Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012


What a great weekend!!! This past Saturday we had two baptisms. It was a really sweet moment for me when a woman who got baptized in December spoke in the baptism of her 13 year old son, and bore her testimony that this is the true Church with the authority to baptize, she spoke about baptism using scriptures and all. If you didn't know she had been a member for only 4 months you would have thought she had been a member for years!! My little heart was so full of lots of different emotions. Humility more than anything else, and joy.

What a privilege it is to be here now, serving among these people, and being a part of their lives. I've been here in the same city for a little more than 5 months and I feel like I could serve my whole mission here, this is my home in Chile. The people here are starting to feel more like family everyday, and I'm not quite sure what I'll do when it is time to leave. I know for sure I'll be leaving a part of my heart here and I'll always want to come back. Transfers are this next Monday, and even though I feel like I'll stay nothing is certain, and so I'm starting to feel anxious about what is coming. Stay posted for next week!!

Cultural Tidbits About Chile:

Elephants are good luck! It is not uncommon for people to have some sort of figurine of an elephant in their house for good luck.

There are cacti everywhere!! Almost every house has at least one cactus outside. Something common is to have little cacti lining your window ledge. There is also a tradition that if you buy an even number of cacti you will have bad luck, so you always have to buy an odd quantity...too bad I bought 2 cacti about a month ago. oops!

Also common here is for people to put soda bottles full of water outside on the lawn. For months this puzzled me. I thought, maybe people want their water to be room temperature to water the plants with so they will the bottles, then water the plant and refill the bottle and leave it for the next day. Um...wrong! So then why are their water bottles all over the place? I have heard two responses. 1. The water bottles are to scare away evil spirits. 2. The water bottles are to prevent dogs from going to the bathroom on the lawn. The dogs will see their reflection in the water bottle, get scared and run away. Hmm, that's a little more reasonable.

The heart and a willing mind

This past weekend we had a ward activity where we watched 17 Miracles. If you haven't seen this film yet, I highly recommend it. I cry everytime I see it. The pioneers were so strong and faithful even to the end. The thing that really touched me this time that i watched the film was the humility of the main character and the faith of the saints.

Humility is a characteristic that I highly admire. To me, humility is to submit yourself to whatever comes your way with patience and a positive attitude. It is to take responsibility for your own actions, and maybe sometimes for actions you did not do. It is to ask forgiveness when you  make a mistake. To push forward even when you don't understand why, or think there is a better way. It is to follow the counsel of the Lord in all things. It is to sacrifice time, energy, resources, and above all your will, to serve God and others, especially in the face of great crisis.

These saints who traveled across the plains to reach the Salt Lake Valley, sacrificed everything, they submitted themselves, even unto death, to ´´all that the Lord saw fit to afflict upon them´´(Mosiah 3:19) and they did it because of their great faith in Jesus Christ. It makes me feel emotional just thinking about the immense faith that these people had. The faith that they demonstrated in their stedfastness and diligence, in the miracles they saw and experienced, and in their service one to another. These people truly gave their hearts to God.
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days. (Doctrine and Covenants 64:34
To me this is one of the hardest things to accomplish in this life, to give our heart and mind to the Lord, or in other words to serve Him with all our heart and mind. But I know that if we do so, and are willing and obedient to the Lord, that we will receive blessings more marvelous than we can imagine, we will receive the blessings that we need the most that are so personal and fitting for our circumstances and personalities. And our lives will be full of joy that we have never known before.

I want to be more humble and faithful, and serve with more of my heart and mind. This week I am going to find a way to serve Him with more of my heart, if you will do the same, I know that we will see miracles in our own lives.

Sending much love and prayers your way!

Hermana Bowns

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012

Hola hola!

Well February is almost over and I can hardly believe how quickly time flies by. This past week we had interviews with President Humphrey. I anticipate that I'll be staying here in this area for one more transfer from what he said, but there is always a chance that I'll change. Nothing is final until we get the call Monday morning. He did tell me that I need to be ready to be a senior companion or a trainer in the next two transfers! Yikes, I still feel so new in the mission, but it's about time I started taking on more responsibility.

Hot. Hotter. Even hotter.

all sweaty from the heat (cute!) 
Remember in December when I said it was really hot, and then in January when I said it was even hotter? Well now it's February and it's even HOTTER! It's hotter and humider, all of the sudden. Whew! I don't think I've ever been so hot in my life! Nor have I sweat so much!

In March it should start cooling down. The thing is that in Concepcion (about 6 hours from me) it is raining, the missionaries there are pulling out their raincoats and rainboots, and here we are still putting on sunscreen and freezing our waterbottles. I am in the hottest sector in my mission. It gets the most heat and the most cold (hopefully I'll miss the cold part:)

Cultural Tidbits

Here are some Chilean cultural tidbits for the week:
Lunch here is a big deal. Normally during the week we only go out to work between 11:30am and 1:30pm two times in the week, but this week we worked these hours 4 times!!! It was killer, the most unproductive four mornings ever! Everyone is eating lunch and so no one answers the door and if they do they are 'busy' preparing or eating lunch. On top of that, Chileans get up pretty late. 9:00am is early here. So to knock on someone's door at 11:30, is a's possible they are still sleeping! This also means that they stay up later. We asked a lady who is probably in her 50's when was too late to call her in the evening and she said we could call until midnight. After that it was too late!
Mail here is NOT a big deal. In fact 95% of the people here do not have mailboxes. If you get mail they just throw it on your lawn or doorstep or shove it under the door. People don't get a lot of mail here anyway. What comes first the chicken or the egg...they don't have mailboxes because they don't get mail, or they don't send mail because they don't have mailboxes?? I'm not sure.
Comments and Honks
And my last cultural tidbit for the week, here it is much more common for people (men) to make comments in the street at you. (Particularly if you are american or female). Since I am both american (or gringa with light brown hair (people call me blonde here)) and female I have grown accustomed to honking, whistling, hollering, and really funny comments. My latina companions say that it's just part of the culture. Even if I were a latina female, I would still get these comments and honks.

Normally people just say 'Hermosa rubia' (Translation: Beautiful blonde), but sometimes the comments are much more elaborate and laughable. One time me and my companion were walking down the street. There were two guys, one on either side of the street, they were middle-aged neighbors talking. All of a sudden one yells to the other '¿De donde sale tanta belleza?' (Translation: Where does all that beauty come from?) The other responded 'De la naturaleza-po' (Translation: It's natural). We had a good laugh once we had passed them:)

And just the other day, the four of us hermanas were walking down the street and a man on a bike passed by and said 'Hola, soy de la planeta tierra' (Transaltion: Hello, I am from planet Earth). The four of us looked at each other and laughed. My companion looked at me and said, 'Y nosotras, ¿que somos?' (Translation: And what are we?). Apparently we are extra-terrestrial, or maybe angels:)

Be not weary in well-doing

This week was pretty slow and unproductive for us. I'm not sure why, but I think I may be hitting the point where I'm comfortable with what I'm doing and it's starting to become routine. It's also the time of the year where there isn't really a nice break in sight (no holidays or fun things ahead). Life is feeling a bit mundane and never ending. The 'I'm a hamster on a treadmill' feeling.

In life sometimes we have those times and push ahead, but in the mission, where our time is so short and temporary, I can't be feeling this way. It's true we do the same things over and over and over and over, but everything we do has a great purpose, it has a reason, and an end goal. This week I am determined to awake my excitement and draw on all my faculties to push ahead out of the funk. I like the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 64:33 which says:
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Right now this is what I need. A reminder that the little mundane things in my life make a difference. And that I need not be weary in doing them because they are the foundation of something greater. Our whole lives are made up of small things, and the great things we hope to accomplish also will be made up of small things.

Like parents, being a parent is probably mundane at times, the same routine over and over, years of small efforts and tasks, but when your 24 year old child gets married and has a good job and is happy and successful you can see the great work that all those years you were building.

It is the same for me with my mission. Everyday we get up at the same time, we exercise and study, we leave the house and talk to lots of people, teach lessons, come home, plan for tomorrow and get in bed. Everyday is a compilation of small mundane things, but when i look back at the ways I have grown and changed and the lives of people who have been changed by the Gospel, i can see the great work that i was building through my everyday tasks and actions.

Take a look at your life, what are the great works you are building with your everyday mundane moments? Be not weary then of the small things of your life, rememeber the great work and foundation you are laying for the future!

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers, and for reading my letters:) For me that is a way that you are supporting me here in the mission. So thanks for taking the time to read a little about my mission life and experiences. I love you and I hope this week is full of hope and happy moments!

Love, Hermana Bowns

V-day Crafts Missionary Style

My V-day concoctions.
(i only made valentines for the three hermanas in my house)

We made cookies for an after-wedding-party
for investigators who got married on the 14th!!
(using cookie cutters made of cut up cereal boxes:)

Letter Links for Transfer 1, Raquen Chile

Here are links to all of the letters Diane sent during her first transfer in the mission field:

September 26, 2011 Whew!! I made it to Chile! That was the longest flight of my life! 13 hr flight and 24 hours of traveling total. and of course i had quite the adventure when i arrived...

October 3, 2011 Hola to all! Well I´ve successfully completed 2 weeks in the mission! Only something like 68 more to go! Wahoo! I think my ability to understand people is getting worse...

October 10, 2011 I´ve decided that i need new ears. i need to get rid of these english ears and get spanish ears. seriously. it is so odd that i can speak 10 times as good as i can understand. so i still don´t talk much because its hard to just start talking when you´re not 100% sure what is being talked about...

Siete Tazas Photos from a day trip to Siete Tazas

October 17, 2011 First and funniest of all, we were talking to a lady in the street and she suddenly asked me, "Are you pregnant?" hahaha what?! i think i´ve gained about 5 lbs so far and counting. its the bread i´m telling you, its so good!! ...

October 24, 2011 ...This week was also a week that strengthened my testimony of The Book of Mormon which is the keystone of our religion and faith because it testifies so clearly about Jesus Christ. In two different Family Home Evenings my companion and I watched the end of the film The Testaments, the part where Jesus appears to the Nephites and blesses them and teaches them. He invites every single person to come and touch the wounds in His hands and feet and side, to know for themselves that He is the Christ...

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012 - Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. To me it is a day to spread and express love to all the people you love! Family and friends. And everyone really, because isn't it a commandment to love our neighbors? So I hope you wear pink or red, and tell someone you love them or care about them, or at least wish them a Happy Valentine's Day with a big smile.

This week my studies are going to be focused on LOVE. Because that's really the reason for it all. The reason we are here on the earth is because our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to learn and grow so that someday we can enjoy the same life and blessings he enjoys.

And He sent Jesus Christ to the earth to show us the way and suffer for our sins, so that we could be freed from the spiritual and physical death which accompany mortality. He has given us commandments because He loves us and wants to bless us, and He knows that blessings naturally flow into our lives when we live obedient to His laws and principles. And He has commanded us to love Him and one another, because in loving others we will become like Him.

I love the scriptures in Moroni 7:45-47 when it talks about charity (which is the pure love of Christ) that says
And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
I like to think about what it really means to love. And what is says here, to love is to not envy, to not think bad about others, to not rejoice in their mistakes, but to be positive and encouraging, hoping all things.

If you have a chance this week, I encourage you to think about how you treat others. Are you loving to everyone, or only certain people?

Think about how much Heavenly Father loves every single one of us, and try to think of ways that you can love more like He does. I am going to do the same!

I know that Heavenly Father loves us, that we are His children, and His only concern is helping us receive eternal life, so that we can live with Him forever. And we can acheive that by learning to love more purely and sincerely.

I love each of you are reading this email! And wish you a wonderful week:)
Hermana Bowns

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012


Cultural Tidbits:

Chileans do this funny thing that they point with their mouth. For example if they are saying, 'Hey can you pass me that book, over there on the table' they will point with their lips (kind of like a kissy face, but not) in the direction of the book on the table. Its kind of funny, but now I do it too!

And Mayonnaise. It's big here. They put mayonnaise on everything. On potatoes, rice, corn, other vegetables, bread. It's like the butter of Chile.

Frazadas and Disfraces

And here is a funny story for the week. All four of us hermanas sleep in the same bedroom, we have two sets of bunkbeds. I'm sure you can imagine that we talk a bit before we fall asleep...we're women, remember! One of the hermanas said, 'are you guys hot? I'm hot!' (its still fairly warm in the evening, but starts to get a little cold. its actually chilly enough in the middle of the night that I sleep with a fleece blanket and a wool blanket) So I respond, ' No, I've got two blankets!' But in spanish the word for blankets - frazadas and the word for costumes - disfraces always get confused in my head. So what I said was 'No, I've got two costumes!' The hermanas died laughing. And now we always chuckle when we talk about blankets. And I still confuse frazada and disfraces:0

A trial of our faith

These past two weeks have been a little bit of a trial of our faith (me and my companion). One day we walked all over the place, knocking on doors and trying to visit people, and we did not enter into one house to teach! Not one! From 3:30p to 10:00p we walked around knocking doors in 95 degree weather. At the end of the day, we just laughed...did that really just happen? That's not normal for us. Usually we are able to teach at least 3 or 4 people, at least, during the day. So we have been evaluating, maybe we need to do  something different...and we've been plugging forward. We will not be deterred by our seemingly unproductive days! For me when everything seems to be going wrong, and all of our appointments fall through, and no one wants to talk to us, I always think that something good is on the horizon.

In Mosiah 23:21-22 it says 'Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.'

And thus it is with us here in the mission.

And in our lives in general. We will always have a trial of our faith and if we remain faithful, patient, and diligent, we will see miracles and great blessings.

For me it is so much easier to perserver in the face of trials when I know that it is a test. For example, when it is 6:30pm, 90 degrees outside, all of our plans have gone kaput and we are knocking door after door hoping someone will want to hear our message we could say, 'Why is this happening? What did we do to deserve this?' or we could say, 'This day was destined to be an unproductive day, there's nothing we can do about it.' But when we look at the bigger picture and realize that this is a trial of our faith and diligence it is easier to say, 'yeah lets go, lets show how strong is our faith. where will we go next? let's dominate this test. we won't be deterred from our purpose!'

The next time you get that feeling like the whole world is crumbling, or all of your best laid plans are falling apart, look for the ways in which you can show your faithfullness, because most likely it's a test! And we were sent here to succeed, we were sent here to pass the tests of life! And the thing is that if we respond to these tests or our faith and patience remaining stedfast and immovable in our faith in Christ, we will be stronger and wiser because of it!

I love you! Thank you for all your love and support and prayers!

Hermana Bowns