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

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