Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mollie #16 - A Stranger's Note, A Donny Story, and Comics

                                 February 26, 2013

Hey All,

Valentine's Day with My Roomies - Hermana Ferrel, Hermana Porter, Hermana Peck, and Me
      Ugg... I am sick with a cold...AGAIN. My face is red and we are taking pictures today, because we are leaving. I really don't want to be sick for our 18+ hr plane ride and 30+ hr total transition time. I am the travel leader (aka Master Commander of Travel) because my last name comes first.

I'm with one of my teacher, Hermana Doxey. (I'm sick in this photo.)
By the way, is there any chance you guys could put a little bit of money in my bank account for the trip? It would be good to have something to fall back on if things don't work out right in the Santiago airport. If you can't DON'T worry too much about it.

Those in my district going to Chile with the Chilean flag. Over and over we are told how uniquely special our whole district is. We all get along so well. Never anything but good feelings and positive times together.

     Thanks for the shirts and dress. The dress is short, but if I wear a skirt under it it is alright. The shirts fit pretty well.  I was thinking more along the lines of one of my own dresses, but that is alright.

   Speaking of dresses, there's two comics I'm sending about appearances and taking a break from appearances.

Yes, this happens!
(Click to Enlarge)

Code Elder

     The cake was a disaster when it got here. I think someone seriously shook up the box. We still ate most of it. I really liked the chocolate covered strawberries.

     Jake,  I'll call my phone you should now have Monday between 9-11 (911 calling in an airport = Irony). If you tell your teachers they will let you pick up the phone. We can talk. If you don't pick up I will be a little mad, but I'll forgive you. I'm sending my entire MTC schedule so you and everyone else can understand more how every minute is scheduled. You'll be going soon!
MTC Week 9 Schedule
(Click to Enlarge)

Okay, so Mom, I should be able to call your phone as well. I hope you have the phones figured out when I call.
 Packing X 4 Girls
(Click to Enlarge) 

Once I arrive and settle in Chile, you won't get the letter I write you for at least 2-3 weeks. Don't worry. It's just the beginning that takes a while. We all are feeling pretty confident with our Spanish, even though we still mix up words sometimes.

Hey, can you start forwarding me Riley's letters? I am sending you a letter for Gabby and Elena as well.

     I have a couple more things to share. One is kind of funny. So you know how I have no ability to sit still. Well, every Sunday during the spiritual film, I walk instead of sit. There is no gym on Sunday, and they expect us to be able to sit in desks and chairs for about 12 hours. It's crazy! So, I walk during the film. Anyway, after the film some random person I didn't know came up to me and handed me the little note I'm sending you. He handed it to me, then just walked away!  :)

I don't have a single family photo. Not one of our entire family. Please send me one when I am in Chile. And I do need a photo of Donny.

Mollie and Donny right before she left to MTC

So you asked for a Donny story I might use:

     Once I had a strong desire to make something of an overgrown corner of our yard. The trees and bushes were overgrown, and there was a natural beauty there overlooking the creek. A very large pile of black rocks were in the center of the area - a stash of coal that laid there for years. I worked hard at clearing the bushes and trimming the trees. I tied them so there was a canopy of shade and worked the ground to have different levels. I planted some plants and soon the area was an improvement, except, of course, those rocks. Finally, I just couldn't ignore them anymore. I couldn't move on even a little unless I took the time and energy to move those giant, black rocks.  One by one, I began moving the rocks. It was hard, and they were very heavy. Still, I had a purpose, and I had goal. I knew that I was strong enough to lift them, one by one...But when I started to try, the work was slow and not really progressing.

    One day, I realized that I needed some help in moving them. I called an 11 yr-old boy named Donny to come and assist me. Donny saw what I was trying to do, and that I was discouraged. He listened and comforted me, and encouraged me as I moved my rocks. Sometimes, when he could, he would help me lift the rocks and move them, until one day, we together finally met my goal.
   Similarly, sometimes we are progressing, but there is something we are trying to ignore that we can see and are greatly aware is keeping us from our goal. Unfortunately, these things are often ugly, even black, and very heavy. They require a lot of work, a lot of strength, and a lot of time we'd rather spend on doing something else, but we can't reach our goal unless we move the black rocks. There is always help for when we get discouraged. If we call on God and talk to him through prayer He can give us comfort through the Holy Ghost and strengthen us, until we have moved each black rock from our pile.

New address for you guys. Write, please!

Chile Concepcion South Mission
O'Higgens 940 Oficina 503
Concepcion, BIO-BIO Chile

                                                                    No more time.

                                                                                          Lots of Love,
                                                                                           Mollie Bowman


Monday, February 25, 2013

Riley #6 - Another LA Mandarin Missionary, MTC Choir, 1 Corinthians 1

Hi Everyone!
     Thanks for the packages and photos. I got the sandwich the same day, so it was great! If you get it there before 5:00, I can usually pick it up the same day. 
    I stopped by the front desk to ask about your glasses, and they said that I might be able to get them to you through the mail system. I will let you know when I find out more.

     I ran into Mollie today, and she said that she might be able to upload the pictures for me before she goes. She said she'd get back with me.

Doing laundry together

    I will have 2 weeks left as of tomorrow. I should be getting my travel papers on Thursday. I'll let you know the details.

   We are getting three new Chinese districts tomorrow, so we are going to be getting a new teacher and losing one of the ones we have now. I heard that one of the new missionaries coming is going to LA, so I will finally be able to meet one of the missionaries I will be serving with.

     I met the Kesler's grandson. He actually entered before me, so I had seen him before, but didn't know his name.

    I have been going to the choir here and enjoy it a lot. The songs are good, and the director is great. He tells us a story or message associated with each song. Sometimes it is about how the song came about. Other times, he tells stories he associates with the message of the song. The stories are taken out of the lives of the presidents of the church, or other well-known church leaders.
MTC Missionary Choir
    While it is great to sing, I think I enjoy his message even more. Through his message, the song takes new meaning for us. Even though some of the people there have never sung in a choir before, they can sing wholeheartedly, because the song means something to them.

     This week I also read in 1 Corinthians 1. The end of chapter 1 was particularly meaningful. It describes our feelings as missionaries rather accurately.

    We aren't smarter or wiser than the people we are teaching; we have the same needs as them. However, through the gospel what we teach and how we teach comes from God. We are called by Him. It is only because of His gospel, only because of Him, that anyone can become converted.

     It is because of Him that we can teach, and that the people we teach can learn.

(Click to Enlarge)
     However incompetent we may feel sometimes, as it says in verse 25, so long as we are acting under the authority of God, we can teach.

Tell the Keslers I saw their grandson.

                                                                                       Elder Bowman


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mollie #15 - Leaving MTC, Birthday Trap, Character of Christ

                                      February 19, 2013 

Dear Mom and Family,
    To answer your questions:

    1) Okay, I do need photos. I need our family photo that we had taken. One of Bowman & Pops, and one of Mema. And one or two of Jake. One of Donny would be good, because I use Donny stories sometimes in my lessons. 

    2) A binder with plastic sleeves for my music would also be nice. So would a cook book if you could send me one (with good bread recipes and an M and M cookie recipe). 

    3) A last meal isn't necessary, but bread is always great. The bread here is mostly white bread with little to no substance. 

    4) I don't know what else I need. But one especially nice dress might be nice and a semi-formal loose fitting shirt ( is possible). 

            Suddenly, I realize that I'm leaving to Chile in 5ish days and life seems crazy.

Travel plans: I leave Monday

  1. I have to report to the travel office at 4 am which means I am waking up at 3.
  2. 7 am flight from SLC arrive at LA at 7:55 CA time (or 8:55 here)
  3. Then I leave CA at 12:30 CA time or (1:30 UT time) & arrive in Santiago at 7AM
  4. Then I leave Santiago at 12:45 and arrive in Concepcion at 1:50

I will call home sometime between (9 & 1) if everything turns out alright. LAX is a huge airport.

     I am the Travel Leader, so I am in charge of making sure everything thing runs smoothly. I also have all of the emergency procedures.

     I am excited to leave. I have really enjoyed the MTC... But I feel, sometimes, that I could be trapped here forever. :)

This is another photo of our district.
(Click to Enlarge Photos) Two new roommates came and already left. Hermana Edwards is on the left. I think she is in the military. Hermana Peck, Hermana Porter, Me and Hermana Ferrel, and then Hermana Doxey. Edwards and Doxey were very fun to room with.

Also, we have been enjoying the warmer weather. There's been a little thermostat war going on in here.

(Click to Enlarge)

After all these weeks, the sun came out. We couldn't help but enjoy it.

    I saw Riley today. He seems to be doing well. The sisters in his district say that he is a really good missionary. He just doesn't talk enough. They ask me about information about him. So, I have been bugging him to talk more, so that he can practice his Mandarin.

Funny Vaccination Sign here at MTC

(Click to Enlarge) Another funny sign here at MTC

     It was my companion's birthday this week. I rigged a trap for her birthday. This was entirely a Donny creation. Anyways, using a counterweight, tape, & ribbon, I set up a surprise inside her closet door...So that, when it was opened a confetti-popper exploded into her face.

      Her reaction was priceless! (Oh my gosh! with a small quaint jump). - I don't know how she does it, but she always looks elegant even when scared! :)

Party Confetti Popper Trap
    Our Spanish is going well. One missionary we know in the field said that he understands about 1/2 the Spanish, and he has only been in Argentina 2 weeks.

Spiritual Thought

      The last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about an MTC talk we watched called the "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. I really loved it. It was about how in difficult situations, no matter how terrible they were, Christ was of the personality that always turned outwards.

     Let me give you an example, right after Gethsemane and right after Judas betrays him there is an instance where Peter cuts off the ear of a guard.  Christ has just experienced the pains and sins and sufferings of the world.

      In perspective, how important is the ear of a man? Still, what does he do? He heals the ear. Never in the scriptures does Christ turn inward pity himself or is selfish in any way. He is always turned outward.

      Even on the Cross, Christ was asking his Father to "forgive them for they know no what they do." He was also comforting the other two men on the crosses beside him. This is the character of Christ, the love and the charity of Christ. He turns outward and never pities his situation. He is always lifting up others.

That is all.
Thanks again for everything!

I am so excited for Elena's baptism and hope you can go!
                                                                                                  Lots of Love,
                                                                Hermana Bowman


Monday, February 18, 2013

Riley #5 - Packages, From 50 to 80, Looking forward to LA

Dear Family,
     Thanks for the packages. I got Valentine packages from the Santos's and from Bowman and Poppop. I was really surprised with everything in them. We are enjoying the treats together. Please thank them for me.

   I still haven't had time to figure out how to add pictures easily yet, so it will be awhile before I send any with me. Even on Pday we are usually fairly busy, so it is hard to find time to write. I always feel so rushed here when I'm writing. We really do spend most of our time studying together.

Ask Sister Kessler more about her grandson. I haven't seen an Elder Kessler around here. Is that his last name? Where is he from and where is he going? I'll look for him. 

Everything is still going well here. More people are coming all of the time, so it is becoming a little crowded.
     We heard that in a week our Branch will jump from 50 to 80. Also, we heard that last Friday new mission assignments were made by the Quorum of the 12 and First Presidency. Normally, they do around 400 assignments on Friday, but last Friday they did 1800. A lot of people are going to be getting their calls this week. So much is going on here!

Other than that, the week is basically the same. We are now over half way done with our time here, and everyone is excited to go. We all enjoy it here, but look forward to going to our actual missions.

     Thanks for the addresses. I would still like Brian's address. Nathan should have it, if you don't know it.
     I haven't written any letters yet, but if I do have some time to write, and I don't know the address, I will send them to you.

Elder Bowman


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mollie #14 - Chilean Spanish, Peter, A Broken Cup, and Comics!

                                                                                                                     February 12, 2013
Hey All,

     It's hard to believe, but I will be leaving this place in 2 weeks! or slightly less. I am really excited/nervous. Last night, a bunch of the sisters in our branch left on their missions. One of them was Hermana Layton. My singing buddy. I wrote a comic about her.

I am not sure how I am going to do as far as being submerged in the language. Some elders in our district were talking to a sister from Chile. They said that she left all of her "s" out when she spoke Spanish. To be honest, I am not that nervous even if they say "como e'ta?" At this point, I really think there is nothing to be done, except to fail miserably and get better.

      I have heard wonderful things about the people of Chile. I have been told that they are kind and that they love to feed the missionaries. My job to love and serve them should not be especially hard. One thing I have been working on is singing and memorizing hymns in Spanish. At the very least, I will be able to sing a testimony.

Here are some comics related to learning Spanish at the MTC.

(Click to Enlarge Images)
(Mollie writes small in the corner that it reminds her of the movie "Emperor's New Groove" concerning the acorn. Here is the clip:     Emperor's New Groove Clip)

(Sometimes I think we worry too much about offending people.)
(This really happened!)
       Spiritual thought for you all. There is a story in the Bible that talks about how Peter sees Christ and jumps out of the boat to come unto him. He jumps into the water unable to contain himself, because he wants to be with Christ. He walks on the water toward Christ and then starts to sink. Christ then comes to him and takes a hold of his hand and says something along the lines of "Oh, you of little faith." I do not think that at this point Christ was chastising Peter. I think he was just stating a fact. To God our faith is little.

      What is unnoticed in this story is that all of the other disciples stayed in the boat. Of all of them, Peter had the most faith. He was willing to leave the boat and the safety he knew it provided choosing the safety of the Lord. Because, he was willing to leave the ship, Peter had an opportunity to walk on water - to be lifted up by Christ and then to return to the boat walking on water with Him (I doubt they swam). If we want an opportunity to walk with Christ, we also must leave the boat. We need to have enough faith to jump out of the ship and then take the hand of Christ when it is offered. The jumping is the trial of faith and the hand is the witness received (Ether 12: 6). The Book of Mormon mentions many times about how the hand of God is reaching still. This is the hand that is offered.

     I will be able to call and talk to you before I get on the plane. I will include this in my email next week, so you will know which time to have the phone on.

   Oh...We got to host new missionaries last week, and this week we are hosting again. 815 missionaries came in last week and about 1/3 of them were sisters!

There are about 3,000+ missionaries now. I don't know how many are coming this week. The cafeteria is crazy. I broke my first cup this week. Evidently, they have a person hired just to clean up messes.

It was exciting to hear about the missionary calls and people deciding to go. I hope the baby shower went well.

Thank you Bowman for the pencils and sticky notes and goodies. The stars are my favorite. I have already used a couple.

(Only here would your lunch lady add 
smile faces and scriptures to your lunch bags.)
" be spiritually-minded is life eternal."

      Thank you, Mother, for the flowers. This most recent bouquet is my favorite. It is beautiful! Though your letter to me was only half-printed.

I played the prelude of "I Love to See the Temple" this last Sunday. The whole audience became dead silent just to listen. It was very nerve-racking but beautiful at the same time.

Please send me more music: I have been looking for music for you, as well. For me, maybe a Sally Deford -Come Follow Me, or Love at Home, or both, or my copy of "Creatures of God and King," or the other one I love - Celtic-ish of Aaron Waite. There is a guy named Chas...something that has some piano music that you can find on Youtube. One is "Hie to Kolob," I believe. There is also a beautiful arrangement for piano and viola of a mix of "If you can Hie to Kolob/Adam omni aman" that you can go find.

Lots of Love,

Hermana Mollie Bowman


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Riley #4 - Birthdays, Half Way, Mission Prep

(No missionary chalk messages allowed outside the MTC)
Hi Everyone!

 Thanks so much for the birthday box. There was so much in there, I couldn't believe it. We had a lot of fun, and the cake was delicious. It was another missionary's birthday on the first, so we were able to use some of the stuff for him as well.

     It was great receiving a letter from the ward. Letters really mean a lot to us. Also, happy birthday Michele! I enjoyed receiving the photos of Madeleine and everyone. It sure is great to receive pictures.
     Speaking of which, I am really sorry, but I'm not sure when I will send you some pictures. I have not taken very many and still haven't tried sending any yet. I'm so short on time when I'm emailing, but I'll see what I can do next time.

     Wednesday, will mark the halfway point for me at the MTC. I will have been here four weeks and have four weeks to go. Everything is going well, and still the same. My companions and I get along well, and we all practice conversing regularly now.

      Our classes lately have been less focused on the language. Now that we have some of the basics, they seem to expect us to take the reigns in our language study. Not that they don't teach us, but it is less than it was when we started. We have the resources to learn and are expected to use them, as we come across words and phrases we don't understand.

       Apart from that, everything is still moving along much the same.  I feel like I am starting to understand more of the language, but am still struggling when it comes to speaking fluently. Also, I am starting to feel like I am starting to know the language well enough to teach myself.

  I really feel like I have a good grasp on most everything else. I know Jake might not like me saying this, but he should make sure to go to the early morning mission prep classes. Those will be really useful in helping him prepare. I know he was talking about going, but if he hasn't started going, he should.

      I received your glasses in my package. Pretty funny birthday present. I have yet to ascertain the best way to return them to you. I will ask around this week and see what people suggest.

    Also, I want to reply to the Chamberlains, but I do not know their address. If you could send it to me along with the other addresses I requested, I would be most appreciative.

Elder Bowman


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mollie #13 - QA, Music, and Review Weeks

(Click to Enlarge)

       Hey all,
So first thing first. Let me answer your questions.

1. About getting a photo of my missionary tag - No missionary tag picture until next week. I'm afraid I left my camera in my room.

2. About a possible delay for my visa- It should be fine. In Chile, you get your visa when you land, and it is all arranged by the mission president and his wife.

3. Wants? ... Well... Since you asked, I would like another shawl. I know they sell them at TJ Maxx...but, if you can find another one anywhere else that would be good. I wear yours pretty much every day. I am not very fond of coats in general , so I use the red shawl as a sort of portable blanket-sweatshirt.
I'm sending several photos. 

(This photo is of our branch. There are a lot of districts in a branch, 
which then go to church together. Hermana Ferral, my companion, is behind me.)
(Click to Enlarge)

         I am glad to hear how Jake is being so good. I just watched a talk the other day from President Holland. (He is my favorite!) He spoke of how feeling the spirit comes from being a good girl or a good boy and following through with good thoughts & actions that pop into your head.  A lot of people wait to act, not sure if the prompting is from the Spirit or not. President Holland said, "Quit worrying!" If the thought is good, then go and do it! 

   Now for the things that I have been up to...

    As far as music goes, I have been up to a lot! I am accompanying on the piano quite a bit of the time. One piece is called "It's a Greater Miracle" or something like that. The piano part is really pretty...but I think, even though I like playing and helping out, that this will be the last time that I accompany someone on the piano. It just taking up too much of my time! I mean, there are other things I want to do with my free time and additional study time, while I'm here these last few weeks.

Usually, I haven't heard them sing before. Sadly, half of me is sometimes hoping they are horrible, so we won't make auditions, and I won't have to play in front of hundreds (if not thousands!) of people. The other half of me is really hoping they are good, so that all of this practice time doesn't go to waste. So, I am all right no matter the result.

I have also been singing every night with Hermana Layton. She is one of my favorite people. I can sing the alto part a capella now and get most, if not all of the notes. It is a lot of fun! 

I also have collected the music we need for our going away number. We are doing "The EFY (~Especially for Youth) Medley" in Spanish in Sacrament meeting. I love playing prelude and postlude in the book you gave me, as well.

"EFY Medley" in English

     Riley got his birthday cake, the sandwich, and your glasses. That's funny, how you accidentally sent them. I told him to ask about putting them up by the front desk. For his birthday, I got him this giant tub labeled "SOUR CREAM" that was filled with rice. (I found it on the Give-Away Shelf). In the rice, I hid 20 different sweet, mints, and treats. We took a picture with his camera of him holding up the 'Happy Birthday' sign I had for him. So, bug him about sending that!

    Currently at the MTC, we are on the review weeks for Spanish. My district was the last district to have the 9 week plan, which is 6 weeks of learning plus 3 weeks of review. I need the review, but I am fairly confident that I could have taught myself review at this point. So, I don't feel too bad for the new people coming in, who are on the 6 week program.

     I mean when it comes down to it, I doubt that any of us will understand or be able to say anything when we arrive! We will all fail abysmally -  still, God gives us our weaknesses, so we can be humble... And he can make weak things strong.

(My companion is looking classy, as always. 
One thing you would never guess about her
 is that she has a Tic Tac addiction.)
   TRC is the night where we  teach a person who lives in the Provo area. It is a real lesson we give to a member of the church. It is kind of like Family Home Evening. It is probably one of my favorite times of the week.      This week we had a volunteer that we had previously taught.  It was great! He said in his feedback slip that he feels really comfortable with us. He wrote that he told us things that he has never told anyone else and that he felt the spirit the whole time.

 It is so nice to know that we are improving! 

(Sometimes we just have some meaningless fun with our white board...)
                                                               Lot of Love,


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mollie #12: Comics and Spiritual Thought on Repentance

                                            February 22, 2013
First, a couple of comics...

This really happens...
(Click to Enlarge)

(Click to Enlarge)

Now for a Spiritual Thought...I've been thinking of Repentance.

    My purpose in my mission is NOT to teach, it is to INVITE others to come unto Christ and help them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

  No one is perfect. I mean,we all fall or fall short at times. We become weighed down and bound by our wrong actions. There is only one way to freedom, progress, and way to learn, accept, move on, and become more after we sin. It is the call of all prophets - seen throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon.

    Repent. Come unto me and repent. 

Christ remembers each of us. We must learn to choose the good feelings of our spirits. Choose to reject guilt, sin, and the negative influences of the world. Christ died for you and me, individually.

 Alma 42:29 And now my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.

Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is His grace sufficient for you, that by His grace ye may be perfect in Christ; if by the grace of God, ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

I believe there exists good and evil in this world. I know that we have the power to choose which we want to be. I sincerely believe that if we do all we can to love God, then God's grace will cover our sins. We can find freedom and be happy. God exists and loves us - I feel this, especially when I pray for comfort.

Hermana Bowman