Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011

Hola to all! Well I´ve successfully completed 2 weeks in the mission! Only something like 68 more to go! Wahoo!

I think my ability to understand people is getting worse. But I´m really good at faking that I understand people...which actually isn´t good, because then they ask me a question and I´m like, what? haha, but its okay. I´m taking it one day at a time. Going to bed each night has never been more of a tender mercy.

Chile is not as different of a place as I thought it would be. There is a grocery store here called Lider (which means Leader in english) and guess who owns it? Walmart! They even have the great value brand! And even though I am in Latin America and expected to eat lots of hispanic food, I have not as yet had any tortillas, tortilla chips, beans, or very much cheese. The food is very normal to what I am used to. Just more fresh, not as processed.

There are a lot of dogs here. Everyone has a dog and that dog barks every time you walk by their house. And then there are stray dogs all over the place. Last night one dog followed my companion and I for like 20 minutes! It almost followed us into our house!

The Chileans speak with a distinct accent too (I´m told...I really wouldn´t know). But they stretch words out like they say, No tengo tieeeeeempo (I don´t have tiiiiiiiime), but they do that with everything they say. And they add po in there everywhere too, like si (yes) they say si´po or ya´po. They also add ita at the end of everything which just means it is smaller. Like hermanita (means my dear little sister), or ninita (means little girl, nina just means female child) or ratito (is a little bit), they do it with everything, which is so funny but also challenging because i have to not only memorize the original word but also recognize this variation. its fun!

Also about half of the music i hear in the streets or in taxis or in stores here is american music.

A little bit of Chile and all the missionaries walking down the street during the sessions of conference, doing an invasion, where we go visit a bunch of people (less actives) in the area and invite them to conference.
this last week was great. i´m learning a little more everyday about what to do and what to say. And always looking for little miracles. My companion and I had a great miracle this week though! One of our investigators really wants to be baptized but isn´t married to her boyfriend who she lives with and has a son with. He is fine with getting married but it isn´t his first priority so it hasn´t happened yet. We went and visited her and enacted what we call a plan to call down the blessing of heaven. we identified our goal (for her to be baptized next month) and what we would do to work towards that (read and pray everyday, and fast three times in the next month) and then what we need from Heavenly Father (that she´ll be able to get married by her baptismal date). Then we prayed about our plan and told Heavenly Father what we intended to do. Our investigator was in tears, she really wants to be baptized and enjoy the great blessings that come from making that covenant with God. The Spirit was there and we were full of hope and faith. We didn´t know how this was going to be accomplished but we would do our part and put the rest into the hands of the Lord. We prayed for her every time we prayed and searched the scriptures for doctrines that would encourage and uplift her. As missionaries we fasted that day for all of our investigators including this one. When we went back to visit our investigator a couple days later she had amazing news. She said that last night her boyfriend had asked her to marry him and said the sooner the better!!! WHAT?! All three of us were stunned. Which we shouldn´t have been, of course the Lord blesses us with the righteous desires of our hearts. What a miracle. There was no doubt it was the hand of God, she had been wanting to be baptized for so long and this one thing stood in her way. I know that she was blessed for her righteous obedience and immense faith.

The hermanas in my zone (we all live together
and serve in the same ward) at conference on Saturday and Sunday.

The other wonderful thing that happened this week was General Conference! Yay! I loved Conference, it was like a spiritual feast! For me there were a couple things that stood out.
1. I heard the message in many of the talks that we are blessed when we keep the commandments of God. I have been reading 1 John and in that book in the Bible there are many references to how we are blessed for our obedience to the commandments, and how through our obedience to God we come to know Him, which John says in John 17:3 is life eternal (to know God). Many of the apostles spoke about this principle and I have a testimony of it. I know that the great blessings I enjoy in my life have come to me because of obedience to the commandments of God. How important it is to live in accordance with the commandments of God. In following them there is safety and great joy!

2. Elder Uchtdorf in the Relief Society session and in his address on Saturday had a great message to share. I felt like he was fervently telling the world that God has not forgotten us and that He knows where to find each of us! And there were many many more wonderful talks. I really like Elder Richardson´s about being a real teacher and a real learner and Elder Eyring´s about our sacred charge as members of the Church to be charitable, be a witness of Jesus Christ, and endure to the end!

I also liked Elder Anderson´s talk when he said that being busy is not the same as being productive. It reminded me of the response we receive often at people´s doorsteps when we ask people if we can talk with them about Jesus Christ. They say estoy muy ocupado (i am very busy), or no tengo tiempo (i don´t have time). Are we sometimes too busy for Christ? I urge you to find time for Him. Because when we make time for Christ in our lives we are greatly blessed.

Well that´s all for now. Thank you for your love and prayers! I love you all. Don´t forget that the source of all that is good in our lives is Jesus Christ!

Hermana Bowns

Here are links to the talks Diane references:
October 2011 General Conference
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 'Forget Me Not' (Relief Society Session)
President Dieter F. Echtdorf, 'You Matter to Him' (Saturday Morning Session)
Elder Neil L. Andersen, 'Children' (Saturday Afternoon Session)
President Henry B. Eyring, 'A Witness' (Sunday Morning Session)
Elder Matthew O. Richardson, 'Teaching After the Manner of the Spirit' (Sunday Afternoon Session)

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