Wednesday, November 19, 2008

OH CANADA!

The past week has been the craziest of my life. Seriously.
The end of my time at the MTC went by so fast I hardly
remember what to tell you. Needless to say, I'm in
CANADA!!!!! We got to Edmonton on Monday around noonish. The
flight was good and they didnt even offer Dr. Pepper on the
plane so that was easy haha. Ok I sent you a letter in the
mail on Monday from President Rhodes' house but I will
try to reiterate as much as possible so this makes sense. We
met President and Sister Rhodes at the Edmonton Airport.
They are so nice and they have the Spirit so strong with
them all the time. You can just feel it. So that night we
went to their house for some training, like "Welcome to
Edmonton" stuff and the mission cook made us
Thanksgiving dinner. It was so so so good. Then we had a
fireside with President and went to bed. I was exhausted
from traveling, it had been such a long day. The next
morning we got up at 5 because there were 13 of us that had
to get ready before breakfast. It took forever ha but
somehow I still had hot water and I was towards the end.
Then we had some more training about how to ask an
investigator to pray with the Assistants to the President.
And then it was off to the big event of the day - Transfer
Meeting! It was like getting my mission call all over again
ha. They called us up one by one to the podium to open the
envelope with our first transfer in it. So I'm the last
to get called up, I open the envelope and read:

Area: Beacon Hill
(Fort McMurray)

Trainer: Elder Tengelsen

Look up Ft McMurray on a map. Right now. It's 5 hours
NORTH of Edmonton. Yes. The only person who got sent further
north than me was my MTC companion Elder Meacham, who is in
Yellowknife, NW Territories. So I'm kind of freaking out
right, but thinking it's ok I have five hours to kind of
prepare myself. That's when Elder Tengelsen said "I
hope you like to drive!" Here's the story.
Apparently he got his driving privileges taken away for some
reason a while ago (I didn't ask why), so I had to drive
the truck FIVE. HOURS. through Edmonton, a city of over a
million people, to Ft. McMurray. In the snow. Hundreds of
miles away. I was FREAKING. OUT. I've never driven that
long of a distance before. And I've never driven in
snow. I don't think I've prayed that hard in my
entire life. But we made it without any incident. Oh and I
drove right past Ft Sascatchewan, where Brent lives. It was
the craziest drive because we just drove north for hours
through a total winter wasteland. I felt like I was driving
to the end of the world. And then all of a sudden, there is
a city of 100,000 people in front of you. It was the
weirdest thing. Except oh here was an incident. So we get to
Ft McMurray and we are supposed to have a dinner appointment
at 6. But we have no idea where we're going because my
trainer has never been here either. We missed the turn and
all of a sudden we're speeding up again and I see signs
that say "Oil Fields 120 km" and "Syncorp Oil
150 km" Freaking out yet again. Because by now it's
dark (It gets dark at like 445), it's snowing, we have
barely any gas, our cell phone has no service, and in case
you forgot, I'M DRIVING. this is like my worst nightmare
come true. Karly I'm pretty sure you're laughing
right now ha. But anyways, luckily, 30 mins later my
companion saw a turnoff for logging trucks so we turned
around and made it back to Fort McMurray. We finally found
the house and met Bro. and Sister Anderson who were feeding
us. They made a "Greenie dinner" haha. Everything
was green, like chicken/spinach/broccoli stirfry with
spinach linguine, pistachio salad, green punch and kiwi
cheesecake for dessert. It was all so good and so thoughtful
of them. We taught a short lesson on the Atonement and then
went and met the ward mission leader for the Beacon Hill
Ward. Apparently there is a lot of work to do here which is
awesome. There are two wards, Timberlea and Beacon Hill. My
comp. and I are the only missionaries in all of Ft
McMurray. So basically we're the only missionaries for
hundreds of miles. I thought Edmonton was cold. I was so
wrong. It is FREEZING here. I don't even want to look at
a thermometer.

My comp is awesome so far. He loves music and he played
tennis in high school. We had a lot to talk about on the way
up. This whole thing is just so surreal at the moment. Ft
McMurray is basically the oil capital of Alberta. Everyone
here is here to work for a few years on the oil something or
other, make a bunch of money and then move south. But
it's literally this isolated, thriving city in the
middle of Northern Alberta. Crazy.

Tonight we have two teaching appointments already set up by
the old missionaries, one Less active member named Tim
Sutton and a 19 year old girl with a bapt. date at the end
of the month named Ashley O'Neill. I'm so excited to
finally really teach. And I'm also excited to see the
Northern Lights!!!!! Um I think that's pretty much it.
Oh except here's my direct mailing address..we're
living in the basement of the Timberlea Ward bishop:

Suite A 116 Romar St
Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2V9

I would send stuff ASAP because I have no idea how long it
will take to get up here. Oh and please everyone email me
back because it will take forever to send letters. Thank you
for all the letters and packages at the MTC! Love you
all!!!!

Elder Rowley

PS. Dad - did the Arvizus set a bapt. date? I fasted last
Sunday. And ask them if they've gotten the letter I sent
them yet. Thanks.

PS EVERYONE: DearElders get sent to my email so you can
still send them!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Letter #2

Ok I sent you a few letters with a bunch of pictures
yesterday so i will do my best not to repeat myself.
It's been a very busy week. It's weird that I've
only been here for two weeks because it feels like I've
been in the MTC forever. We are learning and teaching the
2nd lesson. The Plan of Salvation is much more complicated
to teach, to me, than the Restoration. I think that's
because almost everything we say can possibly open a huge
can of worms for investigators haha. Teaching the Fall is so
stressful because every Teaching Appointment and practice
we've had so far, we've gone off on this huge
tangent because of the investigator's questions like
"What kind of fruit was it? Did they really eat a fruit
or was it something else? Why would God give two conflicting
commandments?" etc. etc. But we are definitely making
progress as a companionship. I think the one thing we need
to work on is knowing where each of us wants to take the
lesson because I will have a specific plan in mind and then
one of my comps goes off in a completely different direction
haha.

What else? Oh here's an interesting story for you. The
other day we were in the Referral Center making calls and I
called this woman who had requested a Bible. We got to
talking and come to find out she was just getting back into
Christianity after 2 years of being a Muslim. I'm not
sure how that works but anyways, she was just desperately
searching for truth in her life and she was having a lot of
problems going back to her old Baptist church because when
she left, all her old friends and associates turned their
backs on her. Basically to make a long story short, She got
not only the Bible she had requested but a Book of Mormon,
she asked for the missionaries to come teach her and I
committed her to going to Church on Sunday. Oh and she gave
me 5 referrals. The Spirit totally directed everything I
said and it was just amazing. That same day, our district
had made a goal of 15 referrals in our hour at the RC. We
ended up with 37. It was an amazing testimony building
experience.

This week in my personal study I've been studying the
Sons of Mosiah. And I finally realized during my study this
week that Ammon, this amazing model of a missionary, was
also one of the sons of Mosiah who was seeking to destroy
the Church just a few chapters before. I guess I had never
really put 2 and 2 together.

Ok heres a funny thing about me in the MTC. I never
realized it before because I always had my iPod on, but I
literally have a song in my head every minute of the day
that I'm not specifically thinking about something ha.
It's got to be a mental quirk or something. It's
really weird that it's been 2 weeks since I listened to
music. I think this is the longest period of time ever that
that's happened haha. But apparently have the tendency
to sing along when I'm walking so my comps are always
like "What are you singing today Elder Rowley?"
It's pretty funny.

The weather has been way random the past few days. Right
now it's really drizzly but I'm surviving. Oh Dad, I
met a couple missionaries going to Singapore!! I'm kind
of just typing things as I think them ha. I have yet to
repeat a tie haha. That's another funny thing, I'm
the one in our district that has to be like perfectly ready
every morning haha. Surprised? I've had a really good
week though overall. A little bit of homesickness but like
the MTC mission president says, It's ok to be homesick
because theres a difference between being homesick, and
wanting to quit and go home. So I think it's good that I
miss you but I'm still loving what I'm doing. :)

I think that's all for now. You're letters should
come in a few days. There are 4 ha. I love you all!

Elder Rowley

"Faith is knowing the sun is there.
Hope is believing the clouds will move."

Favorite quote of the week:
"Every missionary in the field today is, in some way,
a direct result of the very work they are doing."

PS. Karly, if you want to send me no-bakes either Thursday
Friday or Saturday just that same day delivery thing, I
would love you forever.

PPS: Mom i'm not sure if Dani got your email because I
haven't heard from her at all since early last week. Can
you make sure you're sending this to her? Thanks. Love
you!

PPS. Adrienne. I want a letter from you.

PPPS. Al - I am so sorry about what happened this week. I
am praying for you and I hope you are doing ok. Don't
forget that i love you.

PPPPS...How was JOSEPH????

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

First Letter

Hey everyone! This is Karly Staples. I am going to be updating Glenn's blog throughout his mission so that all of his many friends can read about his amazing experience. I would love for you all to leave Glenn a comment and I will print them out and mail them to him.

Here is his first letter to his family...

Ok first of all it is freezing in Provo. Happy snow day.
Well everything has been going really well, I don't know
if you've gotten any of my letters yet. I've sent
two and put another one in the mailbox today. Anyways, the
past week has been such a crazy adventure! I wish you could
just read my journal and hear everything right away!
Teaching is getting better every day. Yesterday we actually
had our first "Teaching Appointment" and it went
AMAZINGLY! It was the first time I really felt the Spirit
directing what I said. It felt like D&C 100 coming to
life. If you havent gotten my letters yet, my first
companion, Elder Hawkins went home on Halloween. He just
couldnt handle it emotionally. It was really sad but at the
same time it was good for me because I couldnt focus on
being homesick or anything. I really have been fine. Which I
am so gratefulk for. It's been a total answer to prayer.
Iguess my farewell talk subject was pretty inspired from
Brother Olsen after all. We have 11 missionaries in our
district - 7 elders and 4 sisters. All in all, we are going
to Edmonton; Tempe, AZ; Riverside, CA; and Halifax. Canada.
So it's a pretty diverse bunch. I am doing really well.
All I heard before I got here was how long the days were and
they def. are long but I love the classes. We have really
awesome teachers. It's just so much fun being a
missionary. One of the other things I got to do this week
was work in the Referral Center, where you make calls to
people all over the country who have filled out pass-along
cards, requested a Book of Mormon etc. It feels kind of like
the Box Office haha. Anyways, I talked to one lady the other
day from California. She had gotten her Book of Mormon two
days prior and had tons of questions. We talked for about a
half hour and I was surprised that every time she asked a
question, the Spirit prompted me with an answer or a
scripture reference which I have never been very good at
remembering. What a blessing. And it was the most uplifting
and exciting conversation because she was so enthusiastic
about what she was reading and plus I was finally talking to
a real investigator instead of practicing! I'm very
excited to get out into the field and talk to more people
face to face.

So how is everyone?? I have loved getting your letters. My
district is kind of all jealous of me because I get letters
and packages every day ha. So far I have gotten 17 letters
and 3 packages just this week. Thank you for being so
thoughtful and remembering me.

Oh and guess what? I'm actually losing weight in the
MTC! I have been drinking nothing but water this entire week
and I can rarely finish my plate because since we eat
breakfast here, I'm never like STARVING for the rest of
the day. I am surviving Gym ha. The first day was absolutely
dreadful because you have to stay with someone from your
district so I ended up freaking running. Yeah. But the other
day we all got together and played volleyball which was
definitely more my style ha. It was really fun.

We got to go the temple today and holy cow the inside of
the Provo Temple is so beautiful, parts of it literally took
my breath away and it was pretty different than the StG
temple. Like you don't move rooms or anything.

Let's see. Mom, could you possibly send me a couple
sweaters I can wear under my suit coat please? And an
umbrella would be really nice if that's possible.
That's pretty much all I can think of at the moment.
other than the flip-flops but I already told you that in my
letter.

I love you so so so much. And I think about you every day.
I am trying to be the very best missionary and example of
our Savior I can be. I know that what I am teaching people
is the truth and that the people in Candada really need it.
I love my Savior and I am so grateful for the chance to
serve Him for 2 years of my life!

Love,

Elder Rowley

P.S. Could you forward this to Karly karlystaples@mac.com,
Chelsea misschelsea@mac.com, Dani creamcheeser@hotmail.com,
and all the fam. I've written them all letters but I
want them to get these too. And Chelsea or Karly, I
don't have Trent's email so could you pass this on
for me? Thanks! Love you all!

Oh and Dad I need the Avizu's address. I already have
two letters for them but I dont know what they're exact
address is. In fact, a full ward directory would be really
great.

Oh and to answer some of your questions from your Dear
Elders, my sleep schedule has been totally fine because I am
getting a full 8 hours every night so it's not like
I'm sleep deprived at all. I just had to get used to
waking up at 630 ha. But I am doing good with it. Dad, Thank
you for the cookies! The district loved them as much as I
did! Gramma, I wrote you but I will say it again, thank you
for your cookies too! Those I didn't share. They were so
amazing and arrived to me in complete cookies, not crumbs
haha. I am doing my best to write everyone when i have a
chance but I really am so busy it takes a while to get a
full letter done. I love you all!