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

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