March 27, 2017


Cook Islands


Elder Cowl

Lessons Learned

Kia Orana Katou Katoatoa!! How are all of you this week? I hope you all had a great week. My week was a roller coaster, that's for sure.

Starting last monday night, we had a very interesting experience. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I heard knocking on the door. I disregarded it because I thought I was dreaming so I rolled over and tried to fall back asleep. The knocking continued. I got up and checked the time and it was 2am. I was so confused. I answered the door and a middle aged lady was standing there. The first thing she said was " Elder, are you busy?" Obviously I was busy, I couldn't believe she actually asked me that. Anyway, I said no and she asked if we could sit down and talk. I woke up Elder Cowl and we sat down and this lady told us that she was a member of the church from New Zealand and just recently moved back here with her new husband. She pretty much spent 40 minutes confessing all her marital problems, I think she thought we were guidance counselors or something. I was kinda annoyed at first that I was losing sleep but then she told us that the Spirit kept telling her to come see us and I felt a confirmation that that was true. She asked for a blessing so I gave her one and she was on her way. it was so strange but was actually a very spiritual experience.

Wednesday was a very up and down day. It started off at 6am with service at the Mokotupu's house, just like every other wednesday. The second the sun came out, it was blazing hot. Elder Cowl was mowing the massive lawns while I was tasked with a bunch of random little jobs. I had to chop down trees with a machete, move concrete blocks, and carry a bunch of car tires like 200 meters, etc. It was physically exhausting and I was dying. That went from 6am to almost 11am. I came home and got sick, I think I was dehydrated and had some kind of heat exhaustion. We were told to take the day off because I felt like I was dying. At about 3:30pm we remembered we had a lesson with Ngariki at 4 that we needed to cancel. For some reason I felt like we really needed to go to the lesson. i decided to tough it out and hop on the bike, trusting that the Lord wouldn't let me pass out during a lesson hahaha. We got there and the second we started teaching I felt better. I totally forgot I was sick. We taught about the Atonement and the Spirit was so strong. At the end of the lesson we brought up baptism again. He told us that he wasn't sure if he's ready to commit yet but he knew the Book of Mormon was true. He has read the entire book in the last 8 weeks. He told us that for some reason he's made so much progress with us teaching him, but had made almost no progress with the 7 previous missionaries that have taught him. He said that around the time I got here his desire to read the Book of Mormon increased so much and he read a majority of it in less than a month. He told us that he wants to get baptized while Elder Cowl and I are here because he feels like we were missionaries sent specifically for him. It was so cool, I felt the Spirit testify to me that that was one of the main reasons I'm here. i know I was sent to this little island for a reason. The second we got back to the house i started feeling sick again, but The Lord gave me just enough strength for that lesson.

Friday night we had a sort of funny experience. We were riding our bikes on this dirt path back to the road that we needed to take to someone's house. On our right there was a dirt cliff about 20-25 feet high. We heard these dogs run up to the edge of the cliff and start barking at us. ( For some reason dogs here absolutely hate people on bikes). i knew they couldn't get to us so i jokingly looked up and said " I dare you guys to come down here". Next thing I knew, the 2 dogs leaped down literally 20+ feet and landed on the path behind us and started chasing us.I pedaled as fast as I could but one of them caught up to me and started snapping at my ankles. This dog was massive and looked super vicious, I felt like I was in the Sandlot getting chased by Hercules. I had heard stories of people getting chunks of their legs bitten off by dogs so i wasn't going to take any chances. I took my foot off the pedal and swung my right flip flop and kicked the dog right in the jaw. It whimpered and backed off and stopped chasing us. I felt really bad but the dog was fine and I felt like my right leg was on the line. We had to stop and gather ourselves after that one hahaha. It was terrifying at the time but is already funny to look back on. I learned my lesson about taunting dogs.

This week I want to talk about attitude. Attitude is one of the most important things in our lives. It's definitely one of the most important things my dad taught me. I can't count how many times I complained about something and my dad told me that it was "all about my attitude". Of course, being a stubborn teenager that just made me mad and I disregarded it. Now that I've matured, I understand how right he was. As a missionary, there isn't much more important that your attitude. Especially here when we're doing 5 hours of service in the 100% humidity. This quote from our Prophet Thomas S Monson is one of my favorites. "

So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude "
I know how much attitude makes a difference in our lives, I've seen it manifest itself over and over again, especially lately. We can't change what happens to us, but we can change how we react to it. I challenge you all to try as hard as you can this week to have a good attitude, no matter what happens. Choose to be happy! I love all of you and wish you all the best this week!
-Love, Elder Plowman

1) The sky was orange
2) Mission home rock :)
3) Our church building!


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