Sunday, April 28, 2013

Riley Bowman #15 - Torrance, CA - A Trainer, A New Companion, English Class

 April 22
    I don't have too long to write, so I will make it quick.

    Transfers are coming, but I am probably not going to move out of Torrance soon, which I am pretty glad about. Our apartment is one of the nicer ones and doesn't have cockroaches like the last one. It is very spacious and is close by a church building and not too far from most of the mission.
     We go all over the place and need to live somewhat close to the center of the mission, without being too far away from the Chinese Branch in Palos Verdes.

    Yes, I am now a trainer, alongside Elder Hsiao. A lot of our time this week was spent going with Elder Casey to the trainings. His Chinese is about the same as mine 6 weeks ago. He is from Layton.

This photo shows all of the LA Missionary Trainers. I'm in the back row. (Click to enlarge)
(Larger view)
     Elder Casey said he didn't know of any other Chinese LA missionaries at the MTC, so we probably won't be getting another one next transfer unless he is a native or part of the fast track. Still, it can't be too long before we get another.

Elder Casey is on the left.
     Our mission normally has around four elders, which is how many there will be after this transfer. After November, Elder Casey and I will be the oldest Chinese missionaries out here. We are hoping to get another native Chinese speaker before then.

     English class has been going well as far as getting new people to come, but it is still hard to get them to come back. They always seem to like it. We have even had people come referred to us by people who came and said they liked it.

     Even still, our number of regulars are few. Do you have any ideas about games or activities we can use to teach English? Apart from that, we are having a five or so people come each week who seem as though they might be interested in church.

               Elder Bowman


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mollie #26 - Angol, Chile - Chilean Birthday, First Impressions, Prayers for Infant

                                                                                         April 22

Hey all,

     My birthday was fantastic. Really it was! The problem was squishing the surprise birthday parties in between my appointments with the other members and investigators and my English class, and baking bread in the morning ( I have been craving normal bread for weeks).
     The youth gave me a surprise birthday party, the recent converts as well, and a family in the ward gave me a beautiful poncho, cooked me salmon, and a dished out a small mountain of ice cream for my birthday.

You can't tell in the photo, but Emilia colored the sign for me, then her mom "fixed" it.
     Scheduling however really was a problem. I had to take the taxi twice, and I was still late to everything. I couldn´t help the youth clean up after their surprise party and that night the stake president came saw the mess. -cups and plates unwashed in the sink- and blamed the missionaries.
     I didn´t have time to clean it until the next day, because we left to Concepcion at 6 in the morning and didn´t return until 8. We explained everything, but I feel as if it was a terrible first impression as I had never met him before.
    Still, I feel good that I have left a positive impression on my ward and youth. :)

Emilia ready for the party!
    I am glad that Jake liked my gift. I have an idea for Daddy, but I am not sure how it is going to work out and you won't get it until next week or maybe the week after.

     Cambios or changes are on May 7, and I am not sure if I am swapping towns or not. I feel that I am but I am not sure. 

     It is crazy that Riley is a trainer. I think that is in the possibilities for me as well. We have a lot of people coming in. My Spanish improves everyday and so does my patience. But some days I am just frustrated.

     We have one new investigator this week. She is married and has two daughters. One is 6-7ish, and the other is a newborn-ish. The newborn has some sort of problem. It's really sad.
     She has a terribly bloated stomach. It was a mistake at the hospital. The hospitals here aren´t trusted by the people for a reason. Anyway, the baby cannot really sleep, and the mom of course can´t work and is living at home to take care of the newborn - Crystal. Crystal received a priesthood blessing, but they need prayers.

     We went to Concepcion for a conference this week.  Elder Swick, who is a General Seventy, and his wife spoke. They talked to us about a Concepcion temple, and how we need to help everyone prepare now for it being built someday. It has made me resolve to study 'Preach my Gospel' better.

Hermana Lattin and Me just having fun
Here is a spiritual thought for the week. It's based on President Uchtdorf's talk on Patience.

I like this talk, because it really helps everyone understand patience in a clear way.

         Tell Matt C. and Jake that they both owe me letters... Actually everyone owes me letters for my birthday. letters come regularly now - every week to every other -  so no excuses. 
    Mich, I want to hear about moving. so write me if you can find a spot of time. 
   You all need to write me now it is summer time. Something positive please, and I love stories from General Conference or otherwise. Stories are great! I have been hunting talks down from the other elders and sisters in my zone so that I can make a collection of stories. Good devotionals would be great.  
I really had a great week, especially with my birthday.
 Here's some more photos for you! 
Balloons, Gifts, and Sweet Birthday Notes (Click to Enlarge)

 Lots of love,
           Hermana Bowman


Monday, April 22, 2013

Riley #14- Torrance, CA - Two trainers for the new missionary, Referrals are coming in

                                                                                                 April 16
Hi Everyone, 

     Today was busy, because we had to move another bed into our apartment and are planning to visit a Chinese museum.

      Tomorrow is the first day of my second transfer, so Pday was on Tuesday this week. Since I can only write on Pday, your letter is a day later than normal.

We are both going to be trainers for our new Chinese missionary.
        It turns out Elder Hsiao and I are going to be training the new Chinese missionary together. With so many new missionaries coming in and a lot of the old ones leaving, I think they are having a hard time finding enough missionaries to train. It will be really different with three of us again, but I think it will be a great experience.

       My Chinese really needs to start improving faster. I have been making more of an effort to talk to members only in Chinese when we are over. We think we will start practicing the lessons with them to get more practice. The members are very helpful and considerate of my poor Chinese. They are usually willing to help me learn as well. Even though it takes me some time to understand them, they are willing to repeat themselves in Chinese rather than just switching to English.

     We are starting to find more people to teach. We are getting more referrals from other missionaries, especially the Visitor's Center and UCLA missionaries. Also, more people are coming to English class; last week was a record for us.

Referrals are coming from the LA Temple missionaries
     We are still trying to progress with more finding activities and improving the ones we do now. We have a fireside at the end of the month through which we hope to pique the interest of some Chinese nonmembers.

       We have spent a lot of time preparing and should have finished the planning for it this evening.

                Elder Bowman


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mollie #25 - Angol, Chile - A Spider, A Cat, A Bird, New Hermanas

 April 15
Hey All,

   So about sending me a sleeping bag - It is cold, but I´ve been sleeping with my coat so all good.

  About buying what I need down here - Everything down here is about twice or 3x more expensive. For example, mascara is about 20 dollars. If there is a Walmart-type store somewhere in Chile it is not in my sector and. anyway, shoes here just aren´t in my size or built well for me.

   I first want to share something with you.  I love this spiritual thought and shared it with our two new sisters. It is something that helped me.

(Click to Enlarge)
    Sometimes, it is hard to see how much you´ve grown. All you see is everything that is in the way and the daily sun and rain that occurs. Your view of your shortcomings get in the way seeing how much you´ve grown. I know I am progressing here, but sometimes it is frustrating.
    For example - :  When I listened and listened and listened to a single mother's story, but I couldn´t seem to really understand, and knowing every word is so important, because she is so important.
     The thing that is hard to understand is that you are one of the "they." They are important and you are important. They are growing and don't always see it, and you are growing and not always seeing it. The people in this ward are wonderful people. Many of them served missions in the past, but sometimes I think they don´t see how good they are. They like me are not perfect, but as shared at General Conference - all God has are imperfect people.

    These are our two newish hermanas - Hermana Garcia and Herman Lattin. They are still adjusting to Chile.

(Click to Enlarge)
   Hermana Garcia is from El Salvador. She is having a rough time of it. The food is just hard on her. She is having trouble sleeping. She is very sweet and liked my breakfast burritos. She is also very quiet. I have been trying to get to know her better. She likes painting and television programs.

     Hermana Lattin is a Southern California girl to the bone. She likes to surf, is tall, and had platinum blonde hair before the mission. She is great. She is the oldest of five and has a brother also on a mission but in Peru. She and I talk Spanish and patience a lot. I know she is enjoying it here in Angol. She has a great love for people and can strike up a conversation (in admittedly bad Spanish) with anyone.

These look like crab claws but are piniones. They come from a tree and are yummy in a grain-like manner.
  To answer your questions about the bird that comes only to me, evidently my hair is the color of the momma bird...that's what I've been told.

   We hiked up to a waterfall today. Our guide, a member of our ward, found this tarantula-looking spider. Cool, right?!
 Not to my companion, who is super afraid of spiders

I bought this cool Chile hat to protect myself from the sun. My scalp burns sometimes, so I really need it.
The other picture is a sketch of  two of my investigators. Martin is the cat. One of the most playful ever. He pounces on flies, shoelaces. backpacks, grass, air...etc...and he loves me.
Two of my investigators. The cat , Martin, loves me.
     His owner is also great. He knows bits and pieces of English as well. He wasn´t at church this week, and we are not sure why  We will go and visit him tonight and tomorrow.
   We have another baptism date with a serious investigator. His daughter is having problems, so he went and helped her in another city. He has been sharing what we´ve been teaching with her, and they went to church in Temuco yesterday.

     Give Mema some tulips for me. They should be coming up around now. If not, some forsythia. 
Happy Birthday Rayne!
("Cupcake" is Mollie's nickname for her brother, Jake. Click to enlarge)
Lots of Love,
       Hermana Bowman



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Riley #13 - Torrance, CA - Conference, Car was Hit, Elder Hsiao is Amazing

Dear Family,

    I attached a few pictures from the MTC (Missionary Training Center - Provo, UT). I thought I'd send them, since you're going to write back to Elder George's mom . I have some LA photos from this week, but I'll send them next time.

My District People at the MTC
(Click to Enlarge)
     I have both my MTC companions in there and a picture of my district. I haven't really taken any of  people since coming here. It isn't as if I am going to ask to have a picture with everyone I teach. It took a while to upload the pictures, so I don't have as much time to write.

MTC Mission Companion - Elder George
MTC Mission Companion - Elder Smith
      In any case, a lot of time has mainly been spent with General Conference since I last wrote. I watched it in English. All of the talks were really great. A lot to think about and apply.

    I did teach my first English lesson which was a little nerve wracking. It wasn't as though there was a lot of people there. There were more missionaries than people being taught. It went alright for a first attempt. I have a lot to improve upon.

     As far as material for my English lessons, I might want some of the ones you already have at the house. I have a small book called something like the Penguin Handbook down in my room that might prove useful. I think it might contain some of the rules we want. Rather than a grammar book, we are looking for something that has writing rules and punctuation rules, for our reference as well as theirs. If you do send it, be sure to have my full name on it. They need to know which missionary it goes to, and I heard there is another Elder Bowman somewhere.

     We have found a lot of students from China here. A lot are here for a year or two and have just started learning English so they don't understand me unless I speak I'm being forced to speak it.

     Last Wednesday, our car was hit. We were driving in a parking lot and a car backed out of a parking spot and hit our car. It didn't do too much damage, but the back door was scraped up a bit. There was a lot of paper work to do, but other than that it was fairly uneventful.

      We are keeping busy as always and looking forward to meeting the new missionary next week. I hope I stay with my companion. I probably will, but can't be sure. Elder Hsiao is amazing. He is unbelievably organized and neat. He has a Table of Contents for all his old notebooks and learned Chinese in about 3 or 4 transfers.
    He is great at planning and creative enough to figure out a solution to anything. Anyways, I had better get going.

    Happy Birthday, Jake!
We took this on my birthday, but it can work for your's too, Jake. 

                                                      Elder Bowman


Friday, April 12, 2013

Mollie #24 - Angol, Chile - Making Cocada, Bright Walls, A Mummy, and My Bird Problem

                                                                                             April 8
Hey all,

     All right, where to start? This week was kind of blah.

    My companion was sick for the first half, and I was sick for the second half- still recovering. We worked everyday but it was kind of blah.

  When I am sick my head is kind of like a bowl of mashed potatoes. I am unable to think very clearly. Combine this with Spanish and a need to look for culture differences and suddenly my ability to communicate effectively is greatly decreased. Boo...

      Everyone in the ward was very supportive and helpful. I received several different types of herbal drinks and had no idea what was in any of them - nix that - one was lemon water, honey, and a mint mixture. Another one was something like 'a running cats claw' from what I understood of the name. I didn't ask.

    They were concerned, and so medicine was thoughtfully given and a lot of prayers. I love the Chilean people. I really was touched by one of the members, Vivian, who baked something specifically for me. You know what I look like when I am sick - Rudolph nose and watery eyes with dark shadows under them. I'm feeling better now.

    I am sending you several photos this week. There's so much I want to share, and it's easier to send photos than describe everything. I really love Chile. I'm learning so much about the culture and history of this area.

   The rooms in Chile are always brightly colored. Here is an example for you. I love how they use the colors on the walls. In another photo, you'll see bright pink walls.

    About conference - I didn't have to wait, and I was able to watch conference in English. In Spanish, I just don't get things as well. It was really great, and I got a lot out of it. All of the English speakers in my zone gathered together and watched at one of the stake buildings around a computer, while the native Spanish speakers watched in the chapel. It was a lot of fun. 

Part of my English Class
    It was actually kind of a vertigo feeling to understand everything. That just hadn't happened in such a long time. When we were talking to each other, it was in a Spanglish-English, because we have to get back into the habit of thinking in English.  

      So I'm still working on learning how to cook the food here. I made cocada with a less active family today. They are a caramel cookie mix covered with coconut. Johan and I are mixing the batter.
Making Cocada with Johan
This is the final result of our cookie mess. 

They were delicious!

    I wanted to do something for April Fool's Day, so I decorated apples to look like the faces of all of the sisters in our house and left them on the beds, so that they would find them staring at them in the morning.

Two of my April Fool's Day Apples

          These in my photo are the faces of my companion and me. Thanks again for the sticky notes Bowman - that is what made this possible.

      Oh, could you send me Riley's address?  I was thinking of sending him a letter.

     We went and visited a museum P´day.

My companion and me on a bridge near the museum

     Unfortunately, I wasn't familiar with a lot of the museum words, so I didn't understand much... but this mummy is cool!
 There was also a lot of archaeology and geology - rocks!, which my companion really liked.  She is always collecting rocks where ever we go!

Lots of archaeology at the museum.

Great native butterfly display! Remembered these from Butterfly World!

    So don't worry about this, but I shut an oven door, and it bounced back and burned me. It is only a surface burn, so don't worry about it. I am using Neosporin.

Here you can see my leg burn from the oven door.

Me being sick - but I'm getting better.

 So you guys asked for pictures of my bird problem. Really, it's just the one bird. It comes to me. Not sure why. I'd think it was an odd thing, except remember that bird that flew on me and stayed on my shoulder, when I was just walking to Burgess Park?

     Well, that's all for now. I'll send some drawings next week. Happy Birthday, Jake!

                      Hermana Bowman


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Riley #12 Torrance, CA - Busy Easter, Duck Feet, and English Classes

April 3, 2013
Dear Family,

     I didn't send an email Monday, because today we went to the temple. We always go on a Wednesday, so Pdays for Temple week is on Wednesday instead of Monday. We only go about once every three months.
Los Angeles Temple - We only go every three months.
       I loved the pictures you sent and Mollie's letter.

      English class is going well. Yesterday we had seven people come. We are still working on making lesson plans and finding material to use to teach. We don't really have a good grammar book, but have been talking to the members to help us find material.

       We haven't given any more talks on Sundays. We are probably only able to give them once a month, depending on how the Sundays line up. Also, because of conference we won't be able to give a talk at least until May.

     Easter was very busy. We are always attending church with some of our investigators, so a lot of Easter day was going to church. After church meetings, we gave a lesson, and then a member invited us to dinner. I am still not speaking well enough to really participate in the lesson like I want. To give me practice, the member had me give a message at the end, which mostly consisted of long pauses and sputtering. Still, I managed to get through it.

     As far as strange food, I haven't really had that much. Usually we eat some duck, noodles, tofu, and cabbage. Also, there usually is some rice with every meal.

    We had pig ear the other night, which wasn't actually meat, but more like cartilage. I didn't know what it was at the time, but it didn't taste bad.

   Also, during Easter dinner, they had duck feet. It looks a lot like chicken feet, but smaller and with webbing between the toes. It took me awhile to figure out how to eat it. Apparently, it is eaten by putting the foot in your mouth, chewing it, and then spitting out the bones. I felt rude spitting out toes, but I guess that is what you are supposed to do. 

      We are focusing most of our efforts on English class right now, and trying to get everything done by the end of the transfer when the new missionary comes in. Between our investigators and English class, most of our time is taken up.

      We drive a lot, as most people we teach are in Santa Monica or USC. I am not sure where we will focus our finding efforts after we are done planning English class, but we have a few ideas we can try. Giving quality English classes, finding people to come, and helping them is where our attention is for now.

              Elder Bowman


Monday, April 1, 2013

Mollie #23 - Angol, Chile - Easter Sunday Talk and Pigeons


            April 1, 2013
Hey All,

     Wow! That was a lot of information for this week. I don't have a lot of time left, so there will only be one or two photos.
    It is great to hear about Kara, congratulations Sister Siebach! I'm sure spoiling the baby is going to be a fun. 

     It made me think about Sarah is she doing? I know Julia probably went back to the gulf. Have you heard any updates about her?

    The pictures of Madeline were ace. I loved them. Easter dresses were always so fussy. Good to know that Madeleine also thinks that all the lace is a little much. But then again... this is coming from the girl that had someone literally run away from her fashion sense! 

Madeleine in her Aunt Mollie's 1st Easter Dress

      This week was my first talk in Sacrament Meeting!  I spoke about Christ....always do :). 

        I'll share some of my thoughts and what I shared, although it won't be as organized.  This time it was Easter Sunday, so I spoke about the Atonement and Resurrection.

    Many churches celebrate Easter or Pascua by showing videos and speaking about the Atonement...that moment in time when Christ took on all of the sins of the world. It is sad, dramatic, and really just not how I or probably many remember Christ. 

     More important than the death of Christ, is the life of Christ and resurrection of Christ. He died in the greatest act of love in the history of the world. He took all of the pains, infirmities, afflictions, sins, and temptation of the world.  
And for what reason? He needed to know how to succor his people.
 (Alma 7) 
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16 13)
Christ overcame sin and overcame death.  In this way, He overcame the world. 
     We are asked to do the same...(Ether 55) To overcome sin and death through Christ and through repentance. Then we can have peace and be of good cheer!
Mission President Martinez and his wife
My English class was a hit. Ten people attended!
     Item of interest to you all - I have a problem with pigeons. Twice this one pigeon keeps coming on my head. No Jake I am not a tree and no Michele my hair is not a mess. Just an odd thing that happened - twice!        

       We have two new sisters in the house. One is a Southern California girl and is tall -  like five ten. We all get along great! 
Things I kind of need:
Easy way to clean shoes.  A new pair of flats. Mine are worn out.
Pinterest recipes off my board
               Sorry - No time for more.
                                         Lots of love,
                                                      Hermana Bowman