Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 - New Years

Resolutions & Goals

Well Christmas has passed us by and now 2013 is upon us. I love the new year when we see what we have accomplished last year and set new goals for this year. I always like to pick a general conference talk as the theme for the new year. This year I have picked Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf's talk from Oct 2012 called Of Regrets and Resolutions. He encourages us to make three big resolutions

  1. To spend more time with those we love.
  2. To strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.
  3. To find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.

In the goals that I set for the new year these will be the underlying purposes. Elder Utchdorf talks about these because in a study done with people who are close to dying, when asked what they regretted most in their life, these were the three most common themes.

I haven't set my goals yet, but I am sure next week I will have them ready to report:)

Peace and Joy

This week we started teaching an 80 year old woman. She is so special. The Spirit is always so strong when we teach her. She receives a lot of opposition from her family and friends who don't want her to listen to us, and every time we go to her house she tells us that she isn't going to listen to us anymore, but after we pray and start talking about the Gospel and about the Plan of Salvation there is such a spiritual feeling in the room, and with tears in her eyes she always ends by thanking us for coming and telling us what a peace and joy she feels when she listens to us. I really love her, and hope that she will be able to keep learning about the Gospel. We pray for her all the time:)

This week was a week for rejoicing in the small and simple things of life and recognizing the hand of the Lord. I am hoping next week will be the same:) Look for God's hand in your life, it makes everything better!

Love you!
Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 - Merry Christmas to All


What a crazily wonderful week! We have been getting ready for Christmas and enjoying the season. We got thrown a curve ball though...remember how I said I was sweating down here with all the heat...well all of last week it poured rain. Somehow winter weather sneaked into the hot summer. So today we are trudging around in rainboots and raincoats. Weird. So weird. On another note, we are all happy here that the world didn't end like everyone thought it would! :) It did give us a great opportunity though to testify about the importance of prophets and of living the fullness of the Gospel!

Tonight we get to eat Christmas dinner with a family from the ward, and just before we are going to go out and do some visits with that same family to sing Christmas carols and share a short message! It will be a wonderful Christmas Eve!

What a wonderful time of year! To celebrate the humble birth of the Savior of the world. This week we had a family home evening where we watched the Joy to the World video. It caused me to reflect upon the simplicity of the Savior's birth, and His life, and His message. He was not born into grandeur nor lived a life full of to do lists and technology, His message was clear, His plea always the same: Repent and come unto Him. His whole life was a exemplar of love and service. Once again a testimony to me that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; by the humble birth of the baby Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem was brought to pass the salvation of all mankind.

Let us remember Him today and always!

With love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 - Oh, come, all ye faithful


My companion and I are in full swing christmas-ness:) On Wednesday we had a mission Christmas devotional and we sang (well my companion sang and I played the piano) an arrangement of Oh Little Town of Bethlehem with the music of Jesus the Very Thought of Thee. (Even though we had only put it together the day before it still turned out great). Then on Sunday there was a stake choir concert...every ward had a choir and got to sing a couple songs. I was the pianist for my ward and we sang Joy to the World, A Shepherd's Carol, He Sent His Son, and Away in a Manger! I love singing Christmas music. There is just something so special about it.

This week we knocked on a lady's door and offered to sing her a Christmas song since she didn't want to listen to a message...she said yes! Turns out she worked there and took care of a sick elderly lady. My companion and I sang Away in a Manger and the elderly woman began to cry. She too had been a singer, but now with her age and illness she didn't sing anymore. It was a sweet moment to share with her and to feel the love that God has for all of His children :)

I hope you can feel the Spirit of Christmas more in your life this year as you listen to the songs that speak of His birth and life! This Christmas for me is special because with all this singing, I feel focused on the real reason for Christmas...the Savior. I know He lives and He loves us. He came to this earth to save us and show us the way to make it back to our Heavenly Father. And it is His humble birth that we celebrate with such zeal this month:)
Oh, come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant!
Oh, come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, Born the King of angels;
Oh, come, let us adore him; Christ, the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation;
Sing, all ye citizens of heav'n above!
Glory to God, Glory in the highest;
Oh, come, let us adore him; Christ, the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv'n.
Son of the Father, Now in flesh appearing;
Oh, come, let us adore him; Christ, the Lord.

(Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful - Hymn 202)

Merry Christmas, with love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

Yay! Christmas is coming!!! It really doesn't feel like it though, it is like 100 degrees here. Somehow Christmas lights, and Christmas trees in people's windows just aren't the same when you are walking in the hot sun all just doesn't have that same magical ''Christmas'' feel.

Nevertheless we are getting geared up for a great Christmas focused on the real reason for the season. My companion and I are preparing to sing (and play the piano) in a Stake choir concert and for the mission Christmas conference this week. And we are offering to sing Christmas songs to people when we knock on their would be surprised though how many people would reject even a Christmas song...I guess it is a little strange, two foreign blonde girls show up on your door offering to sing a song...but that is what is so great about the mission!! For us everyone is like your neighbor, we talk to, and love everyone, and just want to share the joy of Christmas with everyone!

Testimony & Conversion

This week I gained a stronger testimony about doing what our leaders counsel us to do. They are called of God to be a steward of the kingdom, and I have learned to have more trust in what they say, which is really what God wants instead of in my own fears and doubts. And I have seen that when we follow the counsel of our leaders that miracles happen, and we are blessed.

This Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting and was able to share the conversion story of my mom. Many people in the ward had tears in their eyes, and for me it was a special moment. I was able to testify about the importance of members of the church in helping others to come to the knowledge of the truth. My mom was introduced to the church because of a friend, and if that friend hadn't had the testimony she did and the love for my mom that she did to invite her to participate in the church, I wouldn't be here now. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, don't underestimate the power of your testimony and the light that shines in your life because of the Gospel. Strive to brighten that light and your testimony and as you live the Gospel to the fullest be prepared to be able to help your friends and family accept the Gospel because they will notice it in you!

The Gospel is so amazing! I live it! and I love it!:)
Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012 - Summer is officially starting

my zone had an activity today,
 we went and played soccer at a huge house in the country!
 here we all are!

We are into December now, summer is officially starting but the weather threw us a curve ball. It has rained 2 nights, ALL night, this week. We had to pull out our rain boots yesterday, and carry our rain coats for a couple days. What is going on. SO unusual. It is nice because it keeps us cooler, but so unpredictable.

And we have started preparing for Christmas, my stellar singing companion and I have started offering to sing Christmas hymns to people to help them feel the Spirit of Christmas, but so far no one has taken us up on our offer...their companion really has a beautiful voice.

In other news! We talked to 2 American girls this week! My companion was super excited to be able to speak english:) Weird, right? One is an LDS 17 yr old from Utah who is here on a student exchange. She lives near some members in the ward and that is how we found her. Then we stopped someone to talk to them in the street. She was blonde, right there I suspected she was American, and then when I started talking to her in Spanish and she gave me that confused ''i don't understand what you are saying'' look. I switched to English...hardest thing in my life!!! I stumbled over my words for sure, I'm not used to preaching the Gospel in English  She is also in a student exchange, she said she would look up the church when she got home to Oregon:)

In church on Sunday, the Bishop bore his testimony and said somethings that I really needed to hear. He told us that even with the difficulties that we face in this life, we can't forget the vision of why we are really here. Why we were sent to this earth and where we are going. We are here to overcome challenges. God will always give us second chances, and if we live the Gospel, we will find solutions. At this point in my mission I feel like God is refining me in His refining fire more than ever, and the heat is almost unbearable. But I am learning to trust Him, and always show my faith by being obedient. I know if we are obedient to God's commandment that we will be free from sin and guilt and that all things will work together for our good. We just have to do our part and be obedient!

With all my love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012 - Gratitude & the Restoration

Happy Late Thanksgiving!!!!!

I hope you all ate lots of turkey and mashed potatoes!!! Thursday here passed just like any other day. I actually forgot it was Thanksgiving.

Half way through the day I remembered and told my comp that we would need to make some fake in-the-microwave rolls (did you know you can make bread in the microwave...) and some mashed potatoes and draw some hand turkeys to celebrate...but then we forgot. We taught a really great lesson but that went late and we had to run to the house and by the time we finished planning for the next day it was time to go to bed...sigh. Oh well.

What we DID do though is we had a Gratitude Night ward activity on Saturday ... planned by none other than the gringa missionaries ... it was our sly way to celebrate Thanksgiving:) We watched a Mormon Message* about gratitude then counted our blessings (30 blessings for each person) then we played that ''Have you ever...?'' game but we changed it to ''I'm grateful for...'' the person in the middle had to read one thing on their list and if you had the same thing you had to switch seats. Surprisingly the most common thing people were grateful for was water and bread (only in Chile would people write they were grateful for bread:) It turned out great!


Even though it is still only Spring here, it is getting quite warm during the day. A nice breeze keeps us cool, but it doesn't weaken the sun's rays. I am about as tan and blonde after 3 weeks of hot weather as I was after all of last summer. By the end of this summer I am going to be brown and very blonde. I keep putting sun screen on though don't worry!

The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

This week we started teaching a young couple. They are both college students and we've hit it off really well with them. The best part is they understand what we are teaching. After teaching about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ they were full of questions!! The girl asked us...if there was a restoration what kinds of things were restored? After we explained about the restoration of the priesthood, the doctrine of baptism and the doctrine of the family, she asked...and since the Bible has so many imperfections did the prophet do some kind of restoring of the bible too? So of course we explained about the Book of Mormon which clarifies the imperfections of the Bible. And they started reading the Book of Mormon together!!! So exciting:)

The Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ truly have been restored in their whole and perfect form through a living prophet, and the Book of Mormon really is evidence of this marvelous restoration!!

Love, Hermana Bowns
*This link goes to the Mormon Messages YouTube playlist. I didn't know which video they watched at the Gratitude Night. -Ryann

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012 - 100 Wonderful Things #3-#16

Freak out freak out...

I am having a freak out. Today are transfers. I was feeling nice and calm thinking that I would just stay with my wonderful companion for one more transfer. Plop! are training. Aaaahhhh!!!

This will be my first time training a new missionary...I finished the training of my current companion, but she is Latina and already knew what she was doing. There is a good chance that my new missionary will be from the states...that means she won't know ANYTHING. I know because I've been there. When I got to the mission I seriously couldn't talk, eat, or walk without my companion, where to go, what to do, what to say, I was like a little child. It is a huge responsibility, and I am obviously super nervous. BUT I trust that the Lord is giving me the opportunity to have this kind of experience for a reason, and I know that it will be wonderful (once I get over the initial shock).

100 Wonderful Things

Remember my 100 wonderful things about the mission? I forgot to write them last week, but here are the other 14 that you haven't heard yet:)

  • 3.  Seeing members of the church share their testimonies with their friends.
  • 4.  Being a soldier in the army of the Lord!
  • 5.  Receiving answers to your prayers.
  • 6.  Opening the eyes and minds of the people you teach to the truths of God (and the simple counsel of a loving and inspired leader).
  • 7.  The companionship of the Holy Ghost and when others recognize it.
  • 8.  The humbling of a heart.
  • 9.  To see families living in righteousness.
  • 10. The courage of young people.
          There is a young man in our ward whose whole family are members of the church, he really wants to come to church but feels alone. But he comes anyway. We are doing a ward fast and his parents can't fast because they have diabetes, but he said he would fast with us, it will be his first time fasting!
  • 11. When a total stranger invites you into their house, feels the Spirit and truth of your message, and accepts the invitation to be baptized.
  • 12. Seeing the great potential of God's children, and seeing parents fight for their families!
  • 13. Giggling on a rainy day and seeing the tender mercies of God.
          We got a big surprise this rained...a lot. One night I woke up about four times and every time I could hear the rain pounding on the rooftop. The first day it rained we didn't think it would rain really hard so we took our raincoats and rain boots  but not an umbrella or the rain skirts. well we made a grave mistake. by the end of the night we were soaked...more my companion who repeatedly was wringing water out of her skirt. Nevertheless we waled around with smiles on our faces. We tried to enjoy ourselves even though it was pouring and there was no one in the street. We say the tender mercies of the Lord as doors opened and people let us in to teach them!
  • 14. Hearing the testimony of a new convert:)
  • 15. Making mistakes.
          I taught probably one of the most horrible lessons I have ever taught in my whole mission this week. It just didn't go well. Well  this haunted me all night, I thought for sure that the woman we had taught wouldn't want to come to church, nor listen to us anymore. But Sunday there she was with her husband at church. Sometimes as a missionary I feel like I can't make mistakes...but it's inevitable. The beautiful part is that as we make mistakes we have the opportunity to repent, be better, and be forgiven by the people we teach.
  • 16. Seeing true conversion!
          We are teaching a man who truly wants to change his life! He has stopped smoking, told us he is going to read the Book of Mormon before Christmas, looks forward to going to church, and wants to start his family history:) There is nothing more amazing to see than the changes that are taking place in him!

It has been a good, but hard week! It is amazing that the same things that at times bring you the greatest sorrow are the same things that bring you the greatest joy. I love the is one of those things. I have felt the worst I've ever felt in my life on my mission, and I've had the most wonderful experiences ever in the mission. And those moments of pain and sorrow, make the good experiences even more precious and special.

Till next week. Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 - In the Right Place

My comp and I
on Halloween.


On Halloween, like I said, my companion and I dressed as twins. It was subtle...but not. The first person we passed by in the morning was a young man, I didn't notice, but my companion starts busting up laughing because she said the kid had a look of confusion as he looked us up and down and took in the matching purple shirts, black skirt, black nylons, black shoes, same braided hair, and purple backpacks and black nametags:) We even had matching earrings! But he was the only one the whole day who noticed.

I was wrong that no one celebrates Halloween here. On Wednesday we worked in a part of our sector where the houses are a little nicer, it is a more secluded neighborhood, there aren't fences, and there are more families with young kids, and at about 7pm people started coming out of their houses with kids dressed up. by 10pm the streets were full of kids with their parents trick-or-treating! It was so fun to see, especially because my companion had never seen that!

We are in full summerness now! It is getting hot...finally!

Some Chilean cultural tidbits (it has been a while since I wrote some):

There is a holiday seriously every month. The Catholics celebrate Saint days and some of them are nationally recognized. Also the Evangelicals have some national at least once a month there is a three or four day weekend. This weekend (the 1st of November) they commemorate their deceased relatives, it was a four day weekend and everyone went to the cemeteries to visits their loved ones who have passed on. I think it is a great tradition!

Chileans are great at "shooting the breeze." I´ve never met people who are so content to just sit and chat about whatever. (Some of them are really detailed story tellers too, they include all the details:) We were talking with a lady the other day and somehow we got on the topic of how someone tried to give her kids away and she had to go get them. We got all the details from who said what, what everyone did, how they looked, why they were where they were, how they felt, etc!

People don't take family pictures here like we do. In the states it is very normal to have a family portrait taken every couple years. Here when I show the picture of my family that we had taken 8 years ago every asks me why all the gringos have photos like that. I guess the photography and portrait studio business hasn't really taken flight here yet.

In the Right Place at the Right Time

One of the most gratifying things about being a missionary is when you appear in the right place at the right moment. We always try to be guided by the Spirit, but you never know if you arrived in the precise moment if no one tells you. And it is a humbling experience to have someone tell you that for some reason, when we passed by, they opened the door and let us in, when normally they wouldn't have, and that we came at a time in their life when they needed something like what we have to offer!

Also this week we had a really special experience. We visited a young mother who has three little kids. She knew we were going to stop by and told us that before we knocked on the door she thought, ''oh I hope they don't come, i'm really busy today''. Then when we knocked she didn't really want to let us in but somehow there we were sitting in her living room, and when we started teaching she said she felt like we were accompanied by something or someone. And that she felt a peace and calm. Well, we know that we did go the Holy Ghost. And we had the beautiful experience of explaining that to her.

The Spirit will be with us and guide us when we let it, and when we let it we can have such amazing and priceless experiences of blessing the lives of other people and being an answer to someone's prayers.

With love, Hermana Bowns

The girls I live with on Halloween
(we ate popcorn and watched a 10 minute video from Together Forever, about families:)

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012 - 100 Wonderful Things

Happy Halloween!!!

People here don't celebrate Halloween that much. Everyone says it is an "American" holiday and just for commercial revenue (all the candy sales). But there are still some people who dress up, etc. But there aren't pumpkins here like there are there, and it isn't's spring, so it just isn't the same. Nevertheless, I am determined to celebrate a little bit. My companion and I already have planned to dress like twins (we have the same shirt and earrings, and are going to do our hair the same, etc.) on Wednesday and at night after we get back to the house and do our planning we are going to eat popcorn and Manjar covered apples (our substitute for caramel covered apples).

This week was a great week! We made some plans to improve, and we improved! There is no greater feeling than that of progress and growth. We are learning to teach better together, and as we gain more confidence teaching, God gives us more opportunities to teach. Every week we have the goal to talk to 140 new people, this has always been hard for me because it requires that you are always talking to random people in the street and everywhere, but these past couple weeks I've actually gotten better at talking to people! How great...after 15 months of being a missionary, I'm finally getting better at the most basic thing we to people:)

Don't think I'm getting trunky*...because I'm not...what I'm getting is freaked out thinking that one day my mission will I am trying to prepare myself: I officially have 100 (more or less) days left here in Chile. So I decided to start making a list, one thing everyday of 100 wonderful things about the mission to help me enjoy every last minute I have here :) I started on Saturday, so here are the two I have so far

1. The feeling you get when someone you teach starts to understand the Restoration of the Gospel and what it means!

(I wrote this because we had a really neat experience this week: two weeks ago, one of the couples we are teaching came to church, by the end of the three hours I was convinced that they hated it! The husband looked visibly uncomfortable, and we were not able to talk to them after. For two weeks we couldn't find them in their house, nor get ahold of them on their cell phone. The horrible thought haunted me that maybe they had had such a bad experience at church that they never wanted to talk to us again! How horrible!

Finally we stopped by their house one more time to see if there was any chance of seeing them or talking to them...they were home! They told us that they had liked church, but that it was a little long. But the husband had read the whole Gospel Principles book and told us the more he reads the more he starts to think this may be true. It had called their attention that during the testimony meeting so many people had said the church was true. We taught about the Restoration of the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ to try to answer why people say that. The husband understood what we were saying and said that it made sense to him!!! Yay!!!! They communicated to us that they think there might be something to the Church of Jesus Christ :)

2. The sweet experience of sharing the right scripture at the right time to someone who needs it!

(Yesterday we stopped by to visit a member of the church who is having some difficult trials in her life. After listening to her situation I felt a little helpless about how to help her. I don't have any answers of how to solve her problems, but a scripture came to my mind, D&C 6:13-16, we shard that with her, and my companion added verses 19 and 20 substituting the member's name for Oliver's name in the scripture. The sister shed tears after reading the verses. The scriptures had spoke to her and brought her a little comfort and understanding. It was a sweet and edifying experience and strengthened my own testimony that in the scriptures we can find help, answers, and comfort.)

Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween :)

Love, Hermana Bowns

*Trunky means homesick in mission-speak.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012 - Faith

Hello Hello

Well it is spring here and the weather is being weird. It is hot, but still rains sometimes. Like yesterday, it started pouring out of no where. I had put my rain boots away hoping that was all over. But October showers bring November flowers!

I love my new sector, my new companion and my new ward. It is so great here!! I am learning to have greater faith and to be more confident in my abilities. I had a cool experience last experience that makes you realize how far you've come. Sunday morning I was doing my normal one hour of personal study. It dawned on me that perhaps our teacher for Gospel Principles might not be there...since we hadn't talked to them and confirmed, my companion reassured me that he is always there, but since we had three people scheduled to come to church for the first time I thought it best to prepare something just in case. Well it was the Spirit that gave me that idea, because the teacher was half an hour late to the class. I just taught what I had prepared in my one hour of study and it turned out great! Normally I would never have been able to prepare a class in an hour and then give it without freaking out!

We read three stories from the Bible about people showing faith.

  1. Moses and the children of Israel needing to look at the Brazen Serpent to be healed from the snake bites.
  2. Daniel when he gets thrown in the lion's den for praying, and by calling on the Lord is saved from the lions.
  3. Queen Esther, who asks the Jews to fast and pray while she risks her life entering the king's court to plead their cause.

It was so neat to read these three stories and see how these people drew on their faith to accomplish great things. The part I liked the best was seeing what great things were accomplished. Moses and the children of Israel were healed because of their faith. Daniel was protected from harm and allowed to practice his beliefs because of his faith. And Esther saved those she loved (her people) through her faith.

If we put those into today's terms, through our faith we too can be healed from spiritual wounds that ail us, through our faith we can be protected from the temptations and harmful things of the world and live what we believe in a world who says differently, and through our faith we can help save spiritually those we love most, our friends and families. I personally am working on having greater faith, so that I can accomplish great things in my life and bless those around me. Jesus Christ is the answer to all of our problems, it is in Him that we put our faith!

With much love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012 - Conference Weekend

Who loved watching General Conference?

Hermana Bowns did!!!!!

What a spiritual feast! I loved every minute of it. Here were the highlights of the conference for me:

1. The age change for missionaries! Changing the young men was no surprise because that has been in effect here for probably almost a year now. And it is true what they said, the young men who come at 18 are just as good, just as prepared, and just as diligent as the other young men who come at 19. I would even say they come MORE excited and ready to work than the 19 year olds. This is a great change they have made. When they announced that they have changed the age for women, we were all on the edge of our seats and let out a gasp and exclamations of excitement! That is SO cool. I was so excited it made me want to go on a mission again! I was hoping that I would still be here to see some 19 year old sisters come, but I don't think I will. (See Welcome to Conference by President Thomas S. Monson)

2. All the strong, fun declarations made:

3. To avoid having regrets in this life we should: spend more time with those we love, strive earnestly to be what God knows we can be, and find happiness regardless of our circumstances (from President Uchtdorf's Saturday morning talk, Of Regrets and Resolutions).

4. How do you make the change to really be like the Savior? One small suggestion: In our morning prayer ask Heavenly Father to help us find an opportunity that day to help someone. Then be focused in finding that opportunity, if we do we will find ways to serve that we never thought possible before and we will come to be more like the Savior (from Elder Russell M. Nelson's Saturday morning talk, Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You).

5. I loved the words to the song that Elder Packer read and then the choir sang. It was Hymn 127: Does the Journey Seem Long? SO beautiful :)
(from Elder Packer's talk: The Atonement)

6. Elder Walter F. González said "Christ will never fail you, even if everything else does" (from Elder González' talk: Learning with Our Hearts)

7. And of course Elder Holland´s powerful talk in which he says "Once we have made the choice to be a disiple of Jesus Christ, we can't quit and we can't go back. God expects our loyalty and love in every stage of our lives!" (from Elder Holland's talk: The First Great Commandment)

It was a great conference and I hope that if you didn't have a chance to watch, that you will look it up online at and read or watch some of the talks. After watching this General Conference my testimony is even more firm that I know God calls prophets and apostles today. He directs His true church through these His chosen servants. If we listen and heed these teaching and words,  we will be protected and guided to happiness and hope.

In other news I am here settled in my new sector and I LOVE IT. My new companion is the cutest sweetest little thing I have ever met. We get along really well. She is from Guatemala. On top of that I am in the neighboring ward of one of my old sectors so everyone recognizes me, I feel like I've gone home, or at least returned to a beloved place, everyone has been so loving. At General Conference I was running around hugging and saying Hi to everyone. One of the young men looked at me and laughed. "You're just all smiles today Hermana Bowns." I am so happy to be here. For conference my zone had a barbecue for lunch during the Saturday sessions...but it was raining...somehow it all worked out and was delicious!

Anyway! I love you! I hope you have a great week. Thank you for your prayers and consistent support!

Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 - Learning to Walk on Water

I thought I had had whirlwind weeks in the mission , until this week! Are you ready.....

well on Tuesday and Wednesday I went to a different sector for a mini-transfer, I got to work for two days as companions with a sister who is finishing her mission. It was AMAZING. It was like a breath of fresh air. She reminded me of why I'm really here in the mission and helped me see that I can do great things.

I get back from my mini-transfer on Thursday morning and my beloved companion tells me that they are thinking of sending her home because she is having ankle problems. WHAT! That night they tell us officially that she needs to go home to take care of her foot, receive proper treatment to be able to return to missionary service in 6 months. Early the next morning she was gone. Talk about emotionally stressful.

Well that leaves me alone. And since I'm a missionary I can't BE alone. For the past three days I have been companions with an approved returned missionary sister in my ward, who had to be with me 24/7 until my new companion comes...well that is what we thought.

Since this weekend is transfers we get a call from my district leader this morning. The first thing he asks is, ''Hermana, what do you think is happening to you this transfer?'' I respond, ''I think I'm staying, because why would I leave?'' He then gives me the great shock...I'm leaving!!!!!

I'm being transferred to none else than a neighboring sector to one of my old sectors. So pretty much I feel like I am going back to a place I already served. I am seriously in shock. Elders are coming to take my place! Was I stressed before? Now I have to pack my bags and leave everything ready for the elders to pick up where I left off. Whew!!!!! Crazy crazy! But I like crazy. It makes life exciting. And I am really excited to go to my new sector. My new companion only has one transfer in the mission so I am finishing her training, and she is from Guatemala! Sigh. I am going to be so happy when Conference comes because it will mean that I am settled in my new sector and the stress is over:)

Oh and amidst the craziness I put on a ward talent show and sang a solo with my guitar in it! I have done things in the mission that I never saw myself capable of doing before. But that is the beauty of the mission, it gives you opportunities to grow and get outside of your shell:)

When I was on the mini-transfer my companion taught me something that really helped me. She read me this story from Matthew 14:

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:25-31)

My companion pointed out to me that when Peter was focused on the Savior and full of faith he actually walked on water. She taught me that we are capable of doing incredible things when we are full of faith and focused on the Savior. When we lose our focus is when we lose the ability to do those amazing things. I am determined to learn to walk on water this transfer! What can you do to learn to walk on water in your life?

Let us be faithful and focused on the Savior always!

Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012 - Chilean Independence Day: Sept. 18

Whew what a week!

This week was a holiday week, the week of Chile's independence day, the 18th of September. They changed our preparation day so that on the 18th we didn't go out and work, since no one would have talked to us anyway. So luckily we got to hang out in the church with the ward members all day! We woke up to the national anthem playing on our cell phone alarm and went early to the church, but still missed them singing the national anthem, raising the flag, and dancing the first cueca (the traditional dance here).

Me and my companion with pajaritos :)

After we ate a breakfast of pajaritos (little birds...a weird name for sweet rolls with merengue on top) and played with trompos (cool tops that you wind up and throw), played tejo or rayuelo (a man's game of throwing little discs into a box of dirt trying to hit a string that goes through the middle). Kids played with kites while we all ate mote con huesillos (cooked whole wheat kernels in peach juice with a sun-dried peach).

Me and mote con huesillo.

Then we went to lunch and had a barbeque. SO delicious. We ate meat and longanisa (like a bratwerst) with boiled potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes and mote con huesillos for dessert. We ate mote con huesillos EVERYWHERE. But it was great because I LOVE mote con huesillos:)

Me learning the cueca.

Then we worked for a little bit, and then went back to the church. Then the whole ward came to dance the cueca, a sister in the ward taught me how to dance, and we ate churipanes (a hot dog with a bratwerst pretty much). They had antikuches (shishkabobs) but we missed them because we had to go home.

Traditional huasa elegante dress.

The ward stayed at the church till 1am dancing and eating! What a fiesta:) (The highlight of the activity was that a young man who recently was baptized invited his family who aren't that thrilled about his decision to be baptized and they CAME!!!!! And said they were impressed by how happy and friendly the ward members were:) Yay!)

Us with our Ward Mission Leader.

To try to be festive, my companion and I dressed up the best we could like huasas elegantes (elegant Chilean cowgirls) in a black skirt, white shirt, with a black blazer (that is the traditional huasa elegante look). No one celebrates an independence day like Chile does:) There are still flags all over the place! In every house, on every car...its great.

Me in a street decorated with flags...
can you see that every house has a flag?

Now we are getting back into our groove after all the festivities. But there are still a lot of great things coming, because it is spring here!!!! This week I am going to teach how to make cupcakes in my cooking class and we are going to have a ward talent show this weekend! Stay tuned for fun pictures!

It is great to be a missionary in the work of the Lord!!!!!

With love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012 - Dieciocho Spirit

Chilean Cultural Tidbits:

They love herbal tea here. If you are sick with anything, they will recommend an herb of some kind. The other day I drank a nice Oregano Water, super delicious and healthy! My companion had a tummy ache this week and a sister in the ward gave us a broken up branch to boil with sugar until the water turned pink and drink it. We have no idea what it was, but it worked!

Traditional September 18th foods: Empanadas (like a calzon full of meat and onions) and Mote con Huesillo (soaked barley with a sun-dried peach in peach juice), both super delicious and super traditional. It isn't even 18 yet and we already get offered empanadas and mote con huesillo in every house. Yesterday we ate 4 empanadas in 3 different houses within 3 hours.

Well we are in the middle of 18 (people here just say Dieciocho - that's 18 in Spanish) Spirit. There are Chilean flags EVERYWHERE. It is so patriotic:) People are in holiday mode. Eating, hanging out with family, listening to music loud, having barbeques, walking around in traditional chilean cowboy attire, flying kites, etc. Next week I will have lots of photos:) My companion and I tried to find dresses to participate in all the festivities, but we didn't end up finding dresses in our size:( Tonight my companion is going to teach me Chile's national anthem. Tomorrow early the ward is going to put up the flag, sing the national anthem and eat breakfast and play games, so I need to be prepared to sing along too! I'll tell you how it all goes down next week:)

Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012 - Tender Mercies

Hello hello!

This week was an exciting week because it was my companions birthday!!! I am now an expert at celebrating birthdays, I have celebrated almost everyone of my companions birthdays with them...that's 6 in total. So I sent a member to by the gift so it would be a surprise, made her a breakfast of crepes with manjar, and blew up balloons with a happy birthday sign!!! All in secret, which is no small feat when you have to be with someone 24/7.

Cultural Chilean Tidbits for this week:

So in the states pink flamingos are common yard decorations right? Well here they are swans. Everyone has swans in their front yard. Usually it is some kind of plant pot shaped like a swan.

Cell phones are different here. Most people don't have a cell phone plan, they just pay as they need minutes but this means that there is an interesting phone culture. For example it is not uncommon to have someone call you from an unknown number (the phone of a friend) to tell you to call them at their phone number because they don't have minutes but they want to talk to you. Also when they talk on the phone they talk faster than normal to conserve time (a horrible thing for non-native spanish speakers). There is also a made-up word, "pinchar," which means to call but only let it ring once or twice before they answer as a way to say ´hey call me´. So people say "pinch me" (in Spanish, "me pinche"), which is really like saying page me. It took me a while to get the whole phone system:)

Perfume and cologne are more popular here. I have never before smelled so many great smelling perfumes or colognes walking around in the street. The best is when you salud someone with a kiss and a hug and their perfume lingers on you!

Tender Mercies

Well with my firm declaration last week that I would be happy no matter what came a week of trial! The trial of my faith for sure. But amidst long days of not being able to teaching, God sent tender mercies.

I wanted to tell of one tender mercy. We were knocking on doors and we spoke with a woman who told us about how she is having a really hard time with her son. He is partying every night, not taking life very seriously and she kicked him out of the house and she just let him back home, but she is worried that it will be just the same. We testified about how the Gospel helps families more than anything else and she said we could come back another day. I really wanted to talk to the son, but she said he was sleeping.

Well we walk out of the street and hesitate trying to figure out where we have planned to go next when i see the son come out of the house and walk down the street toward us, so we linger a little longer to be able to talk to him. He is really nice and says that he'll be there when we go by to see his mom. I see this as a great step in a right direction, partier/rebelious college student agrees to talk to missionaries...could be good!

When we go back they are sleeping:( But we go back another day and the mom lets us in. The son didn't want to come out because he was mad with him mom, but I am determined to help the kid. It was a really special lesson because we were able to testify about how the Gospel heals and helps us, and how God wants us to be happy. She said that she felt something interesting: a desire to learn about what we were saying:) In the closing prayer, which she offered, she thanked God that we stopped by to see her.

After knocking on so many doors and having people repeatedly say NO they don't want the most precious message this world has to offer, it is a miracle and humbling experience to listen to a prayer of thanks like the one that this woman offered in our lesson. It was a tender mercy and reminded me of the great value of what we share and teach!

We have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been restored, every precious doctrine, and is a fountain of joy for those who accept and live it!

With love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012 - Be Happy!

Hola hola!

Well I am finally getting situated in my new sector...I know how to get to the chapel and the grocery store!! Haha, I know more than that, but I am still getting used to such a big confusing sector.

I also just started teaching Cooking Class where I teach recipes from the US. Last week was Grandma Corkey's surprise cookies (cookies don't really exist here) week Muddy Buddies!

I also started up Piano Class here, the whole young men and young women group from the ward came! Awesome! I didn't know what to do with so many students and only one piano. But we'll see how many come next week, learning piano takes patience, practice and persistence, I hope they hang in there to be able to learn something useful:)

Chilean Cultural Tidbit:

You can buy a lot of things here in a bag that in the states they sell always in containers...for example, mayonaise, ketchup, mustard, hand soap, shampoo, manjar (which is like peanut butter), jelly, and a whole lot of other things. It's a little more messy, but saves space!

For Independence Day here it is an obligation to hang the Chilean flag on your house. Luckily someone gave me a Chilean flag as a gift. We are going to put it up outside our house today! The 18th is just around the corner and everyone is getting ready for the festivities:)


These past two weeks have been a little rough, getting adjusted to a new sector, taking on the responsibility of senior companion, etc. So this upcoming week my motto is to BE HAPPY! I have a lot of little quotes that I keep by my desk to remind me. Here are some of the things they say:

"Don't get down no matter what!"

''Some worry endlessly over this or that or doesn't please the Lord when we worry for not doing enough. Man is that he might have joy - Live that way!''

''Love the mission and have fun!''

Sometimes I get down when I feel like I'm not improving or not doing the best I can, but getting down is counterproductive and so this week I am going to be happy even if I am struggling. There is no point in pouting, its a waste of time. So I promise that when I feel dicouraged I am going to smile and think positively and keep working and striving to do my best! I invite you to join me! This week will be a week full of smiles and positive thoughts all over the world:)

Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012 - Reflections on Forgiveness

Here I am in my new sector!!! My new sector is GIMUNGEOUS! When my companion showed me the map of our sector I stood there with my mouth open for two minutes...stunned. I'm still lost when we walk around. It is going to take me weeks to figure out where everything is.

It has been a little bit of a rough transition, but I know that before no time I will feel right at home here. The ward members are really loving and accepting and I am jumping right in with teaching a weekly cooking workshop and a piano class to invite people to come get to know the church and it's members.

My new companion is from Chile and she is so loving and funny. She is teaching me how to really speak Chilean and how to understand jokes in spanish (which is the hardest for me, I usually just laugh without really getting the joke:)

Chilean cultural tidbits:

Chileans aren't super into really sweet things. Most of the desserts that I make they like but always say they are too sweet. (like peach cobbler or muddy buddies). Their cakes here aren't very sweet (and to me compared to Betty Crocker they taste like cardboard). It also is not uncommon to find a cake made out of crackers! They'll crush up the crackers and mix it with Manjar (a sweet sticky substance) mold it and put frosting on it. It tastes good, but definitely something I had never seen before.

Their Independence Day is the 18th of September...but they prepare for it the whole month of September and take a week off to celebrate it. For 5 days there are parties, parades, barbeques, and people dressed up in the traditional Chilean cowboy attire. I am SO excited for the 18th! This will be my first 18 of Sept in Chile because last year I got here right after all the festivities.


I learned something in church yesterday! My companion and I taught the Sunday School lesson and the topic was Repentance. We reviewed the 7 principles of repentance which are:

  1. Recognize our sins
  2. Feel sorrow for what we have done
  3. Forsake or abandon the sinful behavior
  4. Confess the sin to God and those you have offended
  5. Make restitution for the damage you've done
  6. Forgive others
  7. Keep the commandments

The one that really caught my attention was number 6. It had never quite occurred to me that our own repentance process is not complete if we ourselves refuse to forgive others.

We read the scripture in 3 Nephi 13:14-15 which says  ''For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.'' That really hit me for some reason. It is so important that we forgive others. Who are we to withhold forgiveness and healing to others? Our time on Earth is too short and our salvation is too precious to not forgive.

In a General Conference talk years ago, President Monson quoted George Herbert, an early 17th-century poet, who said: “He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven, for everyone has need of forgiveness.”(Hidden Wedges, April 2002)  (For another good read look up the talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called The Merciful Obtain Mercy from the April 2012 General Conference).

Prophets and Apostles have been counseling us for years to forgive others and to forgive ourselves, and I am starting to see how important and essential that really is. It has caused me to think and reflect upon my life and if I have any unhealed wounds, any lingering grudges or offenses, I hope you will do the same and if you find that there are still festering wounds that you will extend forgiveness to those who need it, or ask for forgiveness to those you have offended so that we can really benefit from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The healing and happiness and hope that we need comes only from one source, Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel.

With love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012 - Transfers!

Do you like surprises????

Good cuz I have a huge surprise! I'm being transferred!

I was 98% sure I was NOT leaving (just like everytime I feel like I'm not being transfered and then end up getting transfered). We were so sure I wasn't leaving that my companion pretty much already said bye to everyone and she packed all her bags the night before. We were in shock this morning when we got the news that I am leaving. I am still in shock. But changes are always good and I know I am going to love my new sector.

Cultural Tidbits

It has been awhile since I wrote some Chilean Cultural Tidbits so here some are:

Chileans LOVE lemons. They put lemon juice and everything, and more than once I have caught people eating lemons straight with salt on them. ooooo...sour!

All of the schools here have uniforms. Which usually consists of pants or a skirt and a button up shirt or a polo type shirt. To keep the clothes clean all the kids also have this jackety thing that looks like a doctor's lab coat that they wear on the way to or home from school. I could never figure out why the kids wore them (because they are kind of funny looking), but then one kid told me it is to protect his idea.

There is also a high school here in my town called Funny School. I was talking to a woman who works in the school district and asked her if she knew what the name meant, she said she had no idea. She said though that out of all of the schools in the district it had the most students. Not because it was the best academially, nor because it was the cheapest (all the schools are private schools here), but because its name was in English. I laughed out loud and told the lady that the school's name meant Funny School and then she just started laughing herself. She said people go crazy for stuff in English even if they don't know what it means.


This week it rained 4 out of the 7 days of the week. And three if those days were in a row! I get the feeling I'm still in for some rain this winter!

Moving Mountains

This weekend my companion and I sang in another baptismal service. We sang another Jenny Philips song called Valiant Faith. There is a line that says something about how I was born to fight for the right, to move mountains and to see the power of God in my life. I liked that because it reminded me that that really is why I am here. To fight for the right, to move mountains and to see the power of God work in my life and in the lives of others.

Valiant Faith by Jenny Phillips:  In English • In Spanish (YouTube videos)

Photo source:
Tolhuaca Volcano, Chile
It made me think about the mountains that I have seen moved and the mountains there still are to move. And about how I want to see the power of God more in my life. Mountains are moved through our great faith. What are the mountains in your life that need to move? And how can you move them with the help of God through your great faith? I like the reminders from these scriptures:

Mormon 9:27 "...wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lordwith all your heart..."

Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

Don't doubt and don't fear. Those mountains WILL move! Have faith and ask the Lord for the things you need and He will help you. Don't think it's impossible. If the Lord has asked you to do it, it can be done! I echo the testimony of Nephi when he said, "If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done." (1 Nephi 17:50)

Photo source: • R: Mt. Shasta, California,
L: Miscanti Lagoon near San Pedro de Atacama Chile Luca Galuzzi 2006
Let's go forth with great faith this week moving mountains that appear will not budge! I know I have some challenges awaiting me in my new sector and so I more than ever will be putting into practice my faith to see the power of God work in my life and in my sector!

With much love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012 - One of the Best Weeks

This has been one of the BEST weeks in my mission. Why? Because so many wonderful things happened this week. I have felt truly blessed because I have seen first hand the work and glory of God, and what a glorious work it is! My companion and I were talking the other day about how it is times like these that we feel like we could live here and be missionaries for the rest of our lives. And it is because there is so greater joy than seeing the work of the savlation of souls, to see people change their hearts, accept the Gospel and start to live it with their families!

We have been teaching a really amazing family! Yesterday the father of the family who holds the priesthood had the opportunity to baptize his wife (who the first time we visited her said she would never go to church and never get baptized!). They have started having family prayer every night, the mom did a little missionary work when she explained to her own parents why she had made the decision to be baptized and was able to bear her testimony about the Gospel. One of the sons and the daughter-in-law bore their testimonies in church, and the mom and daughter were so touched by the hymn 'Love at Home' that they got teary-eyed during the baptismal service! These are small, but simple demonstrations to me of true conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And seeing the conversion of others strengthens my own conviction that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and there is no other way given that leads to eternal life and happiness!

In the baptismal service my companion and I sang a song called Courageously by Jenny Philips (but we sang it in Spanish).

Needless to say, it was a very special week/weekend. I feel a little bit like Alma when he said "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." (Alma 29:9-10)

The Lord is so merciful and I feel privileged to be able to be an instrument in His hands. I hope you too can find opportunities in your life to be an instrument in the Lord's hands in serving others and helping them to feel the love of God, and come unto him.

With much love, Hermana Bowns

Here is a picture of me and my wonderful companion
 making a delicious treat.

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012 - Bug Bites & Spiritual Lessons

Bug Bites

The bug bites are back!!! Remember when me and my companion thought we had scabies...well it went away for awhile and now its back... and i have it worse :0 People first told us it was scabies...then fleas...then a food allergy...then bed bugs...and now mosquitos. So we have tried everything from bug killer, scabies lotion, to not eating fish to try to get rid of these bites. Now we cover ourselves in bug repellent before we go to bed to see if it works. I did last night but didn't do my neck or face and today i have two bites on my must be mosquitos then....we aren't really sure:)

Spiritual Lessons

This was a special week! We taught some really great people and had some really spiritual lessons. More this week than at any other time in my mission people understood what we were teaching.

Three memorable experiences from this week:

1) We taught a 15 year old young man and watched the Restoration video with him. After, we asked him what he thought. Usually people give an answer like, it was nice, amazing that he could receive an answer from God...this young man answered, ''The truth? How I'm really feeling? I'm a little conflicted. I feel something different but good. Everyone has told me that what I saw is impossible (that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ and they called him to be a prophet), but I feel something special, and so I'm not sure what to think.'' We invited him to pray and ask God what was true. Four days later we had another great lesson with him, where he said that he prayed and God answered him. He knew without a doubt that God is aware of him and that this was true.

2) We have been working with a family for a couple months now. The father and son are members of the church, and the mother and daughter are investigating the church. Last night we wanted to re-teach about the Restoration, we decided to watch the short Restoration video with them. We did and after the mom was full of questions (in our first visit she told us that she would never go to church because she didn't like how we talked about Joseph Smith). But after the video she was asking really good questions that showed to us that she understood.

At the end of our discussion she said, ''So the reason people talk about Joseph Smith so much is because of the Restoration? It's because through him Jesus Christ restored the true church? That's why?'' YES! We were so excited that she understood. Then we invited her to pray to know if this was true, we prayed with her and her daughter right then, and the mom offered the most sincere, heartfelt prayer I've ever heard. In her prayer she asked God to help her know if these things were true, and if they are true to have the strength to live the Gospel with her family, to be a better mother and wife. It was an extremely special moment, one I will never forget.

3) Yesterday, my companion and I had about three hours of open time. We wanted to use this time to look for new people to teach, but we didn't know where to go look. Our sector isn't that big and so we feel like we have worked all over. In our nightly planning Saturday night we decided to choose some inspired streets to contact. We prayed for inspiration and then individually chose 5 streets that we wanted to go to. Then we came together to see if there were any that were the same. There was only one.

So Sunday afternoon we went to that street and began to knock on doors and talk to people. In the morning before leaving the house we had prayed for help to find three people to teach, and within 20 minutes of talking to people on this particular street a family of three (mom, dad and teenage daughter) invited us in to share a message. As a family they want to do what is right and teach their daughter good principles. We taught them about how following Jesus Christ helps us to have a better family life and reach these righteous goals. We invited them to begin walking in this path of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being baptized and they said they would start preparing! The dad said he had never understood why Jesus was baptized by immersion, and said they wanted to be baptized  to follow better the Savior. We left their house and I felt overwhelmingly loved by Heavenly Father, that He trusted us enough to lead us to this house to help this family.

This week throughout these experiences I learned that God has you where you are for a specific and important reason. It is our responsibility to do our best so that we can do what He has sent us to do. This applies to all of us, not just missionaries. He puts us in places, with people who need us, or with peole that we need to learn from. But if we are spiritually aware and sensitive we can take part in the work and glory of God, by helping our brothers and sisters prepare for eternal life! If you feel like you don't know why you are where you are, ask God to help you see who needs you right now, and then go help them in the way the Spirit prompts you.

Love, Hermana Bowns

(p.s. everyone here calls my companion hermana kem piña because there is a soda called kem piña and my companion's name is kemp, the other day we told a lady that and she looked at me and said, 'if she is hermana kem piña, what are you? hermana coca cola?' hahahaha yes, i am hermana coca cola:)

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012 - One Year

Hello!!! (People often say this to us in the street...two blonde girls walking around calls a lot of attention...:)

One Year

Well this past week I completed one year in the mission. And I didn't really do anything to celebrate. We had a big mission conference, my comp and I wore the outfits that we wore on our first day in the MTC to commemorate the day, and then we took a picture with all of the other missionaries that were completing one year. Oh and my amazing companion gave me a box of Nerds:)

It seems weird that I've been doing this for a is almost unreal. But when I look at how I've changed throughout the course of my mission it is obvious I've been here a year. For one, I speak spanish! Fluently. A few times people have asked if I was from Chile, and sometimes they don't know where I'm from...I would think it would be obvious that I'm from the US, but the Spanish throws them off...and then someone told me that I kind of look Chilean too. In the blessing I received before coming on the mission I was told that I would embrace Chilean culture so much that I would cease to think and act like a North American...that is coming true.


This last week was really great. We had the mission conference which was so inspiring. We learned about conversion. This Sunday I also spoke in church on the same topic...conversion. We ourselves need to be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then help others have this same experience of being converted. Being converted means we are changed. We are purified and committed to doing the will of the Lord in all things. In my talk I shared this scripture that tells about how a group of people in the Book of Mormon felt in the moment that they became converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. ... And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days... (Mosiah 5:2 & 5:5)
I want to be even more converted than I am. Until we are perfect we still need to change and convert ourselves even more to what Jesus taught. Conversion is a lifelong process, that comes through small spiritual experiences as we make an effort to keep the commandments. Moments in which I have felt the workings of conversion in my heart have occurred while praying, reading the scriptures, or attending a church meeting. No wonder these are the most basic, but most repeated commandments that God has given us. Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Our conversion and eventual exaltation are great things brought to pass by our small efforts to do what the Lord asks of us.

This week was also so great because a young man that Hermana Kemp and I have been teaching was baptised on Sunday. His father (who is a member of the church) cried and his mom, brother, and sister-in-law said that they too will be baptised soon. There is no greater joy than seeing an entire family accept and live the fullness of the Gospel. It is amazing! I love being a missionary, it truly is the work and glory of God:)

Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

Did you know that I am not short here in Chile?

It took me about 4 months to finally realize that I don't have to look up to talk to very many people like I do in the States. Rather everyone is about my height, a couple inches taller, or even shorter! I think that is one thing I will really miss about Chile, being able to talk to people face to face!

And talk about weird weather, we are in the middle of July (which is like being in the middle of January). It should be raining and freezing cold. It is cold, but only in the morning and at night, and it has stopped raining. Today we had a zone activity at the beach! The sun was out...there was a chilly wind blowing but the sun was warm enough that we could take off our coats and enjoy ourselves.

Ward Temple Trip

This weekend was a great weekend! Church was great because this weekend the whole ward took a trip to the Santiago temple. Many of them were given the opportunity to bear their testimonies and share their experiences about the temple in Sacrament Meeting. The Spirit was very strong, and my own testimony of the importance of the work we do in temples was strengthened.

Here in the mission we are so focused on the preaching of the Gospel that I sometimes forget about the great work of family history. One brother said in his testimony that after the second coming of Jesus Christ our main focus will turn from preaching the gospel to doing family history work. What a marvelous time that will be! And we don't have to wait to start that glorious work. If you haven't done family history work, start today!

Blessings and Surprises

This week was also a great week of blessings and surprises. The greatest of all occured just yesterday. We have been working with a young man, who is very excited about learning the Gospel and has already started going to seminary and all the young men's activities. But he just never quite felt ready to be baptized.

Yesterday we taught him and his family a short lesson, and at the end he told us he had something to tell us. And them with shining eyes he told us that he wanted to get baptized. In church he had felt the Spirit, and one of the sisters in the ward had asked him after the meeting if he was going to get baptized. He said he wasn't sure and she asked him, 'Do you know the Church is true?' he said ,'yes'. She asked, 'Do you know the Book of Mormon is true?' he said, 'yes'. 'Well' she said, 'get baptized then!' and it just hit him, that he knew it was all true and there was no need to wait! Hermana Kemp and I were speechless with joy and surprise. Hermana Kemp almost started crying and I just started squealing with excitment. And he just sat there beaming.

Following the Savior and His example is what brings us true joy, I testify of that!

With love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012 - Settled in your heart

Happy 4th of July!!!

And welcome to the world my little niece Millie Madsen:)

What an exciting and somewhat crazy week. Some really great things happened and some really not great things happened...I'll just report on the great things:) Today is transfers and...drum and hermana kemp are staying together! Yay! We have set some goals to work harder than before and accomplish more than before. And we are excited because we will be together for our one year mark, so we will get to celebrate a little.

This weekend the boyfriend of one of the ward members got baptized. Hna. Kemp and I sang 'How Great Thou Art' at the baptism. It was a really sweet experience, because after his baptism he said that he was just SO happy, and that he had never felt that kind of joy before, he said just wanted to do everything right from then on!

For the 4th Hna. Kemp and I ate peach cobbler and ice cream in our apartment before going to bed. We were going to sing the national anthem, but we ended up practicing our song for the baptism instead. I drew some fireworks on a piece of paper for us to look at, but it just wasn't the same:) We did wear red white and blue though, and every chance we had pointed out to people why we were wearing red white and blue!

Here is a pic of me and the girl that
the ward members say i look like...
the one who cocks her head to the side...:)
Funny thing: here in the sector everyone calls my companion kem piña (because her last name is kemp and kem piña is a soda here). my name doesn't relate to anything, but apparently there is a commercial on tv for a cell phone company that has a girl that looks and talks like me on it. the girl in the commercial is in a miss universe pageant and actually says something really intelligent and so everyone cocks their head to the side like they are thinking, and in response to all the cocked heads the girl says 'either what i said is really stupid or...' ) at least that is what people have told me happens in the commercial...i haven't actually seen it. but all the young men in my ward always cock their head to the side when they see me and say 'either what i said is really stupid or...' its pretty funny. and if i want to get a good laugh out of people i just have to cock my head to the side and they bust up.

And it is officially cold!!!! My cute little rain boots that i bought a month ago got a bunch of cracks in them, and so hna. kemp and i went and bought new matching ones:) we'll see how long they last!

This week in my personal study I have been reading the Ensign* from June. It is SO good! My favorite article so far was by Elder Anderson called 'You Know Enough'. In his talk he shares a scripture from Luke when Jesus says, “Settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 14:28 [in Luke 14:27, footnote b**]). I have been thinking about what this scripture says a lot. To me this is true conversion, that in our hearts we already have settled, or decided, that we will do what Jesus commands, or teaches. This means also that we will support our church leaders who have been called and set apart in the name of Jesus Christ to lead and guide us. I really like the phrase ''settled in your heart''. I want to live like that; already decided and dedicated to doing what the Savior says.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer...soak up the sun for me:)
Love, Hermana Bowns
*I actually found the article Di was reading in the Liahona, which is the Church's international version of the Ensign.
**I couldn't find a link to the JST of Luke 14:27/28 online, however you can look it up in a Bible published by the Church. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is included after the normal text of the Bible, like an appendix, for reference. -Ryann

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

Well it's another Monday! Today we had a zone activity, where all the missionaries in my zone got together to play soccor. Me and my comp are the only sisters so they split us up, one on each team. I pretty much just ran up and down the court, pretending to be ready just in case someone kicked me the ball, and because the elders are nice, they would kick me the ball, but i would never be able to stop it and actually do something useful with it. One of the elders told me I was the good luck on their team, because we were winning...but it wasn't because i was doing anything to help:) So we played for about an hour then me and my comp left to let them ''really'' play.

Starting this week me and my companion are going to bet really buff! Every day we have the goal to talk to 20 new people and invite them to listen to our message. To help us make sure we meet our goal we've decided that if we talk to less than 20 people we have to do push-ups for the people we didn't talk to. And it adds up everyday. For example if we talk to 15 people on Monday, and 15 people on Tuesday, and 15 people on Wednesday, Wednesday night we'll be doing 15 push-ups! Last night we had to do 35 push-ups before we could go to bed! So we are either going to be better at talking to people, or we are going to get really buff:)

And I learned a new Chilean phrase this week. In the US we say that every girl is waiting for her ''knight in shining armor''. Here they say that every girl is waiting for her ''blue prince''. I was confused at first...why would the prince be blue? Then one woman told me it's because in all the movies the prince who marries the princess always has a blue outfit/uniform on.

And remember the ward fast that we were doing here...well we are still doing it, and seeing MIRACLES! We have been working with a man and his family lately. The man is a member of the church but hasn't gone for something like 25 years. We invited him and his family to church. Last Sunday he and his youngest sone came and the ward gave him a huge warm welcome back! Then yesterday his wife and both of his sons came to church with him!!!!! It was a wonderful day. There is nothing better than a family brought together and held together by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a saying that a family who prays together, stays together, but I would add that a family who prays together, reads the scriptures together, and goes to church together, stays together! I hope you are able to do these three things with your family, I have seen the great strength, protection, and unity it brings to families who do it.

Sending you my love!
Hermana Bowns

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012 - Blue House Day

Well here we are, almost halfway into June! I just can't believe how fast time flies. Me and my companion are having a great time together. It is the first time in the mission that we have only lived with just one other sister, usually I have lived with three other sisters. We listen to Christmas music everyday because with all the winter weather it feels like Christmas is just around the corner...we have to keep reminding ourselves that the 4th of July comes first!:) We work really well together, which I think could be a result of the fact that we were already companions for 9 weeks in the MTC, and so we already know how the other works and the srengths of the other. My companion is a spiritual powerhouse, she knows how to bring the spirit into a lesson amazingly. She struggles with spanish, but it doesn't matter, people feel the spirit even if her words don't come out right.

My companion is also the pickiest eater EVER! But the mission is the greatest place to get over that. She is doing great at eating things she doesn't like and I as well have overcome come of my food pickyness (mom you would be so proud). I eat mayonaise (I hate mayonaise), but here they put it on everything - hot dogs, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, salads, etc. I still won't use mayonaise if I don't have to, but if it is on my plate, I eat it...and it's not that bad! I also eat tuna and egg salad! Another huge accomplishment. They put tuna in a lot of salads here, or they'll put a tuna or chicken salad in the little hole in half an avacado...and its actually really delicious. Just to think that I used to be the pickiest eater as a child (my mother and sisters are my witnesses), and that now I am the missionary in my companionship who will eat anything!

After a hard last couple months, we are finally seeing some fruits of our faith and patience. We just started teaching an older gentleman, who is so great! We invited him to start reading the Book of Mormon and left him a chapter about baptism to read. When we came back he started telling US about where the Book of Mormon came from and already knew who the Nephites and Lamanites were! I was dumbstruck, he must have done some extra reading;). He reads a chapter everyday now and every time we go to teach him, I feel humbled and astonished at how well he understands what we teach and his willingness to make small changes to live more fully the commandments.

Blue House Day

And we are seeing such miracles because of the ward fast that we are doing. Since the first day that the ward started fasting for missionary work, we have seen a huge change in our work. The first day my companion had a huge prompting that we needed to work in a certain part of our sector. She said there is someone there waiting for us, and they live in a blue house. So we set out for that part of our sector, we knocked on all the doors in that area, especially the blue ones:) And miraculously the blue house let us in to teach them! And a house with blue walls let us in and it turned out to be a woman who knew she needed to go back to church, but didn't know how to overcome the guilt she felt for not going for so long. We are still working with her and the other blue house! The fact that two houses on the same street both invited us in to share with them within the same half an hour is a miracle! We call it the Blue House Day:) And everyday since then has brought its own great or small miracles.

My testimony of the power of fasting has hugely increased after seeing such amazing blessings come from the faith and sacrifice of our ward members. If you have never fasted, or haven't fasted for a while, or have never felt like your fast really meant anything, I encourage you to put fasting to the test. Fast with a specific purpose or need in mind, pray and fast with faith that the Lord will help you with what you need, do your part to bring about your righteous desire or need, and see the hand of God guide and bless you!

Happy Father's Day  to all the fathers reading this, since I won't be able to write again until after Father's Day!

Much love, Hermana Bowns