Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012 - 100 Wonderful Things

Happy Halloween!!!

People here don't celebrate Halloween that much. Everyone says it is an "American" holiday and just for commercial revenue (all the candy sales). But there are still some people who dress up, etc. But there aren't pumpkins here like there are there, and it isn't's spring, so it just isn't the same. Nevertheless, I am determined to celebrate a little bit. My companion and I already have planned to dress like twins (we have the same shirt and earrings, and are going to do our hair the same, etc.) on Wednesday and at night after we get back to the house and do our planning we are going to eat popcorn and Manjar covered apples (our substitute for caramel covered apples).

This week was a great week! We made some plans to improve, and we improved! There is no greater feeling than that of progress and growth. We are learning to teach better together, and as we gain more confidence teaching, God gives us more opportunities to teach. Every week we have the goal to talk to 140 new people, this has always been hard for me because it requires that you are always talking to random people in the street and everywhere, but these past couple weeks I've actually gotten better at talking to people! How great...after 15 months of being a missionary, I'm finally getting better at the most basic thing we to people:)

Don't think I'm getting trunky*...because I'm not...what I'm getting is freaked out thinking that one day my mission will I am trying to prepare myself: I officially have 100 (more or less) days left here in Chile. So I decided to start making a list, one thing everyday of 100 wonderful things about the mission to help me enjoy every last minute I have here :) I started on Saturday, so here are the two I have so far

1. The feeling you get when someone you teach starts to understand the Restoration of the Gospel and what it means!

(I wrote this because we had a really neat experience this week: two weeks ago, one of the couples we are teaching came to church, by the end of the three hours I was convinced that they hated it! The husband looked visibly uncomfortable, and we were not able to talk to them after. For two weeks we couldn't find them in their house, nor get ahold of them on their cell phone. The horrible thought haunted me that maybe they had had such a bad experience at church that they never wanted to talk to us again! How horrible!

Finally we stopped by their house one more time to see if there was any chance of seeing them or talking to them...they were home! They told us that they had liked church, but that it was a little long. But the husband had read the whole Gospel Principles book and told us the more he reads the more he starts to think this may be true. It had called their attention that during the testimony meeting so many people had said the church was true. We taught about the Restoration of the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ to try to answer why people say that. The husband understood what we were saying and said that it made sense to him!!! Yay!!!! They communicated to us that they think there might be something to the Church of Jesus Christ :)

2. The sweet experience of sharing the right scripture at the right time to someone who needs it!

(Yesterday we stopped by to visit a member of the church who is having some difficult trials in her life. After listening to her situation I felt a little helpless about how to help her. I don't have any answers of how to solve her problems, but a scripture came to my mind, D&C 6:13-16, we shard that with her, and my companion added verses 19 and 20 substituting the member's name for Oliver's name in the scripture. The sister shed tears after reading the verses. The scriptures had spoke to her and brought her a little comfort and understanding. It was a sweet and edifying experience and strengthened my own testimony that in the scriptures we can find help, answers, and comfort.)

Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween :)

Love, Hermana Bowns

*Trunky means homesick in mission-speak.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012 - Faith

Hello Hello

Well it is spring here and the weather is being weird. It is hot, but still rains sometimes. Like yesterday, it started pouring out of no where. I had put my rain boots away hoping that was all over. But October showers bring November flowers!

I love my new sector, my new companion and my new ward. It is so great here!! I am learning to have greater faith and to be more confident in my abilities. I had a cool experience last experience that makes you realize how far you've come. Sunday morning I was doing my normal one hour of personal study. It dawned on me that perhaps our teacher for Gospel Principles might not be there...since we hadn't talked to them and confirmed, my companion reassured me that he is always there, but since we had three people scheduled to come to church for the first time I thought it best to prepare something just in case. Well it was the Spirit that gave me that idea, because the teacher was half an hour late to the class. I just taught what I had prepared in my one hour of study and it turned out great! Normally I would never have been able to prepare a class in an hour and then give it without freaking out!

We read three stories from the Bible about people showing faith.

  1. Moses and the children of Israel needing to look at the Brazen Serpent to be healed from the snake bites.
  2. Daniel when he gets thrown in the lion's den for praying, and by calling on the Lord is saved from the lions.
  3. Queen Esther, who asks the Jews to fast and pray while she risks her life entering the king's court to plead their cause.

It was so neat to read these three stories and see how these people drew on their faith to accomplish great things. The part I liked the best was seeing what great things were accomplished. Moses and the children of Israel were healed because of their faith. Daniel was protected from harm and allowed to practice his beliefs because of his faith. And Esther saved those she loved (her people) through her faith.

If we put those into today's terms, through our faith we too can be healed from spiritual wounds that ail us, through our faith we can be protected from the temptations and harmful things of the world and live what we believe in a world who says differently, and through our faith we can help save spiritually those we love most, our friends and families. I personally am working on having greater faith, so that I can accomplish great things in my life and bless those around me. Jesus Christ is the answer to all of our problems, it is in Him that we put our faith!

With much love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012 - Conference Weekend

Who loved watching General Conference?

Hermana Bowns did!!!!!

What a spiritual feast! I loved every minute of it. Here were the highlights of the conference for me:

1. The age change for missionaries! Changing the young men was no surprise because that has been in effect here for probably almost a year now. And it is true what they said, the young men who come at 18 are just as good, just as prepared, and just as diligent as the other young men who come at 19. I would even say they come MORE excited and ready to work than the 19 year olds. This is a great change they have made. When they announced that they have changed the age for women, we were all on the edge of our seats and let out a gasp and exclamations of excitement! That is SO cool. I was so excited it made me want to go on a mission again! I was hoping that I would still be here to see some 19 year old sisters come, but I don't think I will. (See Welcome to Conference by President Thomas S. Monson)

2. All the strong, fun declarations made:

3. To avoid having regrets in this life we should: spend more time with those we love, strive earnestly to be what God knows we can be, and find happiness regardless of our circumstances (from President Uchtdorf's Saturday morning talk, Of Regrets and Resolutions).

4. How do you make the change to really be like the Savior? One small suggestion: In our morning prayer ask Heavenly Father to help us find an opportunity that day to help someone. Then be focused in finding that opportunity, if we do we will find ways to serve that we never thought possible before and we will come to be more like the Savior (from Elder Russell M. Nelson's Saturday morning talk, Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You).

5. I loved the words to the song that Elder Packer read and then the choir sang. It was Hymn 127: Does the Journey Seem Long? SO beautiful :)
(from Elder Packer's talk: The Atonement)

6. Elder Walter F. González said "Christ will never fail you, even if everything else does" (from Elder González' talk: Learning with Our Hearts)

7. And of course Elder Holland´s powerful talk in which he says "Once we have made the choice to be a disiple of Jesus Christ, we can't quit and we can't go back. God expects our loyalty and love in every stage of our lives!" (from Elder Holland's talk: The First Great Commandment)

It was a great conference and I hope that if you didn't have a chance to watch, that you will look it up online at and read or watch some of the talks. After watching this General Conference my testimony is even more firm that I know God calls prophets and apostles today. He directs His true church through these His chosen servants. If we listen and heed these teaching and words,  we will be protected and guided to happiness and hope.

In other news I am here settled in my new sector and I LOVE IT. My new companion is the cutest sweetest little thing I have ever met. We get along really well. She is from Guatemala. On top of that I am in the neighboring ward of one of my old sectors so everyone recognizes me, I feel like I've gone home, or at least returned to a beloved place, everyone has been so loving. At General Conference I was running around hugging and saying Hi to everyone. One of the young men looked at me and laughed. "You're just all smiles today Hermana Bowns." I am so happy to be here. For conference my zone had a barbecue for lunch during the Saturday sessions...but it was raining...somehow it all worked out and was delicious!

Anyway! I love you! I hope you have a great week. Thank you for your prayers and consistent support!

Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 - Learning to Walk on Water

I thought I had had whirlwind weeks in the mission , until this week! Are you ready.....

well on Tuesday and Wednesday I went to a different sector for a mini-transfer, I got to work for two days as companions with a sister who is finishing her mission. It was AMAZING. It was like a breath of fresh air. She reminded me of why I'm really here in the mission and helped me see that I can do great things.

I get back from my mini-transfer on Thursday morning and my beloved companion tells me that they are thinking of sending her home because she is having ankle problems. WHAT! That night they tell us officially that she needs to go home to take care of her foot, receive proper treatment to be able to return to missionary service in 6 months. Early the next morning she was gone. Talk about emotionally stressful.

Well that leaves me alone. And since I'm a missionary I can't BE alone. For the past three days I have been companions with an approved returned missionary sister in my ward, who had to be with me 24/7 until my new companion comes...well that is what we thought.

Since this weekend is transfers we get a call from my district leader this morning. The first thing he asks is, ''Hermana, what do you think is happening to you this transfer?'' I respond, ''I think I'm staying, because why would I leave?'' He then gives me the great shock...I'm leaving!!!!!

I'm being transferred to none else than a neighboring sector to one of my old sectors. So pretty much I feel like I am going back to a place I already served. I am seriously in shock. Elders are coming to take my place! Was I stressed before? Now I have to pack my bags and leave everything ready for the elders to pick up where I left off. Whew!!!!! Crazy crazy! But I like crazy. It makes life exciting. And I am really excited to go to my new sector. My new companion only has one transfer in the mission so I am finishing her training, and she is from Guatemala! Sigh. I am going to be so happy when Conference comes because it will mean that I am settled in my new sector and the stress is over:)

Oh and amidst the craziness I put on a ward talent show and sang a solo with my guitar in it! I have done things in the mission that I never saw myself capable of doing before. But that is the beauty of the mission, it gives you opportunities to grow and get outside of your shell:)

When I was on the mini-transfer my companion taught me something that really helped me. She read me this story from Matthew 14:

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:25-31)

My companion pointed out to me that when Peter was focused on the Savior and full of faith he actually walked on water. She taught me that we are capable of doing incredible things when we are full of faith and focused on the Savior. When we lose our focus is when we lose the ability to do those amazing things. I am determined to learn to walk on water this transfer! What can you do to learn to walk on water in your life?

Let us be faithful and focused on the Savior always!

Love, Hermana Bowns