This is Alison, Preston's mom. I will be posting things on this blog during Preston's mission. Preston will not have access to this blog until after his mission. If you would like to send him an email please see his contact information, located to the right of this blog. Thanks

Monday, December 28, 2015

#26: Christmas In Mexico

(From his journal) This is one week that I don't think I'll forget for a long time. The reason being is that Christmas was this week and I felt love and gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful for this time of year, when I can think and ponder about Him and all that He did for me.

The week was filled of fun festivities with the branch here and the spirit of Christmas. On Monday there was a Christmas party with the Branch.  There was tamales, tamales, and more tamales! They are one of my favorite Mexican foods here!  We had a piñata, which was fun to break open and get candy!  Monday evening was really fun.

On Tuesday, we had an awesome capacitation with President Chavez.  He spoke about how obedience is the key to having success in the mission.  There were things he mentioned that I didn't know were mission rules.  So, it was good to be able to ask questions and resolve any confusion.  I think he spoke about obedience so if there was any disobedience, we can make a New Year's resolution to try better.

Christmas day was interesting to say the least!  We planned to talk to our families using Skype at around 5:00pm.  We had the morning and early afternoon to talk to people.  The problem was, that nobody was outside; they were in their homes with their families!  (We found out that in Preston's mission, they never go tracking-meaning door to door, they meet people on the streets mostly) When 5:00pm came, we were so excited to see and hear from our families!  But, we were having technical difficulties and couldn't figure out how to do it.  So, we ended up not being able to Skype on Christmas.  But, we tried again on Saturday morning after borrowing a web cam and ear phones from the local internet cafe and using them down at the church, so we were able to actually Skype with our families!  Hands down, this was the best gift this Christmas!  I'm so thankful for my family and all they do for me.  They are my biggest support.  I can't wait until Mother's day to see and talk with them again!  But until then, I have work to do!

The weather on Saturday was really sour and difficult.  It was really windy and cold all morning.  I know that the wind was bringing more weather our way.  We got SNOW!!  This was the second time this year and I was just as excited as the first time.  We got about a "name tag's" worth of snow....the long way, with is about 2 inches!

I wasn't able to take a shower for the past two days because the pipes that lead from the boiler to the house were FROZEN!!! haha  But this morning I was able to somewhat shower by using a bucket and hot water...wasn't the best but it got the job done! haha
That's my week here in Guerrero.  One week I really enjoyed and will never forget!

Beautiful Christmas tree in Mexico

So excited for snow!!!

Thank you for the Christmas gifts for both my companion and I.
I am using the electric blanket now and it works miracles!
(In his broken English, Elder Castro thanked us for the stocking and
other presents we sent him too, when we were Skyping with Preston)

These are the scripture covers and hymn book cover that I paid to have
made.  It only costs 440 pesos which is like around $25 for all three.
(A member there makes them-pretty cool!!)

(We thought it would be fun to all be wearing these mustaches
when our Skype session started)

(Even Krew got into it- This would be the first time
that Krew, his nephew, and Preston would see each other)

The Best part of Christmas this year-by far, was talking
to each other.

(Preston wanted us to do a crazy photo too)

(Love this missionary of ours)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#25: Christmas Dinner in the Mission

This week has been good overall.  No baptisms though to report, but we have a good amount of investigators who are understanding what we teach and are keeping commitments.

This last Thursday was really cool because we had our Christmas party with our mission president and his wife.  The party was in Cuahtemoc which is about an hour and a half drive by bus.  When we got there, the gym of the chapel was all decorated with tables, lights and a lot more.  It was catered and everything. The food was really good!  (As part of the program, the focus was on the importance of having clean hands and a pure heart. At the end, the focus was on hands that have had great importance in their  lives, namely, the hands of their parents and those of the Savior-The mission president asked us parents to send him a picture of our hands together and another one showing our faces)  Then, pictures came across the large projector screen that had pictures of our parent's hands.  Yours was the first to come up, although I didn't recognize your hands because dad is wearing a different watch! I wasn't really prepared to see the next picture, it was of you- mom and dad together!  It caught me so off guard.  I felt immediate love and gratitude for you both, so thank you!  After we ate, we had 3 piñatas to break open.  There's a song that we sung when each person was swinging at the piñata.  There was so much candy from them, so we were all pretty satisfied!  The party ended around 5:30pm, but the next bus to Guerrero didn't leave until 8:00pm!  So, we helped clean up the church and mingled with the other missionaries who were waiting for their ride as well.

We will be able to borrow a laptop from a member and Skype in the church building here.  We are thinking around 5:00, how does that sound?  I did get Brooke and Dylan's package, and I did open it, I hope that's okay! haha  I can't have two boxes staring me in the face for another 5 days!

Because of Christmas this week, they moved the transfers up one week to last week.  So, this means I will still be with my companion, Elder Castro.  So, another transfer completed and in the books!  I must say that the mission is going by quite fast.  I'm really enjoying the people I meet, and the areas I have the privilege to serve in.

Overall, I had a really good, productive week here in Mexico.  I really enjoy the people who live here and love to serve them each day I have been given.  I am looking forward to the blessings and miracles the Lord will place in my path.  I know this church is true, and have a testimony that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and leads and guides this church today.  I'm grateful for this time of year when the whole world turns their hearts to the Savior.  I love Him and all of you back home.  May we all remember our Savior, Jesus Christ a little more this time of year.

Elder Fowler

This week's scripture to Ponderize is: D&C 90:24

Search diligentlypray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.

Wearing the sweater that Brooke and Dylan sent him for Christmas

Elder Fowler with President and Sister Chavez

Elder Fowler (second from Left) at Christmas Dinner 

Christmas Dinner Party  2015

Catching candy from the Piñata

The Sister missionaries received make up and the Elders received a tie.
All were given a stocking of candy

Monday, December 14, 2015

#24: Snow in Mexico

This past week was full of greatness, surprises, and full of the Spirit.  This week we were blessed to have one of our investigators, named Maguel Rubio Dominquez, be baptized on December 12th.  I was pretty stoked because he is someone who has been prepared by the Lord for us to find and teach. About 20 years ago, he received a Book of Mormon (and it was well used) but he never attended church but understood all the principles and doctrines of the church!  He's a really awesome man!  He was super easy to teach because he already knew the material that we were teaching.  He then was interviewed by our District Leader and then we prepared for him to be baptized.  In Guerrero (his area) the casa de oracion (prayer house-or chapel) doesn't have a baptismal font, so we had to go to La Juata.  On Saturday, the day of his baptism, the weather looked terrible.  Strong winds, rain and cold.  While driving to La Junta, it started hailing!  Pretty crazy, right?  When we got to the chapel, the hail let up a little bit.  Only 5 minutes later, it bagan to snow!  Snow in Mexico?!  I never would have believed it unless I saw it.  All us gringo missionaries freaked out and enjoyed ourselves a bit, making snowballs and what-not!   After the fun in the snow, we baptized Hermano Rubio.  But the really cool party is, he was confirmed right after by our Branch President.  The reason for doing so, was because Sunday was the dedication of the Tijuana, Mexico Temple.  Hermano Rubio was then able to attend with us!  It was really something to see our new convert "attend the temple" via satellite transmission!

The dedication of the Tijuana Temple was absolutely amazing and the spirit was so strong for all three sessions.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder Dallin H. Oaks were the General Authorities who dedicated the House of the Lord.  What is really special, is President Gordon B. Hinckley's son is the temple president of Tijuana!  And, his spanish is pretty good!  I could feel the Lord accept this magnificent building as a "casa del Señor".

To say my week here was great is an understatement.  I'm looking forward to this upcoming week to see the blessings from the Lord, not only in my life, but the lives of those around me.

(We asked him if he had read the email from his friend, Jacob Wolf who received his mission call this past week and will be serving in the Argentina Salta Mission and will be leaving on March 9, 2016)

I did hear from Jacob!!!  How awesome is that?!?  Los tres amigos Hablan español después la misión!!!  I'm super happy for him!

(What's crazy is the three young men from our ward that have known each other since they were little, and are the best of friends, all leave within 9 months apart from each other.-Matthew: October 2014, Preston: July 2015, and Jacob: March 2016.   Matthew left on the 7th, Preston left on the 8th and Jacob leaves on the 9th.  All will be able to speak Spanish, which was something we were hoping for them.  Each of their missions boundaries are around the same distance from the Pacific Ocean too)

My companion and I are planning to Skype on Christmas day, just so you know.  I'll let you know what time you can expect a call from me.  I think we found a member who has Skype and just need to ask. I get 40 minutes to talk, that's it.

The scripture this week is D&C 50:24, I really like this scripture a lot.

24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

I love you all and know the Lord is watching over you.
Elder Fowler

Snow in Mexico!!!!

Merry Christmas!!

Branch President, Elder Castro, Manuel Rubio Dominquez, Elder Fowler
December 12, 2015

Elder Benson, Elder Castro, Rubio, Elder Fowler,  his zone leader: Elder Anderson

Friday, December 11, 2015

#23: 5 Months Under My Belt

It's crazy to think I have 5 months now under my belt, Wow! The reason why I couldn't email on Monday was because we had a zone meeting all day in La Junta.  I really didn't have a regular P-day!  But, we played soccer and had lessons and what not, but  by the time we got home to our area, it was 8:00pm.

Our investigators did attend church with us this week again and we have 1 maybe 2 baptisms this Saturday!!!  Pretty exciting!!  I love seeing the blessing that come from serving.  There are a lot of missionaries here in my mission who are great examples of obedience. I never want to be a missionary who baptizes for the numbers....I'd rather have all my converts stay converted throughout their entire lives.  I am often reminded of you (dad) and Jim Love; what a great experience. (Philip taught Jim the gospel when serving his mission in CA-Jim went on to serve a mission, marry in the temple and is raising his kids in the gospel)  Thank you dad for your willingness to serve the Lord and set the example for me and Brecken.

I did get my Christmas package!!!! I've looked inside, but haven't opened anything!  I will wait though until Christmas since we have changes (transfers) the week of Christmas and you sent gifts for my companion too.  This way, I will know who my companion will be and give them to him on Christmas.

I Love you,
Elder Fowler

(This week's scripture to "Ponderize"  1 Timothy 4:12)

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

#22: New Investigators

   This week has been better here in Guerrero.  We've had some awesome investigator lessons!  We have 5-7 really interested investigators right now and 4 of them attended church with us yesterday.  December may be full of baptisms, hopefully  :)

Questions that we asked Preston:
Q:  Do you drink the water there?  If so, do you need a filter bottle?  Would you like one?
A: I received a filter water bottle when I left the CCM, but I don't used it... in Anahuac, we bought clean water, but here in the "Sierra", the water is okay to drink from the tap.

Q: Are you getting enough to eat in your new area?  If not, are you having to buy your own food?
A: We only eat with members like 3-4 times a week so the other days we eat in our house or buy something... buying food is so expensive, even though it's cheap here!  I can buy a bag of chips and a liter of water for 15 pesos! haha

Q: How is the speaker box working out?  Were you able to listen to the latest General Conference talks that was sent in the last package?
A:It's AMAZING!!  I love it!   I haven't listened to it all, I think  only the first couple talks!

(This week's scripture to "ponderize" was submitted by Kylah)
Joshua 1:9
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

A selfie for your Tuesday-haha-Selfies are weird in public places!
Like my camo tie?
(This is the place where he goes on his P-days to email home)
Christmas tree in Centro

Monday, November 23, 2015

#21: What I Call Home- Here in Guerrero

To answer your questions:  I DID get my winter package this last Tuesday!  I am super grateful for all the love that you guys give me!  It sure means a lot!  This last week we were able to move into our house here in Guerrero and it's really nice!  I feel like I'm back in the States when I walk in.  I have pictures because I know that you would want to see where I live!  haha  We do have a washing machine, but not a dryer.  I don't think the mission has dryers for anyone....maybe the sisters, haha

As for my companion, sometimes he doesn't want to wake up until 7:40! I've tried talking to him about the importance of exact obedience in all things.  It's hard because I grew up in a house where we were always on time to everything...EVERYTHING!!!  I hate being late to things...some mornings I want to rip the sheets off from him!!!

The branch here is really small.  Only about 20 people attend each week.  We meet in a Prayer House,  it's not even a chapel!  I really love the members and all that they do for the missionaries in their area :)

I love the scripture from this past week (2 Nephi 4:34) We can always rely on the Lord through everything.  He is the one person that will be there through it all. It kinda reminds me of a song that I have on my flash drive.  This week, I chose the scripture:

Alma 7:23-24

23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
 24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

In the CCM, I read this scripture and felt that it applies to me during my mission.  It explains so well how I need to act and behave during my mission. Let me know your thoughts as well :)

(I had told him that our little  8 year old friend, Cameron Kaesche, who used to live in our cul-de-sac, will be getting baptized this Saturday)  I'm so excited for Cameron!!!  Can you tell him that I still have the paper he gave me in my suit jacket, the one that says, "Dear Preston, Sorry that Rudy (our dog) died"  I look at it each Sunday during the Sacrament.  Also, tell him that I love his decision to be baptized!!  He's gonna make one great missionary! ;)

They don't celebrate Thanksgiving here of course, but November 20th is a holiday here for Mexico's Revolution. We had a baptism this week.  I will tell you more about it next week, but there is a picture.  Her family is a part member family and we found them using the Teaching Records.  She has had all the lessons and was able to be baptized.
I love you!  Thanks for being my biggest fan.
Elder Fowler

Baptism of young girl

November 20th-Mexico's Revolution Day

Mi Casa from the outside

(Quite an upgrade from his last area.)

The bathroom!  

My bedroom

Walk-in closet  ;)
It's very American, well I think so! haha

Monday, November 16, 2015

#20 A New Companion

Well, this week was full of different experiences to say the least!  On Monday (November 9th) I had my first transfer changes in the field.  I no longer serve in Anáhua.  I'm now serving in a place called Guerreo.  In the mission, the part where I'm serving is called La Sierra. And what I know so far is that it's much colder here than any other part of the mission.  I have a new companion now as well.  Elder Vergara is home now and I really appreciate everything that he taught me during the 12 weeks we were together.  My new companion is Elder Castro; he's from Mexico City and has served 20 months in the mission.  We are still in the "get to know you" stage and the language barrier doesn't help either.  Everyone that speaks Spanish, speaks differently, so I just need to focus and concentrate harder on what others are saying.

My companion and I are the first missionaries in Guerrero for a couple months so we don't even have a house there yet.  We've been staying with some Elders in LaJunta, which is about a 40 minute bus ride away. Hopefully, this upcoming week, we can move into a house and start working in Guerrero.  We have to cover the whole city...and that's a lot of work for just one set of missionaries.  In Anáhuac, we had two sets of missionaries which made the work a little easier.  I feel like having a new area, new companion, new everything has given me a new start as well.  I feel like a reset bottom has been pushed, and this is a new beginning. I'm super excited to be serving where I'm serving.  I know that the Lord has placed me where I am now for a reason.  I can't wait to see what amazing things will happen in Guerrero when we give everything to the Lord.  I am thankful for everyday I have to serve the people in Chihuahua and the Lord.

(This week's scripture is:
2 Nephi 4:34)

O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

Adios mi amigos!
Elder Fowler

Elder Fowler with Elder Garcia
(I believe they are waiting for a bus)

And the sun begins to set on another day.

Such a beautiful sunset, I just couldn't resist taking a picture of it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

#19: 4 Month Mark & Transfers

(Yesterday, November 8th marked 4 months that Elder Fowler has been serving)
 I am able to email right now.  It's earlier than usual because I have changes (transfers) this week!!  Yikes!  Last night and this morning was super hectic and crazy with packing all my stuff and going to Cuauhtemoc.  I'm not going to Chihuahua where we usually do the transfers because the mission doesn't have the money for that, so I will be meeting my new companion later today in Cuauhtemoc when they return.  I was told though by my current Zone Leader that I'm going to the "Sierra's"!!! BURRRRR!!!!  Hopefully my winter package gets here today because I will definatly need that coat and gloves! hahaha  It's pretty crazy!  I can't believe that I'm leaving Anahuac and starting somewhere new.  Apparently, my new companion and I are going to be opening up a new area called, Guerrero, but idk if it's 100% true yet, but we will find out later today!
I love you,
Elder Fowler

Elder Vergara on his last day of his mission-
"He gave me 3 of his ties, I felt so lucky!"

Elder Beeson and Elder Fowler on day of transfers

Visiting with people they had taught before being transferred
from Anáhuac.

Saying goodbye to the Branch President-Marquez and his family

"Plates from Nevada!! I thought this was cool!"

Monday, November 2, 2015

#18 Halloween Package Arrived :)

First off I want to say that I love dad's costume!! That's legendary (his dad dressed up as Doc Brown from Back to the Future)!!! I've been thinking a lot about you all this week because of Halloween!  In Mexico, the big day is November 1st and is called, the Day of the Dead.  Which, I didn't even see anything change or anything big happen.  There were a couple kids who went trick or treating- or Dulce o Truco, haha!

 I did get the Halloween package you sent!  Elder Vergara appreciated the love you sent him too!! He loves candy a lot, LOL.  The sad thing is, Hermana Chavez (The mission president's wife) has a rule that we can't eat sugary cereal-at all, so I can't have the cereal you sent...Sucks.  I don't understand the rule completely because we can eat candy between the hours of 11am-6pm, but I obey the rule anyway. haha  For breakfast I usually have Cheerios, or eggs with a tortilla, ham and salsa, or a sandwich.  I enjoy having the small set of scriptures that you sent too because I don't always remember where things are in Spanish, so I can quickly pull it out and find it in the small English set. I defiantly feel my mother's love by everything that she does for me.

This week has been really good.  We almost had a baptism this week but it fell through and didn't happen. It's super hard to proselyte once the sun goes down after 6:00pm with 3 more hours in our day!  Plus, that's when it get cold and miserable. I've started to find the things that I've learned from my trainer, Elder Vergara, and overall, I think I take him for granted.  This week was great for our companionship and I feel like we could talk all day to pass the time when we walk.  Today was his last P-Day because he goes home next Monday.

The scripture from this past week (Alma 42:31) is  super relatable to me, especially as a missionary.  I really love the same part that you mentioned in your email.  For this week, the scripture I chose for us to "Ponderize" is: 2 Nephi 22:2-3  It's really powerful and I just love it.  I came across it in my personal studies this week.

(2 Nephi 22:2-3)

 God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Love, your missionary,
Elder Fowler

At Los Arcos to celebrate Elder Vergara's last full p-day
before he returns home.

Looks so good!

Elder Fowler with his Zone

The awesome moon; it was huge!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#17 Not Affected by Hurricane Patricia

Comó esta! I really enjoyed reading your letter this week!  It brought a smile to my face! :)  (We asked Peston if he had any effects from Hurricane Patricia that hit Mexico on Friday, October 23rd) I honestly had no clue there was a hurricane that hit Mexico!  We didn't get anything besides cold weather and rain but that's about it, nothing more!

I enjoyed "ponderizing" Mosiah 24:14 this week.  It really gave me strength whenever I have difficult times.  The Savior is the only person that knows exactly what we are going through and He can make our load less and eventually into nothing!  I really love doing the "ponderizing" a scripture each week because I can then share them with the members we eat with as a spiritual thought!  I have a feeling that this up coming scripture in Alma will be really applicable to myself! hahaha

Dad, during your mission did you ever feel like you walked in circles all day?  Because I've been feeling like that this week.  We taught maybe 2-3 lessons in homes and the rest of the time we walk and try to contact people in the streets.  It's hard and frustrating walking in circles hours on end.  Let me know what you think.

(Dad's response- "Many days I felt like that.  Then all of a sudden there are many people to teach.  It is the ups and downs of mission life.  this won't be the last time you experience this.  I would always try and make games out of doing things like that.  It's all good.  This too shall pass.")
From the amount of walking I do, I play the best game ever!!!  It's called, Kicking Rocks and Seeing How Far They Go!!  It's a great way to pass the time-insert sarcasm here, LOL!!

(This week's scripture is:
Alma 4:31And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.)

As always, I love hearing about your week!
 I Love you dearly!
Elder Fowler

See-Saw Kings; Elder Fowler, Elder Greenwood

I Believe I can fly!

From a training meeting

Monday, October 19, 2015

#16: 100 Days Out Serving

This last week was pretty busy, and surprisingly-time went by pretty fast.  Tuesday morning we had a Capacitation with Presidente Chavez in Cuauhtémoc that was really awesome!  He taught us about lineage and how descendants of Joseph, which are (for the most part) people in Mexico, will receive the restored gospel from the Gentiles.  this really was interesting to me because we can see this work going forth today.
Wednesday, my companion and I had Divisions with the District Leader, and I was with his companion, Elder Valdivieso.  He's really cool and he's one of the few native speakers I can understand.  That same day, our Zone Leaders set a goal-every day make 50 contacts!!  When we heard this, we thought it was impossible.  We normally have 10-15 contacts a day.  But, Elder Vergara and I did all we could.  We told ourselves that if we reached our goal, we'll go get ice cream.  By 8:00pm we had an hour left with only 40 contacts.  Once it gets dark, there's hardly any people in the streets so I was questioning whether or not we would find 10 more people!  But, with faith, determinations, and hard work, we contacted 11 more people that hour!  I will gladly tell you that we went for some hard-earned ice cream!!
Thursday was my 100th day on my mission.  I was on exchanges with the District Leader, so I guess that is how I celebrated the day.
(The scripture of the week that Brooke chose: Mosiah 24:14  And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions) The Lord can ease mine and your burdens.  He is the only person who knows exactly how we feel about everything.  I've learned to rely on the Atonement so much already during my mission in times of stress and hardship.   I find peace and comfort through the knowledge of the Atonement.
This Sunday was special because we had a General Authority from Salt Lake in Anáhuac.  His name is Elder Martinez.  I really enjoyed the spirit that he spoke with and his message was really great. I was able to understand most of what he said . I always enjoy listening to the voice of the Lord through the general authorities because I know the things they share are inspired by the Lord.
I never thought that Mexico would be cold but it sure has been lately, especially in the mornings during our study time, and the last two hours in the day before we head home.  But overall, I'm excited to be serving where the Lord needs me at this time.

Elders-Moreales, Vergara, Fowler and Greenwood

Not sure if this happened before or after the picture above.

We wanted to see pictures of his apartment. Dishes clean :)

He has a washing machine, but not a dryer.  We believe that
next to that must be his water heating source for his shower.

Their study area.  Preston's is on the left. Gotta love the
red and purple walls :)

He must not have a closet, but at least he has somewhere he can
hang some of his things.

His bathroom