Sunday, January 26, 2014

Riley #50 - Lomita, CA - Planning for Chinese New Year

                                                     January 13, 2014
Hey Everyone,

       Sorry, I don't have much time today. It seems to always go this way. We had time planned for writing today, but got caught up cleaning our apartment. Thanks for all of the emails. I will try to respond more next week.

     I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks. The branch has a huge activity planned for Chinese New Year's on the 25th. There should be tons of people there.

    It sounds as though Elder Burr and I am going to be doing the lion dance. A member apparently bought a bunch of stuff for the activity when they were in Hong Kong, so it should be spectacular.  I'm so grateful for the support we have here and at home.

     Now that winter break is over, we are becoming really busy again trying to meet with our investigators. One sister is rapidly preparing for baptism.   Her husband is a recent convert who got baptized back in November.

    Wow. It's exciting to hear about Statler and Sara and their missionary experiences. I don't have time to watch Statler's video today, but will next week.

   Thank Sister Slade for thinking of us. I'm in contact with the downtown missionaries, so if she can describe more where to go, that would be good. I think they had a hard time with the address.

               Elder Bowman


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mollie #61 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Shots for Hermana Porter, Celebrating New Year's

                                                      January 6
Hi Everyone,

   Thanks for keeping up writing letters to me, and thanks for sending Riley's letters to me. I loved them a lot. He's not the best letter writer, but he's not the worst, so that's all right. I hope he's doing well. I know he probably needs ideas and things like, and I definitely have some, but I'd need to talk to him. We definitely have to arrange things so we can Skype on Mother's Day.

 I hope you guys received my Christmas gifts and liked them.

   This week we were sick all week. I saw all sorts of doctors and medical people. Monday I was sick with what some think was strep, but it only lasted a day and a half. I slept that long, you know how I can sleep. After sleeping, I had a fever and my throat was sore for two days, and then I was fine.

     Hermana Porter was throwing up for days, so I had to figure out something else to do to help. I tried lots of things, but the Relief Society - they win! - brought her tacos, just of corn and bread, so she wouldn't be too sick.

Hermana Porter on the right.
     The next day, I went with Hermana Porter to the hospital. She had been throwing up for two days straight - 8 in the morning to 8 at night. We were waiting at the hospital, and she was given shots. These weren't  small shots. These were really big shots. It was the second time I was at the hospital, because I went with Hermana Francesca earlier in the week. 

    Anyway, they gave her these shots, and she was bleeding, and they didn't give here anything to put on it. She got blood all over her clothing. She was mad that they left her there bleeding on her clothes. It was a reminder that we are not in the US.

   Then we had New Year's. For New Year's, we went to a member's house - husband, wife, and three kids. They are new members of the ward. They are wonderful people, beautiful people. They are only twenty-two , and they have three kids. They made big changes in their lives. The gospel changed everything for them. It made their life. 

   We went over to their house for New Year's and had a great time. We had three or four different types of meat, mashed potatoes, corn. It was good - good Chilean food. After that we came home at 10:30.

My Sector - I figured out where north is!

    There's a tradition here that you hug everyone at midnight for New Year's. We can't have that happening with elders and hermanas or hugging with people in the ward. 

     So we came home at 10:30 and had a little dance in our house. Hermana Francesca, who is in the house with us, is a dance teacher.  She was teaching us different types of dances. It was fun! We danced until midnight when we had the countdown. Then we went to bed afterward. Actually, I went to bed afterward. I'm not sure what everybody else was doing.

    Saturday we went contacting new people, and looking for a house for a family to rent. A family we are friends with are renting. The family they are renting from are coming back, and they have 15 days, so we helped look some.

    Everyone is doing really well. The ward is doing really well. It's really independent here. It's totally different from the other places, because it's kind of like Utah. It's so advanced.  They have all of the technology. They are educated. They speak two languages. 

    I've been enjoying it, because there's a lot I can do. The people are more independent. They are married in homes, not divorced - or never were married, but lived together for so many years  having all sorts of problems. Nothing like that here. It's just nice - a nice place that's beautiful.

This is John, wearing my new hat

    I'm trying to figure out how to serve them. Members will come with us to the lessons to teach, and I'm loving that. We also are working well with the Elders. I'm just really having a good time here. 

   I love the ward and my companion, Hermana Porter. Hermana Porter and I are great friends.  She is fantastic. She helps me be a better person, which is fantastic. I'm always laughing with Hermana Porter. We are always laughing about something.

            I love you lots!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Riley #49 - Lomita, CA - Two Baptisms Bring Happiness and Support

                                     January 6, 2014

Hi Everyone,

   First, thank the Santoses for me for their gift, as well for the Christmas card they sent me. That was really great.

    This was a really great week for us.  We had two baptisms yesterday. It was really excellent and amazing to see how they have grown. They truly understand what it means to be baptized and the covenant associated with it, and because of that it was really a joyous occasion.

Most of the Branch made it to the baptism, which is good seeing all the support everyone gives. Everyone was happy and they all were really excited.

     They were, of course, the most excited. It was great to hear their testimonies.

It's such a huge change for them. When he started meeting with us, he didn't have a belief in God, but now he understands that there is not just God, but a plan and purpose to his life. He knows the scriptures are true. All of these things he's learned and knows from the spirit makes him happy. He wants to be part of the church forever.

    She has changed a lot, too. She gave up working on Sunday and tea, as she came to know Christ. She is really happy now, too.


    That is the news of the week. Can't get better than that. It is weird to hear about our missionaries coming back.  Three days till my year mark!


               Elder Bowman


Friday, January 3, 2014

Mollie #60 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Depression, MS, and Hope


                                December 30, 2013 
Hey All,
     So we had to deal with all sorts of problems this week. Mainly in that I have been sick. I think it might be from too much sun. Fever, coughing, sore throat, blocked up nose, body has absolutely 0 energy. 

      We had a sister get baptized this week, which was really beautiful.

      Her 12 year old son is a fantastic ball of energy that rides his bike with his friends around town and says “Hi Hermanas!” as he flashes us a smile. He loves music, soccer, biking, and chocolate syrup. His mother, being ill, weighs on him. You see it when he is with her. He takes care of her. He sits beside her. He holds her hands. He gets her a glass of homemade juice. He runs to the store. He does his homework early. He tracks her when she moves afraid that she might fall. He loves her. She leans on him.

     His mother was trapped in depression - trapped in her bed. She had some really heavy sins. Not the small kind at all. She had been in bed due to severe depression for months. 

     Then the world really tossed her a hard ball. When she was just starting to pray regularly and gain a little hope, she got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She was really down. She did not have energy to leave that house.  But prayer and hope had the power to change her life. She did a 180, and threw off the chains that bound her. It sounds easy and quick, but know that it was not an easy process. 

   The second time we visited her she told us about how she woke up that morning and really wanted to wash the windows. It didn´t matter that her little frail body couldn't lift the bucket of water. She fell twice while washing those windows, but she felt free. She had hope.

    Her whole face and world changed. She prayed and prayed and prayed even more. She read the scriptures and then prayed more. She cried and cried more. Every time we visited her, she had visibly changed. It was beautiful. She started smiling, and she started laughing. She learned to feel peace, to feel joy. Then she asked us when she could be baptized. She had learned to love repentance and wanted more. 

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

    The process never ends we have hope, we change, we make covenants, and we thrive in the peace and joy that is the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

      Elder Holland has said this about it:  "When disappointment and discouragement strike - and they will - you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened, we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see, riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed."

(From Christmas) Niche de Hogar

Niche de Hogar

Love you all lots,
   Hermana Bowman


Riley #47 & #48 - Lomita, CA - Two Quick Letters and Photos

                           December 23, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Merry Christmas! Talk to you soon.

I am tempted to end there, since it is almost Christmas.

     Elder Burr wants to Skype home, so I guess I probably will too. We still have to confirm with a member, so we aren't sure about what time it will be. Probably around 12 or 1 CA time, unless we can do it earlier.
      I still have the letter you sent last time with the information about the account. I may just call you first and then see if we can set it up. Plan on 12:00. I maybe will call you, if there is a change.

      The week went well. We have been teaching more lately, but are still looking. English class has been struggling, but it may pick up after holidays. I don't have much time today to say more, but will send some pictures instead. Looking forward  to talking to you soon.

              Elder Bowman


                                December 30

Hi Everyone,

  Don't have too much time to write. In any case, I just talked to you a few days ago. It was great seeing you all, especially Madeleine, and it was good to talk to Bowman.

   Thank you for all the gifts. It was weird receiving presents as I really wasn't expecting anything other than maybe snacks. Thanks for sending me Mollie's letters. It's too bad we didn't get to talk Christmas.

    Things have been a little busy lately, but I will have to talk to you about that next week. 

    Most of our normal activities are on break for the holidays so we have been a little unsure how to use this time. 

   The weather has warmed up quite a bit; it feels like July again. Mornings are still a little chilly. 

            Happy New Years. Next week marks a year for me. Sorry don't have much time today, but I will to get more than one picture next time.
Happy Birthday, Madeleine!

               Elder Bowman