Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011

Wow! What a week! A lot happened this week.

the reason i´m gaining weight...bread!
First and funniest of all, we were talking to a lady in the street and she suddenly asked me, "Are you pregnant?" hahaha what?! i think i´ve gained about 5 lbs so far and counting. its the bread i´m telling you, its so good!! the lady said i looked pregnant because i´m skinny, except my round little belly. hahahaha, i guess i´ll have to be more careful and not eat so much bread...but i´m warning you, i will most likely return from my mission 30 lbs heavier! The other culprit is this thing called Manjar. It is dulce de leche. its like caramel with the consistency of peanut butter, there is no peanut butter here, so manjar is the substitute. they put it on everything. it´s a household staple and its delicious!!!!! for those of you nutella lovers i hate to say it but i think manjar is better. at times nutella is too sweet for me, but i swear i could eat manjar forever!

Also my companion and I have decided that the sky here always looks like a painting. She says its not like that everywhere. But in Rauquen it always looks like a painting, it is so pretty!

Also, there was a Training Conference for new missionaries. Two full days of learning! Luckily they did it in both english and spanish so that us english speakers could learn in our own language. I learned so much, but here are some highlights that I learned:

  • obedience bring blessings and invites the Spirit to be with us
  • there is such power in the Book of Mormon, through it we can come to know the Savior and learn about His atonement. My mission presidents wife bore such a powerful and sincere testimony of the Book of Mormon. I like that she said "The Book of Mormon will make sense when everything else in your life doesn´t. It will be your friend and companion."
  • there is difference between believing in Christ and following Christ. Following Him requires action, obedience, covenants. Many of the people I talk to here are catholic or evangelical. They believe in Christ and might even say they follow Him. What I am learning how to do is help people see that there is so much more to following Jesus Christ. We need to keep all of His commandments which include praying often, studying the scriptures, keeping the sabbath day holy, being baptized, serving others, etc.
A street in the area where I work,
just so you can see what it looks like.
Being away from my sector for two days helped me realize how blessed I am! I have such an amazing companion who is so sincere and loving and hardworking. And my area is so nice. Rauquen is a calm homey place, and I didn´t realize how much i love it until i had left it!

And when I got back my companion had done some work!! Wow! We now have two young families that we are teaching. And they are genuinely interested in the Book of Mormon and finding out if this really is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth once again!

As missionaries we set a lot of goals! If you don´t have a goal, its like going on a trip without having a destination. This week was so great because we met our goals without even realizing it! To give you an idea of what I mean, these are some of the goals we met:
We invited 78 people to church this week (our goals was 70 people).
We invited 10 people to be baptized (our goal was 8)
We talked to 142 new people (our goal was 140)
We taught 24 lessons (our goal was 24!)
A kiwi orchard in the area I serve.
And because we met these goals great things flowed naturally from these efforts, like 5 people actually came to church! And we were able to begin teaching those two young families who have a desire to be baptized.

Missionary work is interesting. All we are as missionaries is an invitation to act, to find out for themselves whether this is the truth or not. I think of it like we have some delicious cookies and the only way we´ll know if someone wants to try one is to ask. So that´s what we do as missionaries, ask everyone if they want cookies (figuratively speaking). Some of my favorite lessons are the ones we have spontaneously with people in their yards. We stop and talk to almost everyone and most people will chat with us for a bit. One woman was gardening and said she wasn´t interested, but she was willing to talk with us. As we got to know her more she opened up to us and told about some of the pain and suffering she was experiencing in her life. (I don´t know what it was...she was speaking spanish:) but i could feel the sorrow in her words and she teared up), in that moment we were able to teach her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and help her to find comfort in Him. It was such a beautiful moment, that she was open to our words and to feeling the Spirit that accompanies the doctrines of Christ. I like to compare this experience with one we had yesterday. A woman, again in her yard watering her trees. She was open to talk to us, but very closed to our words and the Spirit. She, instead of listening to what we said, told us what we believed. In many ways she was mistaken about our beliefs, but she would not hear the words we said. For example, we told her how we are centered in Jesus Christ, and just after that she told us that for her Jesus Christ if the only way and if we didn´t believe that that was fine. Did we not just say that Jesus Christ is the center of all? We tried to teach her about how Joseph Smith restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the direction of Jesus Christ, and then she told us how Joseph Smith tried to diminish Christ´s role as the Savior and Redeemer. It was a sad moment that we spent with her. We were both (us and her) saying the same thing: that Jesus is the Savior and the only way that we can have true joy), but she didn´t hear us. I have thought about that and asked myself if I am like that in my life. Am I in some ways closed to the truth? Do I allow myself to be taught truth by the Spirit or do I reject those sweet feelings? I hope I am like the former lady, that I am open and trusting!

Well, sorry this update was somewhat crazy, that is how this last week was! Crazy but good!! I wish you all a good week. Remember how great it is to be alive and look for little miracles in your life! I love you! Thank you for your prayers!!!!

Hermana Bowns

Diane sent pictures, but I've been having trouble getting them into this post. I'll keep working on it, so check back! -- Ryann

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