Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012

Hola friends and family,

Cultural tidbits about Chile for the week:

Everyone has a big round scar on their left arm, because here when they are little they get this gigantic immunization, so big that it leaves a big scar. (about the size of a pea) that grows and deforms as they get older. I don't even want to imagine what kind of huge shot that would be to leave that kind of scar. yikes!

There are also a few english words that they use here in Chile that have their own meaning. For example, full. People say it like 'I'm at full with my work'. Meaning i'm so busy, I have so much to do. They also use top. For example, they say ' that is so top'. Meaning something along the lines of chic or trendy. they also use plop. For example they say, 'and i was like plop', meaning all of the sudden they realized something, but it's usually something negative. Like, oh no!

One last tidbit, never in my life have i been barked at more than here in Chile. Every single dog (and there are a lot of them) bark at us. Sometimes dogs will run from the other side of a street to bark at us. I haven't been bitten yet, but I know people who have been.


Well we had transfers last week. I am still here in the same area but with a new companion. She is so great! I am really excited to serve with her. Changes are always hard though. I was really sad to see Hermana Lopez go to another area, but this week I have grown so much. This week I have had to be more aware of what we are doing and where we are going, because my new companion isn't familiar with the area. And so this week I am a completely different missionary than I was before. And I feel great! I am doing things that I didn't do before. I feel more capable and more motivated! This experience has reminded me about the need for change and the great things that come from change. If there is no change, there is no growth. In the mission I am learning that at times change happens without us having control over it (like tranfers, they happen whether we want them to or not), but there are also changes that we have to work to acheive, and for that we have to set goals! Having said that I want to share my new years resolutions with you. I love making new years goals, and all of this year i will be a missionary so I was really excited to set goals specific to help me grow in the mission.


The theme of my goals this year is a General Conference talk given by Elder Eyring in Oct 2011 called ´´A Witness´´.

The objective of my goals is to become a real missionary; not just to do things that missionaries do, but to be a witness of Jesus Christ in all places and all times and in all things.

I have three categories of goals:
  1. Be Exactly Obedient - this includes living the commandments of God and following all the rules of my mission.
  2. Treasure the Word - for this I want to study the Book of Mormon 30 minutes everyday and read it completely 4 times this year. I also want to read Jesus the Christ and all of the Bible.
  3. Bring Souls Unto Christ - for this I want to invite at least one person to be baptized everyday and with my companion meet 20 new people everyday.
I am really excited for this new year. 2012! For the changes that it will bring, and the growth that will come with it. If you haven't made some new years goals, it's not too late!!!

I love this quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard,
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life." (talk given to Salt Lake area young adults, Oct. 18, 1981)
Much love, Hna. Bowns

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012 - hold on thy way

me with some cool Chile gear

More Cultural Tidbits from Chile:

Everyone says 'If God wants...', like for example when we invite people to church some people say 'If God wants it, we'll see you on Sunday'. As a missionary I want to say back to them, YES! God wants you to go to church! Sometimes we do say that and people just laugh:)

This week we met a girl who is from Morza (which means walrus) so she is from Walrus, Chile! I thought that was pretty funny.

And people LOVE soda here. They drink 49% soda, 49% fruit juice, and 2% water. It is not uncommon to see soda (even coke) in a baby's bottle!


Well I don't have too much time to write today. Today is transfers! We found out this morning that my beloved companion is leaving to go to a place called Beautiful Earth. And I am getting a companion from Peru! Who joined the church less than 2 years ago. I am really sad to see Hna. Lopez go because I love her so much, but really excited to be with my new companion. I have heard that she is really great! One of the other hermanas who also lives in the same house as me is also leaving and a brand new hermana is coming to be trained by the other hermana in my house. LOTS of changes. Today is a day of many emotions, anxiety, excitment, sadness...And we have been visiting people all day so that Hna. Lopez can say goodbye.

And...HAPPY 6 MONTHS to me!! January 20 was my 6 month anniversary. 2 months in the MTC, 4 in Chile. Whew! I can hardly believe it. Time flies when you are having fun!


I don't know about you guys, but this year has startes out rough! Since the beginning of the year it seems like every house we enter has some heavy burden weighing on the family. We are hearing story after story of people suffering for one reason or another. Even in my companionship with Hermana Lopez we have been more onry with each other this past month than in any other month.

The sad part is that many people blame God and turn away from Him in the time when they need Him most. One thing that I have learned is that the trials we face come in many different ways. There are four types of trials that have called my attention:
  1. Trials that are natural consequences of our bad decisions.
  2. Trials that are natural consequences of the bad decisions of others. 
  3. Trials that are a result of the fact that we live in mortality with imperfect physical mortal bodies. 
  4. Trials that God puts in our path. 

'hold on thy way'

With all of these types God will turn all of them for our benefit if we trust in Him. Hermana Lopez likes to share with people what the Lord tells Joseph Smith in The Doctrine and Covenants ( a book of revelations given to Joseph Smith concerning the Restoration of the Church). In D&C 122:5-9 He says:
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
There is a song written by Sally DeFord called ' My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee' That puts part of these verses to music that is really powerful (I encourage you to listen to it!) Maybe our trials aren't THAT intense, but sometimes they feel that intense. Sometimes it feels like all hell is combined against you. But I love the counsel the Lord gives Joseph. Hold on thy way. Don't stray from the things you know to be true and right.

One woman that we are visiting is really angry and far from God in this moment because of some tragic things that have happened in her life, really heartwrenching things. Right before this happened she was reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday and told us how much she felt the Spirit in her life and how close to God she felt. But in the instant that a trial hit her she stopped doing those small and simple things.

She refused to pray, and refused to touch the Book of Mormon. The two things that would heal her heart more than anything else.We have to hold on our way.

We have to keep pushing forward with faith that all things will work for our good. And that God is with us. And we have to keep doing those things that keep us close to our Father in Heaven. When we don't feel like reading the scriptures or praying or going to church, is the moment we need to do these things that most!

Promise me that when you are feeling bad and don't feel like praying or going to church, that you will think of these scriptures and of this letter and that you will do those things! I promise you in return that you will feel closer to God, you will feel His love for you, and you will find the strength to press forward in your life!

I love you! I'm grateful for your prayers and am praying for you in return!
Ciao! Hna. Bowns

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

Hola hola!

Cultural Thoughts about Chile for the week:

Dreams are a big deal here. Probably more than 50% of the time when we ask people how they think God will answer their prayer if they ask if the Church of Jesus Christ is the true church, they tell us they think they will receive an answer in a dream. We even had one investigator who was waiting for a dream and would't get baptized because he hadn't received a sure answer like a dream. I'm not kidding dreams are so common here. People tell us about their dreams all the time. It's kind of funny, but at the same time their dreams are really interesting and are full of symbolism.

plums the size of apples
Another thing, we are up to our ears in fruit here! First cherries, now peaches and nectarines and plums the size of apples. YUM. This is because I am living in the most fertile part of Chile. All around me are orchards and almost everyone works in the fruit. Packing it and shipping it all over the world. This is great but makes it hard for us to visit people because fruit hours are so crazy. People work all night and all day, because fruit is sensitive and can't wait for convenient working hours.

Also something that is pretty different from the States. Here people live with their parents as a norm. If you aren't married, you live with your parents until you get married. That's just how it is. And even if you are married, it is a lot more common to find multiple generations living in the same house. My companion was super surprised when I told her that when I get home from my mission, I'll probably live at home till I get financially stable but then I'll move out because I can't just keep living with my parents, I've got to be self-sufficient :)

Mission Conference

all the hermanas at the conference this week
Well this week we had a Mission Conference. I love having conferences because we get to see a lot of other missionaries that we don't normally see and we get to learn from President Humphrey. It is always so uplifting and inspiring and I leave feeling like I can do anything!

One thing that he (Pres. Humphrey) talked about with us is diligence. I never quite understood what that word meant fully, but I think I'm starting to understand. President Humphrey always like to share the example of a couple months ago a group of us new missionaries had a conference in another city. On our way back our companions were waiting for us in the bus terminal. Apparently two of the elders arrived later than the rest of us and their companions were waiting for 45 minutes for them. President Humphrey says that if they had stayed and waited for their companions they would have been obedient, and had done nothing wrong or bad in waiting.

A saying on a wall, these are super common here.
It says somthing along the lines of
''Jesus has got it! Follow Him. He's the best.''
People are really religious here! :)
But these two missionaries decided to leave the terminal and come back in a half an hour. They left the terminal to meet and talk to people. They ended up finding people to teach who were interested in their message. President Humphrey loves to tell this story to show us the difference between being obedient and being diligent. Great things happen in the work of the Lord and in our own lives when we are obedient to the Word and commandments of God, but miracles happen when we are diligent.

To me diligence is kind of going the extra mile, thinking outside the box. It's combining our best effort to make things happen with the Lord's power. I love working for the Lord. There is nothing more satisfying and that brings more joy and peace to me than to do the will of the Lord. It's when I'm afraid to act or when I want to do my own things that I feel sad or mad or frustrated.

The more I learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reason why we are here on the earth and why Jesus came to the earth to suffer for our sins and imperfections the more I love Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith is perfect and wonderful. And I cannot but marvel at how it is changing me, and is changing people around me. Take more time than usual this week to study the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you will come to find the same thing, that your heart is filled with joy and gratitude and you are more happy!

I love you and pray that all is well with you and your family!

Ciao! Hna Bowns

great tan lines on my legs

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oreo Smoothie

Making an Oreo Smoothie

January 9, 2012

Whew! We´re already a third of the way into January. My how time flies! Yesterday was probably the most crazy Sunday of my life! Let me tell you what happened.

So we had a wedding on Saturday!!! Yay! My first Chilean wedding (I love weddings). I was running around helping with the food and everyone kept telling me to sit down. Hermana Lopez and I bought matching dresses for the occasion, they were a miracle shopping find because they are completely modest! Cute!

The girl who got married got baptized on Sunday! It was a busy weekend for her, but a really happy one! She made two of the best decisions of her life! The baptism was scheduled for directly after church since her new husband had to leave for work at 2pm (church ends at 1pm). As the missionaries, we are in charge of filling the baptismal font.

A simple task, right? Turn on the water....wait.....turn off the water.

Not with the font in this chapel. It has something against us. For one baptism the water was too low. Two others the water overflowed. We were prepared to watch the water. It usually takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to fill the font. We started filling it during church. Meanwhile there were more people at church than usual, which was great. But there were a lot of new people to talk to and meet and there are always the amazing members to greet. So we were running around like crazy talking to people and making sure to meet new people. We had a 10 year old boy with us who is new, it was his first Sunday, so we needed to show him where to go and make sure he felt comfortable. In the meantime we are still trying to make sure that everything is ready for the baptism...that the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader will be ready to have the baptism right after church and who is going to give the prayers, etc. when the Elders Quorom President runs up to tell us that the font is overflowing into their classroom and into the hall!!!!!!!!!

It had been ONE HOUR.

This font really doesn´t like us.

The elders quorum moved classrooms while we, and some of the members cleaned up the water. We had to get some water out of the font though since it was filled to the brim. There is a button to drain the font and one to stop the we thought.

We drained some water and pushed the ´´stop draining button´´. Whew! Crisis averted. But 15 minutes later one of the teenage boys in the ward comes to tell us the water is still draining!!!! First too much water, now too little! Ay yay yay!

We ran to the font to turn the water on and told the Ward Mission Leader that we needed to start the baptism NOW! Church was ending though and there was a lot of commotion as the whole ward is coming out of their classes and greeting one another. Meanwhile we still had lots of new people and ward members trying to talk with us! Busy busy busy! We are finally able to start the baptism, usually there are talks before a baptism, but we moved those to after the baptism and moved quickly to the font. Miraculously the water was perfect! A little cold, but not too much nor too little and the baptism went smooth! Finally we could breathe.

We waited for the girl who was baptized to change so that we could finish the baptism with the planned talks, a hymn and a prayer. But her husband had to leave for work and they didn´t know we were waiting. So they left! We saw them walk out the door and ran after them. They returned for a closing prayer and went on their way:) Looking back it was slightly hilarious how many things went askew in our perfectly planned baptism. But the most important thing is the one that went smoothly, that baptism itself! For the next baptism we´ve decided to sit and stare at the water as we fill the font. That way we can be sure to have no more embarrassing spillage during church!

We also went to Siete Tazas again! I wrote about this place 3 months ago. But there are different people in our zone now so we went again. And it was, of course very fun! This time I took a mask (those white ones surgeons and construction workers wear) for the drive to avoid that ´´my lungs are caked wth dirt´´ feeling. It worked, and the elders laughed at me:)

It was great to get to know some of the elders in my zone better and to be out in nature!!! Chile is really beautiful! The sky, the mountains, the plants! Everything!

Highlights of the trip:

  1. seeing a real life tarantula! it was crawling on the ground. Ack!
  2. Getting kind of lost, we pretty much just hiked around in nature because we didn´t really know where we were going...eventually we found the siete tazas and had fun talking and taking pictures along the way.
  3. A man was selling popsicles at the entrance of the park, i ate my first pear popsicle! Can you say Delicious? Yum!
  4. Since we have both english speakers and spanish speakers in our zone the whole time we were all speaking a mixture of spanish and english. Some of the spanish speakers also speak english and so I would get confused about if I should speak spanish or english and ended up speaking both in the same sentence most of the time. If we were talking in english it would always change to spanish at some point.

Also some fun news, I am teaching piano! We have English and Piano class every Thursday night. I have two students. A 12 year old and a 15 year old boy. Very fun...especially since I never took piano lessons like the ones I am now teaching (starting from the very basics), I´ve never taught piano lessons period, and I´ve never taught piano lessons in spanish. Music is kind of different here, they use solfege (for those of you who know what that is). So I am learning along the way. It is quite an adventure!

Teaching Family Home Evening
As far as everything else, all is going well! Hermana Lopez and I are really enjoying our time together as companions and have been helping each other improve. Both of us have seen the progress the other is making. We are learning so much! It is amazing how we learn from everything. I feel like I learn more when I teach people than they do.

One thing I am learning, that I already kind of knew, but that is reinforced everyday, is the importance of keeping the commandments. Honestly and truly, if you want to be happy (happy as God defines it, not as the world defines it - which means that you will have trials and hard times, but that you will be free from the weight of sin and sorrow, because you have an unquenchable hope and faith - which in turn helps you to have a higher quality of life) you have to keep the commandments. It´s the only way. It´s called the Law of Obedience. When we obey the commandments, God can bless us. When we don´t keep the commandments we reject the path that Jesus showed and choose the rougher road. There is a church children´s song that says ´´Keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace!´´ I can tell you with certainty that that is true!

I hope you are all starting the new year off well and that things are going well in your lives! I love you, and thank you for your love and prayers! I feel so blessed to have such supportive family and friends.

As Hermana Lopez says when she says bye to people on the phone ´´Ciao! Un beso!´´ (Translation: Bye, a kiss) (Remember that here people greet and say bye with a kiss).
Hermana Bowns

Malacara (could be read as: bad face)

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012

Feliz Año Nuevo!!! Happy New Year!!!

Can you believe it´s 2012?

I can´t. Weird.

This past weekend was crazy! We had a double baptism on Saturday night, a young married couple. After the baptism, Hermana Lopez and I went to their house for a new year´s dinner. it was probably one of the most delicious meals i´ve eaten here, and almost every meal here is delicious. we ate this meat that was a beef of some sort with bacon and cilantro rolled up. wow. and there was shrimp, and these potato puffs, and corn and tomatoes (you can´t eat a meal in Chile without tomatoes). And for dessert, a chocolate-y cheesecake! YUM. I was so full!

We had to head back to our house before midnight though. So at midnight the four of us hermanas celebrated in our house. we could see fireworks from our upstairs window and we ate 12 grapes at midnight (some random tradition). it was pretty simple, but it was fun. I haven´t set my new years goals yet, but i have a goal to set them :D And remember how a couple weeks ago I told you how hot it is here....well we are officially in the heat of summer and it is even HOTTER. The other day Hermana Lopez and I were talking about how we don´t really visibly sweat all that much. Then we took off our backpacks and had a good laugh when both of our backs were visibly soaked. So much for being ladylike and not sweating a whole lot!

Here is your Chilean culture minute for the week: Baby cologne is pretty common here. i had never even heard of it before (maybe those of you with babies are familiar with it). it´s everywhere. hermana lopez bought some for herself because it smelled good.

Also common here is men driving around in the streets selling food (onions, tomatoes and eggs mostly). They drive slowly through the streets with their megaphone saying a stream of words that is almost inperceptible. it took me forever to realize they were saying what they were selling ´´huevos huevos 2 kilos 2 mil pesos, 2 kilos huevos 2 mil pesos, 2 mil pesos 2 kilos huevos´´ over and over agin mooshed together ´´cebollas tomates tomates cebollas´´. I still jump everytime I hear them because for some reason in my mind, somone driving through the streets with a megaphone is associated with an emergency. The first time i heard the megaphone i thought in my head ´´what is going on? do we need to evacuate the house?´´ but no on even flinched and so i learned that no, it was just a man selling tomatos:)

As for an update on me, I´m doing great! I am slowly doing more things, talking more, teaching more, etc. I am starting to understand more! Wahoo! And I´m learning so much everyday. I am learning about life, about people, about myself, about the Savior, about the Gospel, and about how i want my future to be. One thing i learned today as I was thinking about a lot of the people we talk to everyday can be summarized in two scriptures:

Matthew 22:36-40
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

A lot of people that we talk to say that what is most important is to be a good person. Some people even say that that is all that we need to do. We don´t need to go to church or any of that, just live the best you can.

It is very important to be a good person and try to be like Jesus, but that is only half of what is necessary to receive and retain a remission of our sins and eventually be able to live with God again. I like to think of it as Jesus says, first it is most important to love God, and in John we can see a clarification, that to love God means to keep His commandments.

These include repenting and being baptized, keeping the ten commadments (which includes keeping the sabbath day holy) (and which were received and taught to the people by the ancient prophet Moses), and keeping commandments received by modern day prophets such as the Word of Wisdom. This is the first and great commandment, to keep the commandments of God:) and the second is to love your neighbors, or in otherwords, love others like Christ would; be Christ-like.

If we keep the commandments, but treat others badly, we won´t receive the fullness of blessing and glory that God has in store for us. But also if we are the most Christ-like person in the world, but don´t keep the commandments of God, we won´t receive the fullness of blessings and glory God has in store or us either. We need to do both! On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets. These two commandments are vital!

I think for part of my goal setting this year I will try to set a goal in each of these two comamandments on how to live these commandments more fully and with more exactness in the coming year!

I wish you all a wonderful year full of new and good changes and growth; with progression and success! I love you and thank you for your love and support and prayers!

Hermana Bowns