Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mollie #63 - Jan 20 - Conversion Stories - A boy on a bike, A sister who debated God's Existence

                                                    January 20, 2014 

Hey everyone,

     Sorry daddy. I wanted to write you your own letter, but I ran out of time. I have so many mission friends now. 

     This week was full of miracles. My 'little daughter' here I'm training in the mission is beautiful. She is a Cali girl with Mexican parents. So naturally she speaks Spanish and English perfectly. She comes from a family of five girls. They are all beautiful. She is patient with me, and we are learning and seeing handfuls of miracles everyday. 

Yo y Hermana Gallardo
    The other day one conversation that struck me hard was of a little 12 year old boy. He is about Donnie's height, and he lives on a bicycle. His name is Diego. He is a muscly little boy, and he came over to talk to us when we were taking a 5 minute break from walk in 100 degree weather. He asked us for pass along card, how we were doing, if we had a boyfriend, etc. and every little thing under the sun. 

    He pointed out his brother and cousins who were in a little red car down the street. We asked if he lived with his family, and he said he lived on his bike. He spends his days from 10 in the morning to 10 at night on a bicycle. He says he goes home for lunch with his brother but that both of his parents work and that he rarely sees them. We invited him to sports on Saturday. He said he'd like to go. I hope he goes. He is a good kid. 

It made me think of how blessed my life is and the value of my family. 
Family is so important.

     I loved Riley's email about the couple who were baptized. It reminded me of a similar conversion story of one of the people I taught that got baptized less that a month ago.

     There is a sister in my old sector here who is 18. When I met her she was 17 and sure that God did not exist. She would debate with people. She thought they were all who believed in God were disillusioned. 

Then we met her. 

    She was presented a challenge to read the Book of Mormon. She did so, along with many questions and an open mind. Her heart changed. We invited her to pray to God and to ask Him if He exists.

   She said she had never felt something so beautiful, and that now she knew that God exists. 

She continued growing when I left that sector, and now she was recently baptized! 

   When I think of her, I remember her stubbornness and no nonsense attitude and spark. She is a lot more peaceful now. She is at peace with herself and is not defensive. She smiles with light in her eyes and lifts and grows the faith of those around her and challenges everyone to read the Book of Mormon. 

   I don't know when the change happened, but God is and will always be a worker of miracles especially for those who exercise their faith in him.

Start with the faith of a mustard seed.

Thank the Santoses for sending me everything I asked for. They are the best!!!

Yo y Hermana Gallardo

Love you lots.

       Hermana Bowman


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Riley #51 - Lomita, CA - Preparing for Chinese New Year

                                                                                       January 20, 2014


     Thanks for the video from Statler. Glad that Elder Burr's mother was able to contact you. Now if I am not able to write you can just ask her what Elder Burr wrote. Just kidding!

      Thanks for Mollie's letter and Michele's blog. The pictures were great. I really liked Michele's entry on being a mom.

     This week was pretty busy. It rained ash one day. Apparently, there was a fire in the mountains of the mission next to ours so we woke up to a brown sky and an orange sun. Small pieces of ash were floating around us. It was a little concerning at first, but had stopped by noon.

     We also took our newly baptized members with us to a lesson for the first time. They were a great help and really want to help others. They mentioned the responsibility they feel now that they are baptized.

     She said that she knew what was right before, but after being baptized she feels like she has a greater responsibility to do what's right.

      He was really excited to receive the priesthood last Sunday. Because of it, he said he looks at people differently now whether it be at work or anywhere. He feels like it is his responsibility to not only help them, but also to help them receive the gospel.

     We are inviting everyone to the Chinese New Year's activity. We did a practice for the Lion dance Friday. It totally killed our legs. You have to pretty much walk around doing squats so we were pretty tired. I was in the back and Elder Burr in the front. The front is a lot harder because you also have to hold the head and perform. All I have to do is follow him around.

              Elder Bowman


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mollie #62 - Villa Obispo, Chile - A very busy week, Hermana Porter was fun!

                                       January 13th

 Hey Everybody!

      So today is cambios (transfers). We had a lot of cambios in our house. Hermana Basad and I are training, which means we will be having two completely new people in the same house. Hermana Franseca is going to Temuco, and Hermana Porter, my companion, is going up north to Los Huertos, which is where I was, except she's going to the richer side of the sector.

My fun companion, Hermana Porter
   We are all excited - packing, organizing, and doing all sorts of things. 

   I am so excited to train. We will see how that goes. I know that every new missionary is different, and every trainer is different. I know that it's going to be fun. The most important part is to teach her to follow the rules of the mission, so everything goes well her entire mission.

   We did a lot of service this week. We've been cleaning a lot. I cleaned this house in de Salta de Laja.

See that window behind me? That is what I spent the whole time doing -  washing these windows for these little cabins that they rent out. What was maddening is that they never looked clean even after I washed them. Oh well.

It's more like apartment buildings for one of the hermanas in the ward next to our ward.  She hadn't used them for three years. They are really cute. They reminded something out of an eighties movie. I can't remember the movie, but they are like little cabins. They have nothing more than a bed and a tiny staircase that is so narrow that if you're fat, you couldn't go up them.

Yep, this staircase is about as wide as my skinny companion. Big people could not vacation here!
This type of a fly is called a calliwacho. They bite and not small bites. There was lots of screaming and running away anytime they got close.

   Hermana Porter and I have been doing lots of things. I'm really going to miss her. She taught me so much - much more than she knows. We laugh all of the time. She is so much fun.
We helped clean Lilian's house too.
   Her birthday is coming up tomorrow, and since we have cambios, we've been preparing for it all week for her family. They have a tradition of celebrating the whole birthday month in her family, but we've been doing birth week.

Hermana Porter's Pre-Birthday Celebration
Anyway, we've been taking photos of her everywhere with the letter A for Alison Porter, so she can send them home to her family. It's been fun.

We hiked to La Salta de Laja Falls

   We've seen so many miracles this week. I know we have them every week, but seeing people change and become happy - and  knowing that something doesn't seem to be working then does - is what makes being a missionary so amazing and even fun. 

   One family needed us, and the miracle is that we found them right when they needed us - in the exact moment.
   One funny story that happened this week- Hermana Porter has this habit of stashing food, like under her shoes or in a pantleg or anywhere. She's tiny - a tiny, little girl - who can't eat that much. We are always given way too much food.

     One day we were eating at the table of one of the hermanas, and the hermana said, "Oh, please, just stay here longer." We were sitting at the table, and she went to prepare even more food.

    Hermana Porter asked me, "Can I have your napkin?" So she stashed this giant pile of noodles in our two napkins. The hermana comes to us and says, "Wah? I must have forgotten to put napkins on the table!" and then left to get more napkins.

     My shoulders were shaking, because I couldn't help but laugh about it. Hermana Porter tells me, "I can't help it, I can only eat so much, and then I get hungry in thirty minutes." It was so funny.

   I have so little time left on my mission. I am making more plans and trying to accomplish everything that I had planned for my mission. I guess it's crunch time, you could say.
Picking Raspberries

La familia Gonzalez - Love them

Evidence that it's summer! (Hermana Porter doesn't really tan.)
   I'm looking forward to this cambios, and I'm really hoping it will be just as much fun as with Hermana Porter. I'm hoping also that I can find something new I can bring and do to this ward and to this sector, so that we can keep progressing.

Jake - your story about the mountain lion - CRAZY! CRAZY! - What were you thinking, dude??? That type of experience - DONE. You know, it doesn't have to be a life or death experience to write to me. I know that's totally within your abilities. I like hearing things like you building gym equipment with PVC pipes. That sounds like fun. I never tried to do that before. Tell me about everything that's going on in your life. How everyone is doing. Tell me about Mission Prep - what are you doing to prepare for your mission? I don't really have any advice for you. Stay worthy. Stay good. Do good things. Be happy. Those are all good things. I also want to hear about your work. Tell me exactly what you're doing with it.

Spiritual Thought: Don't give up! We've been teaching people this week who were not praying, so they weren't understanding. We were so confused as to why they weren't really trying. We said prayers and fasted. People that were shut off with their hearts closed not listening, they totally changed their perspectives. We had to have patience. We had to wait for God to touch their hearts and have them listen to the Spirit. We prayed and received answers. 

Pablo, one of our investigators, is seventeen. We gave him to the elders and was baptized this week. He has a lot going on in his life, partially with his family. I hope that the church and the gospel can really help him out. He's really great.


                    Hermana Bowman

PS I still didn't get my Christmas box. Boooo