Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 - New Years

Resolutions & Goals

Well Christmas has passed us by and now 2013 is upon us. I love the new year when we see what we have accomplished last year and set new goals for this year. I always like to pick a general conference talk as the theme for the new year. This year I have picked Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf's talk from Oct 2012 called Of Regrets and Resolutions. He encourages us to make three big resolutions

  1. To spend more time with those we love.
  2. To strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.
  3. To find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.

In the goals that I set for the new year these will be the underlying purposes. Elder Utchdorf talks about these because in a study done with people who are close to dying, when asked what they regretted most in their life, these were the three most common themes.

I haven't set my goals yet, but I am sure next week I will have them ready to report:)

Peace and Joy

This week we started teaching an 80 year old woman. She is so special. The Spirit is always so strong when we teach her. She receives a lot of opposition from her family and friends who don't want her to listen to us, and every time we go to her house she tells us that she isn't going to listen to us anymore, but after we pray and start talking about the Gospel and about the Plan of Salvation there is such a spiritual feeling in the room, and with tears in her eyes she always ends by thanking us for coming and telling us what a peace and joy she feels when she listens to us. I really love her, and hope that she will be able to keep learning about the Gospel. We pray for her all the time:)

This week was a week for rejoicing in the small and simple things of life and recognizing the hand of the Lord. I am hoping next week will be the same:) Look for God's hand in your life, it makes everything better!

Love you!
Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 - Merry Christmas to All


What a crazily wonderful week! We have been getting ready for Christmas and enjoying the season. We got thrown a curve ball though...remember how I said I was sweating down here with all the heat...well all of last week it poured rain. Somehow winter weather sneaked into the hot summer. So today we are trudging around in rainboots and raincoats. Weird. So weird. On another note, we are all happy here that the world didn't end like everyone thought it would! :) It did give us a great opportunity though to testify about the importance of prophets and of living the fullness of the Gospel!

Tonight we get to eat Christmas dinner with a family from the ward, and just before we are going to go out and do some visits with that same family to sing Christmas carols and share a short message! It will be a wonderful Christmas Eve!

What a wonderful time of year! To celebrate the humble birth of the Savior of the world. This week we had a family home evening where we watched the Joy to the World video. It caused me to reflect upon the simplicity of the Savior's birth, and His life, and His message. He was not born into grandeur nor lived a life full of to do lists and technology, His message was clear, His plea always the same: Repent and come unto Him. His whole life was a exemplar of love and service. Once again a testimony to me that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; by the humble birth of the baby Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem was brought to pass the salvation of all mankind.

Let us remember Him today and always!

With love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 - Oh, come, all ye faithful


My companion and I are in full swing christmas-ness:) On Wednesday we had a mission Christmas devotional and we sang (well my companion sang and I played the piano) an arrangement of Oh Little Town of Bethlehem with the music of Jesus the Very Thought of Thee. (Even though we had only put it together the day before it still turned out great). Then on Sunday there was a stake choir concert...every ward had a choir and got to sing a couple songs. I was the pianist for my ward and we sang Joy to the World, A Shepherd's Carol, He Sent His Son, and Away in a Manger! I love singing Christmas music. There is just something so special about it.

This week we knocked on a lady's door and offered to sing her a Christmas song since she didn't want to listen to a message...she said yes! Turns out she worked there and took care of a sick elderly lady. My companion and I sang Away in a Manger and the elderly woman began to cry. She too had been a singer, but now with her age and illness she didn't sing anymore. It was a sweet moment to share with her and to feel the love that God has for all of His children :)

I hope you can feel the Spirit of Christmas more in your life this year as you listen to the songs that speak of His birth and life! This Christmas for me is special because with all this singing, I feel focused on the real reason for Christmas...the Savior. I know He lives and He loves us. He came to this earth to save us and show us the way to make it back to our Heavenly Father. And it is His humble birth that we celebrate with such zeal this month:)
Oh, come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant!
Oh, come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, Born the King of angels;
Oh, come, let us adore him; Christ, the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation;
Sing, all ye citizens of heav'n above!
Glory to God, Glory in the highest;
Oh, come, let us adore him; Christ, the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv'n.
Son of the Father, Now in flesh appearing;
Oh, come, let us adore him; Christ, the Lord.

(Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful - Hymn 202)

Merry Christmas, with love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

Yay! Christmas is coming!!! It really doesn't feel like it though, it is like 100 degrees here. Somehow Christmas lights, and Christmas trees in people's windows just aren't the same when you are walking in the hot sun all just doesn't have that same magical ''Christmas'' feel.

Nevertheless we are getting geared up for a great Christmas focused on the real reason for the season. My companion and I are preparing to sing (and play the piano) in a Stake choir concert and for the mission Christmas conference this week. And we are offering to sing Christmas songs to people when we knock on their would be surprised though how many people would reject even a Christmas song...I guess it is a little strange, two foreign blonde girls show up on your door offering to sing a song...but that is what is so great about the mission!! For us everyone is like your neighbor, we talk to, and love everyone, and just want to share the joy of Christmas with everyone!

Testimony & Conversion

This week I gained a stronger testimony about doing what our leaders counsel us to do. They are called of God to be a steward of the kingdom, and I have learned to have more trust in what they say, which is really what God wants instead of in my own fears and doubts. And I have seen that when we follow the counsel of our leaders that miracles happen, and we are blessed.

This Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting and was able to share the conversion story of my mom. Many people in the ward had tears in their eyes, and for me it was a special moment. I was able to testify about the importance of members of the church in helping others to come to the knowledge of the truth. My mom was introduced to the church because of a friend, and if that friend hadn't had the testimony she did and the love for my mom that she did to invite her to participate in the church, I wouldn't be here now. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, don't underestimate the power of your testimony and the light that shines in your life because of the Gospel. Strive to brighten that light and your testimony and as you live the Gospel to the fullest be prepared to be able to help your friends and family accept the Gospel because they will notice it in you!

The Gospel is so amazing! I live it! and I love it!:)
Love, Hermana Bowns

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012 - Summer is officially starting

my zone had an activity today,
 we went and played soccer at a huge house in the country!
 here we all are!

We are into December now, summer is officially starting but the weather threw us a curve ball. It has rained 2 nights, ALL night, this week. We had to pull out our rain boots yesterday, and carry our rain coats for a couple days. What is going on. SO unusual. It is nice because it keeps us cooler, but so unpredictable.

And we have started preparing for Christmas, my stellar singing companion and I have started offering to sing Christmas hymns to people to help them feel the Spirit of Christmas, but so far no one has taken us up on our offer...their companion really has a beautiful voice.

In other news! We talked to 2 American girls this week! My companion was super excited to be able to speak english:) Weird, right? One is an LDS 17 yr old from Utah who is here on a student exchange. She lives near some members in the ward and that is how we found her. Then we stopped someone to talk to them in the street. She was blonde, right there I suspected she was American, and then when I started talking to her in Spanish and she gave me that confused ''i don't understand what you are saying'' look. I switched to English...hardest thing in my life!!! I stumbled over my words for sure, I'm not used to preaching the Gospel in English  She is also in a student exchange, she said she would look up the church when she got home to Oregon:)

In church on Sunday, the Bishop bore his testimony and said somethings that I really needed to hear. He told us that even with the difficulties that we face in this life, we can't forget the vision of why we are really here. Why we were sent to this earth and where we are going. We are here to overcome challenges. God will always give us second chances, and if we live the Gospel, we will find solutions. At this point in my mission I feel like God is refining me in His refining fire more than ever, and the heat is almost unbearable. But I am learning to trust Him, and always show my faith by being obedient. I know if we are obedient to God's commandment that we will be free from sin and guilt and that all things will work together for our good. We just have to do our part and be obedient!

With all my love, Hermana Bowns