Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012 - Gratitude & the Restoration

Happy Late Thanksgiving!!!!!

I hope you all ate lots of turkey and mashed potatoes!!! Thursday here passed just like any other day. I actually forgot it was Thanksgiving.

Half way through the day I remembered and told my comp that we would need to make some fake in-the-microwave rolls (did you know you can make bread in the microwave...) and some mashed potatoes and draw some hand turkeys to celebrate...but then we forgot. We taught a really great lesson but that went late and we had to run to the house and by the time we finished planning for the next day it was time to go to bed...sigh. Oh well.

What we DID do though is we had a Gratitude Night ward activity on Saturday ... planned by none other than the gringa missionaries ... it was our sly way to celebrate Thanksgiving:) We watched a Mormon Message* about gratitude then counted our blessings (30 blessings for each person) then we played that ''Have you ever...?'' game but we changed it to ''I'm grateful for...'' the person in the middle had to read one thing on their list and if you had the same thing you had to switch seats. Surprisingly the most common thing people were grateful for was water and bread (only in Chile would people write they were grateful for bread:) It turned out great!


Even though it is still only Spring here, it is getting quite warm during the day. A nice breeze keeps us cool, but it doesn't weaken the sun's rays. I am about as tan and blonde after 3 weeks of hot weather as I was after all of last summer. By the end of this summer I am going to be brown and very blonde. I keep putting sun screen on though don't worry!

The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

This week we started teaching a young couple. They are both college students and we've hit it off really well with them. The best part is they understand what we are teaching. After teaching about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ they were full of questions!! The girl asked us...if there was a restoration what kinds of things were restored? After we explained about the restoration of the priesthood, the doctrine of baptism and the doctrine of the family, she asked...and since the Bible has so many imperfections did the prophet do some kind of restoring of the bible too? So of course we explained about the Book of Mormon which clarifies the imperfections of the Bible. And they started reading the Book of Mormon together!!! So exciting:)

The Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ truly have been restored in their whole and perfect form through a living prophet, and the Book of Mormon really is evidence of this marvelous restoration!!

Love, Hermana Bowns
*This link goes to the Mormon Messages YouTube playlist. I didn't know which video they watched at the Gratitude Night. -Ryann

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012 - 100 Wonderful Things #3-#16

Freak out freak out...

I am having a freak out. Today are transfers. I was feeling nice and calm thinking that I would just stay with my wonderful companion for one more transfer. Plop! are training. Aaaahhhh!!!

This will be my first time training a new missionary...I finished the training of my current companion, but she is Latina and already knew what she was doing. There is a good chance that my new missionary will be from the states...that means she won't know ANYTHING. I know because I've been there. When I got to the mission I seriously couldn't talk, eat, or walk without my companion, where to go, what to do, what to say, I was like a little child. It is a huge responsibility, and I am obviously super nervous. BUT I trust that the Lord is giving me the opportunity to have this kind of experience for a reason, and I know that it will be wonderful (once I get over the initial shock).

100 Wonderful Things

Remember my 100 wonderful things about the mission? I forgot to write them last week, but here are the other 14 that you haven't heard yet:)

  • 3.  Seeing members of the church share their testimonies with their friends.
  • 4.  Being a soldier in the army of the Lord!
  • 5.  Receiving answers to your prayers.
  • 6.  Opening the eyes and minds of the people you teach to the truths of God (and the simple counsel of a loving and inspired leader).
  • 7.  The companionship of the Holy Ghost and when others recognize it.
  • 8.  The humbling of a heart.
  • 9.  To see families living in righteousness.
  • 10. The courage of young people.
          There is a young man in our ward whose whole family are members of the church, he really wants to come to church but feels alone. But he comes anyway. We are doing a ward fast and his parents can't fast because they have diabetes, but he said he would fast with us, it will be his first time fasting!
  • 11. When a total stranger invites you into their house, feels the Spirit and truth of your message, and accepts the invitation to be baptized.
  • 12. Seeing the great potential of God's children, and seeing parents fight for their families!
  • 13. Giggling on a rainy day and seeing the tender mercies of God.
          We got a big surprise this rained...a lot. One night I woke up about four times and every time I could hear the rain pounding on the rooftop. The first day it rained we didn't think it would rain really hard so we took our raincoats and rain boots  but not an umbrella or the rain skirts. well we made a grave mistake. by the end of the night we were soaked...more my companion who repeatedly was wringing water out of her skirt. Nevertheless we waled around with smiles on our faces. We tried to enjoy ourselves even though it was pouring and there was no one in the street. We say the tender mercies of the Lord as doors opened and people let us in to teach them!
  • 14. Hearing the testimony of a new convert:)
  • 15. Making mistakes.
          I taught probably one of the most horrible lessons I have ever taught in my whole mission this week. It just didn't go well. Well  this haunted me all night, I thought for sure that the woman we had taught wouldn't want to come to church, nor listen to us anymore. But Sunday there she was with her husband at church. Sometimes as a missionary I feel like I can't make mistakes...but it's inevitable. The beautiful part is that as we make mistakes we have the opportunity to repent, be better, and be forgiven by the people we teach.
  • 16. Seeing true conversion!
          We are teaching a man who truly wants to change his life! He has stopped smoking, told us he is going to read the Book of Mormon before Christmas, looks forward to going to church, and wants to start his family history:) There is nothing more amazing to see than the changes that are taking place in him!

It has been a good, but hard week! It is amazing that the same things that at times bring you the greatest sorrow are the same things that bring you the greatest joy. I love the is one of those things. I have felt the worst I've ever felt in my life on my mission, and I've had the most wonderful experiences ever in the mission. And those moments of pain and sorrow, make the good experiences even more precious and special.

Till next week. Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 - In the Right Place

My comp and I
on Halloween.


On Halloween, like I said, my companion and I dressed as twins. It was subtle...but not. The first person we passed by in the morning was a young man, I didn't notice, but my companion starts busting up laughing because she said the kid had a look of confusion as he looked us up and down and took in the matching purple shirts, black skirt, black nylons, black shoes, same braided hair, and purple backpacks and black nametags:) We even had matching earrings! But he was the only one the whole day who noticed.

I was wrong that no one celebrates Halloween here. On Wednesday we worked in a part of our sector where the houses are a little nicer, it is a more secluded neighborhood, there aren't fences, and there are more families with young kids, and at about 7pm people started coming out of their houses with kids dressed up. by 10pm the streets were full of kids with their parents trick-or-treating! It was so fun to see, especially because my companion had never seen that!

We are in full summerness now! It is getting hot...finally!

Some Chilean cultural tidbits (it has been a while since I wrote some):

There is a holiday seriously every month. The Catholics celebrate Saint days and some of them are nationally recognized. Also the Evangelicals have some national at least once a month there is a three or four day weekend. This weekend (the 1st of November) they commemorate their deceased relatives, it was a four day weekend and everyone went to the cemeteries to visits their loved ones who have passed on. I think it is a great tradition!

Chileans are great at "shooting the breeze." I´ve never met people who are so content to just sit and chat about whatever. (Some of them are really detailed story tellers too, they include all the details:) We were talking with a lady the other day and somehow we got on the topic of how someone tried to give her kids away and she had to go get them. We got all the details from who said what, what everyone did, how they looked, why they were where they were, how they felt, etc!

People don't take family pictures here like we do. In the states it is very normal to have a family portrait taken every couple years. Here when I show the picture of my family that we had taken 8 years ago every asks me why all the gringos have photos like that. I guess the photography and portrait studio business hasn't really taken flight here yet.

In the Right Place at the Right Time

One of the most gratifying things about being a missionary is when you appear in the right place at the right moment. We always try to be guided by the Spirit, but you never know if you arrived in the precise moment if no one tells you. And it is a humbling experience to have someone tell you that for some reason, when we passed by, they opened the door and let us in, when normally they wouldn't have, and that we came at a time in their life when they needed something like what we have to offer!

Also this week we had a really special experience. We visited a young mother who has three little kids. She knew we were going to stop by and told us that before we knocked on the door she thought, ''oh I hope they don't come, i'm really busy today''. Then when we knocked she didn't really want to let us in but somehow there we were sitting in her living room, and when we started teaching she said she felt like we were accompanied by something or someone. And that she felt a peace and calm. Well, we know that we did go the Holy Ghost. And we had the beautiful experience of explaining that to her.

The Spirit will be with us and guide us when we let it, and when we let it we can have such amazing and priceless experiences of blessing the lives of other people and being an answer to someone's prayers.

With love, Hermana Bowns

The girls I live with on Halloween
(we ate popcorn and watched a 10 minute video from Together Forever, about families:)