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