Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19th The Last Email of the mission

Aug. 19 2015
Well, this is it! It is hard to believe that this is my last mission
email. It is so surreal to be at this point. My mind doesn't really
grasp it yet, but I think that's a good thing. Just a few things to
put out there: I really hope that I do not get Kung fu'd by a naked
ninja as I try to enter our house and I really hope there is not a
Tongan exchange student living in my bedroom. If there is, I dibs the
top bunk on the bunk bed. That being said, I am very excited to be
coming home to see you all! 😃

This was a pretty good week/ nine days. A lot has happened, but I can
give some highlights. Twice in the last week, I have driven to
Zanesville, which is about an hour away on the Eastern side of the
mission. I had never really been that far east before. The first time
we went was because Elder Carter needed his permanent retainer fixed
and there's a member out there who is an orthodontist. The second time
was yesterday because both Elder Carter and one of our zone leaders
are going to be training this transfer and had to go to a meeting. Our
other zone leader had an appointment to have his teeth cleaned by the
same member, so I got to go again. It was kind of fun to see a
different place.

This last weekend, Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
of the presidency of the Seventy visited our mission. Our entire
mission got to have a meeting with them. It was a pretty neat
experience to hear from Elder Cook. He took some time to shake each of
our hands. He shared some council with us, bore a powerful testimony,
and left a blessing on the mission. Elder Hallstrom was also at our
stake conference the next day. It was kind of nice to have stake
conference for my last weekend. I got to see a few people that I
otherwise probably wouldn't be able to see before I go.

Yesterday for the first time in a while we had a real lesson with a
member present. We taught J, and it went really well. I think it
was a pretty spiritual lesson, and the member's testimony helped out a
lot. It was probably my last real lesson of that sort on my mission,
and it was definitely a good one to end on.

We had to wake up at 5 today because we were asked to teach the plan
of salvation to the seminary class. There were about 15 youth there,
one of whom wasn't a member. It was held at a member's house. Sister
Lewis, the teacher, gave us about a half hour to teach. It went okay.
It was a neat experience.

By the way, I put your cell phone number on my luggage tags, Mom, as
opposed to the home phone.

Well, being a missionary has been a singular experience. I have
learned so much and changed a lot for the better, and I'm grateful to
have had the opportunity to help others do the same. I know our
Heavenly Father is there and that he loves us. I know he sent Jesus
Christ to save us and to give us the grace we need each day. I know
the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the
earth through the prophet Joseph Smith and that we have living
apostles and prophets on the earth today. I am so grateful for the
scriptures and for the spirit that I feel when I study them. That has
made such an impact on my life. Sharing these truths is almost always
difficult, but it is worth it, and God gives each of us the capacity
that we need to fulfill his expectations for us. I say these things in
the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Schow

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015
We had a pretty good week over here. We were at zone conference for
almost all of Tuesday. That was a pretty good meeting. There was a lot
of spiritual content mixed in with some useful training and tips.
Also, during the meeting, they installed little GPS monitored black
boxes in all our cars called "tiwi" it talks to the driver if he goes
too fast or drives too aggressively or if someone isn't wearing a seat
belt. It creates a driving record that the mission president looks at.
Thankfully, I don't drive too crazy and don't have to worry about it
for long anyway :) Wednesday I led my second to last district
meeting. I was very happy with how it went. Afterwards, I went on
exchanges to Gahanna again with Elder Marvin. It was kind of a dull
exchange, but it was fun. Later in the week, we got to teach N.
again (she is less active). We gave her a large print copy of the Book
of Mormon and she seemed excited to read it. We also got in touch with
an old referral named T. who is friends with a member in BWC. He
shared a lot of his beliefs and experiences with us and it basically
all lines up with what we believe. While I was on exchanges, Elders
Carter and Wright were also able to get in touch with a former
investigator named J. and started teaching her again. It was really
great to have some teaching opportunities.

It was interesting to hear about the deer incident. I am glad everyone
was safe, though. Good job on your race, Mom. I'm sorry your time
wasn't as good as you would have liked. Well, I hope you all have
another good one. I guess I won't be emailing again til next
Wednesday, which will be very busy, but I will see you soon :)

Elder Schow

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015

Well, as I said before, neither of us got transferred, so it looks
like I will be "dying" in Pickerington with Elder Carter. The reality
of how short a time I have left is becoming more and more impressed
upon my mind. Each day is now both very long and very short. We have
been able to do some good things, though, which has been nice. For the
first time in a while some people are actually answering their doors.
We have been able to talk to a few people that we have been trying to
contact for a couple of months. We hope some teaching appointments
will result. We have spent more time knocking on doors, which hasn't
been too bad. We also had a good new-member lesson with K. There
was an IMPRESSIVE thunder storm last night. Sadly, the seal around our
window isn't completely sound and we had a few leaks! Thankfully
plenty of Elders have abandoned old, nasty towels in our apartment.
There were several inches of water in the parking lot. Crazy!
     It is weird to hear about all these people leaving on missions
and coming home from missions and getting married and such. Good job
on your race, Mom! That's neat that you heard from Elder Blalock. It
sounded like the end of his mission went well the last time I talked
to him. I racked my brain and couldn't remember a Chris Davis, though.
Hmm. Anyhoo, I hope you all have a good week!

Elder Schow

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015

Well, we have had a lot more rain this week, which has made things
interesting. Thankfully we have had the car for part of it and have
(out of necessity) spent a LOT of time transferring our records to the
electronic system. It is a time-consuming process. We have also been
experimenting with the planner portion of the new app. It is rendering
the little books that we've had up till now obsolete. I will still
decorate my last one, though :) we didn't have too many lessons this
week, but we did get to talk to a really nice man named Greg who has
investigated in the past. He is a very good person and doesn't  seem
closed off a about the Book of Mormon. We hope we can make some
progress there. We got to go to the temple Wednesday, which was a
really good experience. Brother Henricks was working there that day,
so I got to see him a few times throughout the day and talk to him a
little bit, which was really nice. Earlier in the week, we went on
exchanges with the other Elders in our district. I was with Elder
McDaniel in our area. We had a pretty good time. We have continued our
finding efforts throughout the week. We were finally able to contact
both N. and D. Unfortunately, neither one was interested. K.
is doing really well following her baptism. She is going to the temple
Wednesday to do baptisms for the dead for the first time. We will
probably get to tag along for that, which will be cool. We went to the
Columbus Zoo this morning, which was really cool, even though it was
raining. We also had another musical fireside this weekend. Each month
the fireside rotates to one of the four stake centers in Columbus and
all the missionaries within a one hour radius can participate in the
choir. Since we are fairly close to all four stake centers, we have
been able to participate in a few. Singing in the choir is pretty fun.
The theme of the fireside was patriotic for the Fourth. At each
fireside, a couple of recent converts bear their testimonies, and one
of the ones yesterday was Michelle, who I taught way back at the
beginning of my mission. She and her husband had moved and she had
been investigating all the way up until about a month ago, when she
got baptized! I was happy to learn that she finally was able to get
her answer. I guess it goes to show that things you did almost two
years ago can still bear good fruit today. I'm grateful to be where I
am, and for the wonderful people here. Our Heavenly Father definitely
knows what he is doing. I hope you all have a good week! Have fun at
the family reunion.

Elder Schow

June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

First of all, Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

It was an interesting week. Most of it was punctuated with long-lasting rainstorms. We're told it was the result of a tropical storm down south. It made our plans a bit complicated sometimes, but it all worked out. Early in the week we went on exchanges with our zone leaders. I got to go back to the Gahanna ward with Elder Marvin. I haven't been there since I was in BWC, so it was kind of fun to see it again. The zone leaders have a different apartment now, though. I was able to learn some things that will hopefully help in our area and in the district. We are still getting adjusted to using these newfangled iPad things. Overall it has been kind of fun to use them in our studies. In the last couple of days we have been able to start using the Area Book Planner app, which will replace the great big binders that we have now. It will also track our key indicators for us. The only downside is having to type in ALL the handwritten records from the binder. It is a long process so far. We also have to learn to make sure that everything we record and everything that we email conforms with data privacy laws. It's kind of weird. We are still trying to find people to teach. It seems like that is a struggle in this area, but we're working on it. We are trying to get in touch with a man named N. and a lady named D. We get to go to the temple this week, which we are excited about, but it means that our preparation day is Wednesday instead of today.

To answer your questions, Mom, the interactive pamphlets are an app that anyone can download, even the investigators so they can read them when we're not there. They are similar to the paper pamphlets that we hand out, but with more pictures and content and even a few videos. Baltimore is maybe 2,000 people, but that's just a rough guess. 

I'm glad you all had fun at Sun Valley. It sounds like the new location was pretty good. Thanks for the pictures. It was good to see everyone. I hope you have another good week and continue to enjoy the summer.

Elder Schow

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015

We had some good visits this week, including a few with some
less-active members. We are seeing progress with a couple of them,
which is encouraging. I could see them returning to church fairly
soon. The overall membership of this ward is fairly small, but the
percentage of activity is unusually high compared to most of the wards
around here. It's an interesting dynamic. Also, a convert who was
baptized a month or so before I got to the area had his baby daughter
blessed in sacrament meeting, which was pretty neat. We got to stand
the circle, which was really cool. I've never had the opportunity to
participate in a baby blessing before. Besides the visits, we did a
lot of walking again, but also some biking. Friday, we got done
late having dinner with the bishop and his family and went to ride
home on our bikes, but got caught in a thunderstorm. Just as the rain
was getting super intense, we got to a little shopping plaza and took
shelter under the overhang of the goodwill store. We were stranded
there for a good half hour before bishop Kurtz showed up in his truck
and rescued us. Soon after we got home, the power went out, so we just
went to bed pretty quickly.
    Yes, we did get the iPads this week! We had our zone training
meeting Wednesday and they handed them out and had us set them up.
Since I (and several of the other missionaries) go home fairly soon,
we got used iPads that are owned by the Church. It quickly became
apparent that the one I was given didn't have the correct safeguards
on it and didn't have the Church's special software. It was basically
a regular iPad and I had to give it back and wait until Friday to get
a different one :( it all worked out though. I am using the iPad to
email right now because all the computers are taken at the library.
     K. is ready for her baptism this weekend, and all of the
details are falling into place. We are very excited for her. It is
something she really wants. We are going to try to do a lot of finding
this week, so hopefully we will come in contact with some new people
to work with. I hope you all have a good week this time around. Sorry
about your eye, Mom. I bet that hurt :( that's really cool that Maddie
found all those ordinances and that so many were performed. As Spencer
W. Kimball said, family history and temple work and missionary work
are all the same great redemptive work. I love you all!

Elder Schow

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015

I have not been good at getting emails posted for the last month or so.  Here is the latest :)

Well, not a whole lot of new news to report here. It was so good to Skype with you all at home yesterday. I can't believe it was the last one. I wish Britton and I could have been on at the same time, but I guess we will all see each other soon enough. It's good to hear that Taylor's reception went well.

      We had a pretty good week with some positive contacts. We went on exchanges with our zone leaders, so I spent a day in our area with Elder Marvin, who was in my district at one point a while back. That was pretty fun, even though it was super hot outside and our air conditioner was temporarily out of commission. We had a good lesson with Karen. The ward mission leader came with us, and I think he had a good experience with it. We got in contact with a less-active lady that we have been trying to reach for a long time. We were able to talk to her for a bit and find out more about the people in her family who aren't members. There are Canadian geese everywhere in our apartment complex and the complexes nearby. They all have eggs or goslings, so they hiss and start to chase us if we walk anywhere near them. That keeps things pretty interesting. It's all good though. Well, once again it was really good to hear from you all. I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Schow

It is hard to believe that Elder Ethan has just over three months left--we sure love him and miss him!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 22, 2015

February 22, 2015
Well, we had a pretty good week, though again it was a little slow. I think that's just the nature of our area right now. We keep trying, though. We have been trying to follow up with all of the potential investigators that we have found through our efforts, and that has been helpful. There were a couple of super cold days, as well as a day when about 7 or 8 inches of snow fell, so that slowed us down a little bit, but we found some opportunities to help people, and that was good. One lady said we were an answer to her prayers, which is always good to hear. On one of the really cold days, we took some time to bake cookies and delivered them to some people, which I think made a good impression on them. We had exchanges with our zone leaders Wednesday, which is usually a good experience. It is fun to talk to a different person and to learn some new things. T. is still doing well, but please keep him in your prayers, as well as R. and his family who are experiencing a lot of health problems. It sounds like you all had a good week, which I'm always glad to hear. I hope this week's a good one, too. I love you all!

Elder Schow

February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015
It was another unexciting week, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. We did have a few good visits with people and we feel like T. is making progress. His mom is very involved in his conversion process and while she doesn't want to join the Church herself at this point, she is very supportive of him being baptized. She says that the more she learns about the Church, the better she feels about it all. As I might have mentioned before, President Daines has given us a little bit of time each week to spend on family history, so it has been really neat to be able to read a lot of stories about my ancestors and see where they all come from. On Wednesday, we went on exchanges, so I was with Elder Pippert up in the Piqua ward. It was pretty fun to spend a day up there and we found a few people willing to have the missionaries come back. We had to take our car to get fixed later in the week because the wiper fluid wouldn't work. It just turned out that a hose was pinched off, so they fixed it easily. It's been very cold the last few days, which has required some adapting, but we keep trying. 
One other thing that we've been doing lately that has been neat is reading the Book of Mormon as a mission between early February and April 20th and highlighting either references to Christ or the the Gospel of Christ. I've been doing the first one, and it is really neat to see how often Christ is talked about- multiple times on almost every page. It has helped me concentrate as I read. 

Well, I hope you all have a good week and that things keep going well.


Elder Schow

February 9th 2015

February 9, 2014
It was a pretty good week. We were able to put in a lot of good work finding, which isn't bearing fruit yet. At least we know we tried hard, though. We had a zone conference on Wednesday and for a few hours on Friday with our zone and the other zone in our stake. There was a lot of good information and we set some goals to report back on. The whole thing focused a lot on finding and trying different approaches in contacting people. That is something we have been working on. Large mission meetings are usually pretty enjoyable and it is fun to interact with some of the missionaries that I don't see too often. We managed to have a couple of good lessons this week. T. is making a lot of progress and is working on praying and thinking of a baptismal date. We are starting to review the lessons with D. and W. and hoping that it will make a difference for them, so that is good. We are trying to teach R., but he has been pretty sick. Hopefully he will feel up to a lesson this week. It is often amazing to me how hard and wearing this work can be. It never really seems to get easier. However, there are times that make it all worth it. I feel like I have learned so much and I hope I am making a difference to people. Ohio is a pretty great place. 

I'm glad to hear that things are going okay for everyone at home. I hope the doctors are able to continue helping Naomi. I've been trying to keep her and everyone else in the family with health problems in my prayers. 

Well, I hope you all have a blessed week and a happy Valentine's Day. 

Elder Schow   

Monday, February 2, 2015

Feb. 2, 2015

February 2, 2015
The winter has been pretty spotty here, so I'm not sure what difference six more weeks will make, but having things warmer would be nice. It sounds from your messages like everything is going pretty well for everyone, which is always good to hear. This week was a little slow in terms of results in our work, but we worked hard, and that is the most important thing, I suppose. We've really been striving to make our plans effective and to find through a variety of methods. We've also been trying to meet a lot of the less-active members in our area that we haven't met before. I got some sort of stomach bug  Thursday, which wasn't too fun. I spent most of the day resting, then we worked Friday, and I felt much better by the time that Saturday rolled around. It really wasn't a very exciting week, but it was a learning experience, so that's good. I wish I had more to write, but I can't think of anything :) sorry. I love you all, though, and I hope you have a good week!

Elder Schow

January 26, 2015

Jaunary 26, 2015

Well, Wednesday was an interesting day. We had fun playing some games with the ward mission leader and a few other people, then transfer calls came. Elder Orton got transferred. Later that evening, President Daines called and told me I was training. They didn't tell me on the regular day since I went to the training meeting just a few months ago. It was a big surprise. We got to the transfer meeting safely, despite the fact that Elder Orton's bike fell off the rack on the freeway. It was miraculously dragged along by a strap and when we pulled over, the only damage was a big scrape on the seat and some scuffing on the hand grip. Eventually we got to the meeting. My new companion is Elder Davis, from Mount Pleasant, Utah. He seems like a good missionary, though he is pretty quiet. It is always a rough couple of days starting training because the new missionary doesn't know the area or anyone in it and the trainer has to make most of the plans, but it has turned out okay so far. The baptism on Saturday went well. The only hiccup was that the water was cold. B and B.J. were pretty excited, though. The confirmations went well yesterday, too. Another neat thing happened yesterday.One of the recent converts in the ward, D. P., was receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood and asked me to be the one to do it. I have never done that before, so it was a really neat experience. Now we are trying to find new people to work with. I'm not sure if I've mentioned R. before, but most of his family are members and he is excited to work towards baptism. I hope that works out. I hope you all had a good week. I always appreciate the email. I would really appreciate some paper letters, too, especially in the next few weeks. I love you all so much. I can't believe how fast a mission goes or how difficult it is, but I know I am growing a lot and I am grateful for that. Have a good one!

Elder Schow

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 20, 2014

January 20, 2015
Well, it was a pretty great week.We had a lot of good contacts and some very positive lessons. B. and B.J. are now working towards being baptized Saturday, which is pretty great. We are excited and hope everything works out there. We had a couple of exchanges this week, which is always interesting. I got to work with one of the Elders from the district here in our area, and also got to go work with Elder Nelson in the zone leaders' area. Exchanges are a lot of fun because you can talk with the other missionary about so many things in the mission. The younger man we've started teaching, T., came to church Sunday and really enjoyed it. We are having our first official lesson with his family tonight. We also get to formally start teaching a man named R. this week, whose family are mostly members. We are excited with how well things are going. 

Leadership calls were yesterday, but we didn't get one. President did call us, but he meant to call the Sisters. Seeing President's name on the phone is always an interesting experience. Anyway, nothing new on that front. Transfer calls are tomorrow, so we will see what happens. I am not sure what to expect, but I'm guessing I will stay in this area at least one more transfer.

I'm glad the redecorating and anniversary party went well. That is really neat that so many people came. 

I love you all and hope you have another good week!

Elder Schow

Jan 12, 2014

January 12, 2014

This was really a good week. After I emailed you all last week, we went bowling with our zone, which was a lot of fun. Then, we and the zone leaders went with a couple of members to tour a cave called Ohio Caverns. It was really big and super cool. I got a lot of great pictures, but I'm not sure if I'll have time to send therm today. They kind of look more cool than the cave did in person :) We have had some good plans this week and have been blessed with some good appointments. Tuesday was very snowy, so we basically spent the whole day shoveling and had a lot of positive contacts with people. It was neat. I went on exchanges with the Elders in the Piqua ward on Wednesday, so I was up working in the city of Troy. That was pretty interesting. It is always a neat experience to work with different Elders in different places. Interviews with President and Sister Daines were on Thursday, which was good. I feel like my interview went well. We were given counsel in the meeting to really try to follow the planning guidelines in Preach My Gospel, and we have bee trying to apply that throughout the rest of the week. It has actually made our work go more smoothly and be more enjoyable. We had a couple of breakthroughs with part-member families this week. One lady, whose sister is a member, and her son are going to start learning about the Church and reading the Book of Mormon, which is a super big step for them. Their extended family is very prejudiced, so it will be interesting, but hopefully everything works out. B. a B.J. were still sick, but we plan to see them soon. D. came to church on Sunday for the first time since I've been here, which was a really good step. It is pretty amazing what can happen if we just keep trying with these people and do our best to be diligent. There can be miracles. Well, I hope you all have a good week. I'll see if I can get those pictures sent. There are a lot! Love you all!

Elder Schow