappy missionary. I still can't put together why at the beginning I was successful having baptisms and etc. when I didn't want to be on a mission or care to be a missionary, just doing the work without putting myself into it. Granted I loved the people I met and the friends I gained. that's what kept me going. But now after going through all that I have and deciding to pull my head out of my butt and be a missionary and do the things I've been called to do with a different (and right) mindset, and putting myself in the work how everything just stopped. It's weird. and maybe some one could help me figure that out. I just figured the blessings of baptism helped me to keep going and now I am required to work on a different part of me that God needs after the mission.....I guess that makes sense. but still I get discouraged! haha cause I'm human and not perfect.. Crazy right? ;) But Sunday I didn't get much sleep and woke up all pissy and my sleep was screwed up cause of daylight savings and so on and so on. And then all the people we tried to get to church couldn't make it and I was almost just like. Screw it... Let's just drop my ties off to the Yontz family (she's gonna fix a couple of ties it's a PM family) and right before going in. Tamika is going for a walk. and we talk to her and she starts talking bout how she loves Jesus and etc. and how she missed her church and was bummed but felt like she needed to get outside and do something... Lo and behold we were there... (and this is the kind of miracles that I hear other missionaries talk about and I scoff to myself saying "yeah. That's a load of crap, I've never had that happen!" Yeah... I ate my words that day..) so we just invited her to church and she said "Yeah I think I'll go! I'll just get my family ready and we'll follow you over there. Then Satan tried to stop it by delaying time with Gas, Dead Battery (which started first try) So pretty much I wasn't gonna let them slip. and her whole family came. Husband, Brian. and 3 little kids who are all under 6. They all loved primary and behaved better than the member's kids. Seriously. It was so cool. We were like 15 minutes late and missed the sacrament. but this was well worth it!! So that was cool and then we met with out gator Lee Pryor. Pentecost deacon (very nice guy) and talked about baptism and setting a goal for April 12th. I know of some obstacles that still might come up but he has been taught everything. He just needs to come to Church. Which is super difficult cause Walmart keeps scheduling him on Sundays... But yeah. Pretty decent week!! I love and miss you all! Thanks for the love and support. It really keeps me going on most days! and Alec. I'm proud of you. Way to stick through it. If I can make it. You can too. Trust me on that one.

Elder Derrek Bowler.
Rocking his pajamas from Christmas
He sent this to me for our cats, who just had kittens

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 3, 2014

Hey Erryone!
So mom don't feel bad. You guys I don't think can ever fail me. I just feel bad cause I understand your situation and I don't want to make it worse. I can wait and everything that's no problem, The stupid contacts thing was such a fat headache... I'll talk a little more about that later.
So it's interesting to me how missions work. Sometimes you have really amazing weeks and others you just wait to end. Sometimes the work progresses really well and other times you hit a wall and wonder "what more could I do?" This past week was one of those ones where everything falls through and you're stuck starting over...
So needless to say most of our days were scrambling around trying to visit people see if any were interested or solid etc. Pretty much cleaning up our teaching pool. We find a decent amount of people. Only problem is that it is brutally difficult getting past the Restoration.. We had a good lesson with Tim (I have these Motivational CD's to keep me going on the rough days they're pretty sick) But we listened to that with him to kinda get him pumped to start progressing. That's been a battle in itself. So we're workin on it. Every other lesson we had planned fell through with him cause he has to help his cousin. So it's understandable.
Everyone else isn't really progressing too quick. Most are out of town or working or something. I think Thursday is when E. McC and I drove down to Huber Heights to try and get the contacts.. Yeah that was obnoxious. Totally got denied to even get my eyes checked and to have it cost extra was ridiculous. So I just called E. Beverley, Spaulding, Cook, and Donaldson and we all went to Steak N' Shake for lunch. It was good seeing them. I also got to see Bro. (Grandpa) Bristow. So that was good.
Wednesday I did the District Meeting. It was alright. Nothing special. Like I said. Leadership is overrated but needed I guess. It just doesn't mean anything missionary wise. I did have Mike help me out. It was great seeing him. I miss serving around him. haha But Over all I think it went okay.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all pretty rough days (where all your efforts feel wasted and you just sit back and think... What the heck just happened? haha). Everything fell through and most of our gators we just dropped. We did find a decent amount of people. But pretty much this is what happens when Missionaries are left to find through their own efforts. Guys save the missionaries heartache and help em out. It really doesn't take much more than being a friend to someone and just inviting them. You don't need to teach the gospel to them. That's why there is missionaries. Just take care of the social conversion and be a friend. It really helps us so much and I'm so grateful for the members who sacrifice their time to help us out. There is SO much joy when one participates in the converting power of the gospel. When you guys see that change in someone you care about. You will see a different sense of Joy. and increase in your own testimony. Seriously. I'll bet my left... finger on it. hahaha I think Dad will pick up what I was gonna put down. Sniff what I stepped in. ya know. haha :P
So I gotta jet. But In short I'm glad this week is new so we can start over. We got hit with a snow storm yesterday and yes Church was cancelled for the 3rd time. We were able to get sacrament still at a members home which helped a TON! But I don't have much to say this week. Things are still going good. I would still love to hear your testimony/conversion stories. So That'd be sick. And I don't think I ever got the P90X so that's a bummer. Oh well. K Love you all! thanks for the constant love and support!!

Elder Derrek Bowler