Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mollie #69 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Mini-missionaries, Salta de Laja, A Conversation

                                                                  March 3, 2014

Hey All,

     So we have been up to a lot. At least that is what it feels like, but the truth of the matter is we have been walking a loooooot in the blazing hot sun here in LA.

Cooling off with my hair clipped up.
 We have been advertising our English class.

    We are going to begin this week. I hope it is successful. We have been advertising by putting up fliers in all of the small business around our sector and handing out pass-along cards and using the church whiteboards. We also have a ward activity called the postreton, where everyone brings their most creative sweet treat.

    This week was fun, because we had 2 mini-missionaries in the house. When authorized by the mission president, people have permission to do a mini-mission - where they stay with the missionaries a week and live as a missionary would. It´s to help them prepare for the missions. We had two sisters. One is going on a mission to Argentina in April.

    We went and visited their house this morning. It is beautiful. Full of tall trees and there is a river - the Salta. It is a tourist sight if you want to look it up  - the Salta de Laja. 

Salta de Laja

     I love tall trees and the water is clean and clear. There are weeping willows, pines, aspens, aromatics, and many others. There are big fields flooded with corn, zucchini, etc. 

    The barbed-wire, tree branch fences close in pastures - freckled with cows and chickens and horses.

They eat horse here. It tastes like cow.

    I think large places, whether it is a forest or an ocean or a cliff, help us to realize how small we truly are. That in the scope of things God understands, sees, and takes care of things that are much larger and more complicated than we are. 

   All the little stress that we carry around in our eyes, shoulder, and head is let go, as we fall into admiration of the order and perfection that is God.

My companion is still fiery. She makes me laugh all the time. 

      The other day we approached a man and before we even said a word he was shaking his head gesturing at us with his hands to go away like a dog.  

      My companion took a step closer looked him in the eye and said: 

We are not animals. We are not to be gestured and shooed off.  Calm down. We are people. Would you like a printing of Jesus Christ? We are passing them out and inviting people to put it somewhere and remember him more.

Him: You are not going to convince me to change.

Hermana: We are not here to convince or change people. If people change it is not because we convinced them. I cannot convince anyone. We invite all to pray to God to know if what we share is true or a lie. It is one or the other. We are here to encourage and help you grow your faith in the God of us all and his son Jesus Christ. We are always here to serve you if you need help. Have a good day. 

    She has gotten very comfortable with the mission. It makes me smile some days more than others.

     Love you all lots,
      Hermana Bowman


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Riley #58 - Lomita, CA - New Converts marrying & teaching, Relying on Heavenly Father

                                                             March 10, 2014
Dear Family,

     Thanks for the emails and pictures. The weeks been pretty good. We have had a few investigators drop us lately, but we also met some new people this week and found some people to teach. Our English class, which has been fairly deserted lately, has taken a turn for the better with several new students coming in last week.

Elder Bria, Me, and Elder Lee

       One of them went to badminton at the church as well. Elder Lee and Bria played a little badminton with them. The only problem is that we got our badminton rackets at Daiso, the Japanese $1.50 store where we buy everything. Elder Lee's broke while he was playing and his racket almost nailed another nonmember in the head. That was almost as mortifying as the utter defeat they suffered at the hands of a mom and her 14 year old son. It was pretty fun to watch from the sidelines.
     It is getting hot here again. Our recent converts who just got baptized in January are heading back to Hong Kong this week to get married. They'll be back in the summer, but even still it is sad to see them leave. They are fantastic members. He taught the gospel principles lesson at church last week and did a better job than we usually do; it was great. Next week, another recent convert who was baptized in February will be teaching. There is also another baptism in the Branch next Sunday.

Elder Burr and Elder Lee
          I hit my one year mark in the mission field this week. March 6, last year, I arrived in the mission field. It has felt like it has passed really quickly, but also like a lot has happened. There has been lots of different experiences and not much time to reflect on them as there is always something we need to be doing, to be working on.

      There have been a lot of failed ideas and still more ideas we have yet to try. There have been a ton of failures, but also the occasional success that gives me the confidence to make a ton more failures. It is clear that we been guided and given strength in both the successes and the failures. 

       We can always rely on help from Heavenly Father. We can seek it through prayer and receive a hope of it through our faith. Then, he gives us the confirmation of our faith. We just need to be ready to accept and recognize it when it comes. The work we do is truly the Lord's work and it is him who does it. There is definitely no way we can do it (trust me, we've tried). Being here is an immeasurable experience. 

It changes us as much as it does the people we teach.

            Elder Bowman


Mollie #68 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Slept on the hospital floor, Tour of our place

                                               February 24
Hey all,

    I will be starting my English classes next Saturday. It will be the same day as a mini-mission that they are doing here in the stake.

   Truly, this ward has an organized choir. There are a lot of return missionaries in the ward and over ten people that speak English. I am not doing choir since I'm not needed, but I am training two members to play piano. One for each ward. They are youth. 

     One of the hermanas in our house (Hermana Palma) is sick. I spent the night sleeping on the ground in the hospital on an air mattress keeping her company so that her companion could come home and catch some sleep. She hadn't slept all night.

 Hermana Palma has some sort of problem with her spine. She is in a lot of pain, and they will be doing an MRI for her this afternoon. She has been in the clinica (kind of like a hospital) for three days with an IV tube for the pain. 

    Summer vacation is going to be over next week, so all of the families have started to trickle back in the ward. Everyone here goes to the campo or the beach for the summer. Evidently, southern Chile is the most beautiful. because lots of tourism is there and that is where everyone goes for vacation. 

    It is corn season, so we have been eating lots of pastel de choclo and ermitas. It is almost peach season which will be nice.

You've been asking about where I live, so this week I'm sending you a photo tour of the place.  (It's Pday, so it's a little messy)

All of the houses are the same

Our Dryer


Spiritual Thought

Always apply the Southern Bell rule liberally (aka Give people credit and praise for doing exactly what you told them or wanted them to do.) Lots of people need a little more praise.

                    Love you all lots,
                     Hermana Bowman


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Riley # 57 - Lomita, CA - Meeting new people, Tricompanionship

                                        March 3, 2014

Dear Family,

      Hey. Sorry, for the short letters. Our preparation days haven't been going as planned so we end up with less time to email than we expect.

    We did go eat out at a burger place with the birthday money. Also, make sure I still have money left. I have been using it the past couple of weeks because I misplaced the mission debit card and took the opportunity to replace some of the things that have been getting worn out. The replacement mission debit card should come next week, but I really have no idea how much is on the one from home.

     We actually had a lot of rain this week, by far the most I've seen since being here. The week before was really warm like in the eighties, but then it rained for like 3 days. It was a nice change of scenery.
     We are covering Palos Verdes right now so we have had a bit of trouble finding new people to teach. Most of it is residential and tracting is less than effective. Still, we are meeting with the people we already know in the area, so perhaps we will see some success from them. We are always serving, finding people, teaching, and supporting the members.

Elder Bria
Elder Lee
      So right now we are in a tricompanionship. I included a picture of Elder Bria, who just came in last transfer, and Elder Lee, who came in a few transfers ago. I think you can probably guess who is who.

                                               Elder Bowman


Monday, March 17, 2014

Mollie #67 - Villa Obispo, Chile - English Class, Piano Playing, Virtue

                                                   February 17
Hey all,

   I only have two shakes of rattle to write to you guys. I had to do invitations for my English class and stuff for the ward that took up most of my PDay time.

   I did something completely new this week. I flagged down cars to invite people to my English class, using a whiteboard on a busy street and pass along cards. We will see how this goes.


This is our grocery store. There are markets on every other block that we also go to.

I also played a piano they stuck in the middle of the mall. 
Music always brings people to us.

And Happy Valentine's Day! I ate lots of chocolate to celebrate!

Spiritual Thought
I've been teaching about virtue. To come unto Christ and be more Christ-like, we must become virtuous. In Preach My Gospel, it tells us that virtue originates in your innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. 

Today, society tells us that virtue isn't necessary, that it takes away from having a fun life, that movies and songs that have inappropriate words and scenes for the fun of it don't matter - of course, they do matter.

We know that the Holy Ghost doesn't dwell in unclean tablernacles. If we want the Spirit to guide us, comfort us, and give us strength when we are thrown something we don't know how to handle, we must make good daily choices so the spirit can be with us.

What we think and do with our friends and when we are alone matters. The type of unclean "fun" society wants us to believe makes us happy, really leads to sadness and confusion.We need to be clean and focus on the good, uplifting things Heavenly Father has given us in the world. There is good and bad everywhere, often in the same place, but we can choose to turn toward the light, turning our back to the dark.

    I now know that Virtue is cooler than I thought when I first came on the mission. It's not so much a keep people from breaking the law of chastity rule, but more of a monkish way of controlling your thoughts.

                  Love you all lots,
                    Hermana Bowman

PS (Re: Click for MICHELE'S BLOG POST) Mich - Baby training sounds like a lot of work. Get better. Thanks for the pics!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Riley #55 & 56- Palos Verdes, CA - Transferred Back after 1 week, 2 New Companions, Refocusing

                                       February 17, 2014

Hi Everyone,

   Thanks so much for the emails and the blog post. I'm sure it sounds confusing as far as locations, because a few things ended up changing what was planned.

   Anyway, it turns out that I am back where I started in Palos Verdes. I just moved back last Monday. It has been a really weird transfer where I was told I was going to go to two different areas, stayed in a different area for a week, before moving back to where I started.

   Anyway, it has been great being back. I have been working with people that I didn't want to leave, so I'm happy with the end result.

    I am with Elder Lee and Elder Bria. Elder Bria is new, having just came in the mission Monday. His family is in Tennessee, but they lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for 12 years.

Me with Elder Lee
      There are now five Chinese missionaries in the Branch. Apart from the three of us, Elder Burr and Elder Yang are assigned to the Branch. Elder Yang also came in a week ago and is from Taiwan. 

     We split the area for the time being between Palos Verdes and Torrance. The three of us are covering Palos Verdes and the other Elders cover Torrance. It has been a little bit of a slow week just concentrating on Palos Verdes, but we have some things to look forward to. All of the changes bring a freshness and refocusing on what we can do.

                          Love you guys,
                          Elder Bowman

                         February 24, 2014
Hi Family,
I didn't leave a lot of time today to write you back, but I will try to quickly send a picture. We've been doing all right, nothing too new going on yet.

    There are nine Chinese missionaries in the LA mission right now - two at UCLA, two at USC, and four in PV and Torrance. I'm in the last group of four.

     We are expecting another one next transfer to make 10, which will complete the amount our mission president requested. He said he will probably put a couple of us in English for a while, rather than keep us all in the Chinese program. 

    He said it will be a good experience to do work in an English area, but we would all rather stay in the Chinese program; there is still a lot to be done. 

         Talk to you next week.

Love you,
      Elder Bowman


Mollie #66 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Painting, Postreton Planning, and Humility

                                            February 10

Hey All,

      I am currently in Concepcion for return and report, because I am training. I hoping to pick up some earrings and maybe a suitcase here in Concepcion.  

It has been a fun week. We painted a house white, cleaned out a junk room, taught a lesson that included discussing wiji boards and hand signals to call bad spirits.  It's a blessing to teach people about using prayers, scriptures, and the priesthood for answers instead.

    We walked a lot. We had intercambios. I finally got to know who Hermana Marchant is. She is an ex-companion of a lot of my companions (I'd heard a lot about her!)

     We divided the sector with the Elders. I don’t know if I explained it to you, but this ward has four missionaries. So we were all kind of just working in all sides, because it is really hard to split a sector. We lose investigators. So we talked and decided it would be better to split the sector with them. So now we will be looking for new people this week. I think this will really help me, because I won´t get so lost all the time. You can ask my companion.  I am always looking at the map. 

     We are working to arrange a postreton which is a big pastry competition. We are planning to have it at the church. We will see how it goes.
    My companion is finally adjusting to the mission better. She found it really hard when she first got here. She is used to the perfect California Disneyland weather and found all of the walking in these crazy temperatures really stressful.

Spiritual Thought:
I've been teaching about humility, being weak of heart. It is relying on God and his truth more than our own truth.  From General Conference,  Ulisses Soares shared:

      Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness showing strength serenity healthy self-worth and self-control. It is not possible to grow and develop it in the twinkling of an eye but rather through the process of time. 

Rather than solve the problem himself, the lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust him.

My scripture of the week is in Proverbs 16:
 aCommit thy works unto the Lord, and thy bthoughts shall be established.

If you are humble the Lord will help you establish your way. You will reach a potential that is above your own thoughts for yourself. 

I've seen this so many times on my mission, with myself and those we teach. Working humbly with the lord and trusting his path brings the potential out in each of us. Sometimes we fight it or question it. Sometimes it's a lot more work than we want to do, but always we grow, and in looking back we see that by humbling ourselves our potential and expectations have grown.

                Love you lots,
                         Hermana Bowman


Mollie #65 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Made Burritos for Zone, Saw Hermana Lattin, Climbed over home fence

                                 February 3

Hey all,

     Happy birthday, Mich! You have official been promoted to the age of a quarter.

       So what have I been up to?
    Well, today we planned and cooked for the zone activity. We made homemade burritos. I made refried beans from scratch, which was a first for me, but they turned out really yummy. Canned beans are really cheap in the US, but here they are 5 dollars a can. So you cook the beans, and then mix in sautéed onion, add salt to taste, and quite a bit of water. Stick it in the blender until it looks right. If it is watery add more beans. 

Ward family we love to visit
    The activities were fun. We played water games, did a scavenger hunt, and constructed temples from spaghetti noodles and gummy candy.  

     Other things we have been up to this week include knocking a lot of doors, which is always interesting. We have been looking for new people as a focus of our mission.

     We got a new mission leader named Spencer. He just got back from serving a mission in North Chile, Santiago North, I think. He has a lot of great ideas, so we are going to see how it goes. We have a couple of activities lined up already.

  My companion is starting to adapt to the mission routine, which is nice. We can walk faster now and talk to more people. This week we have Return and Report for the new people. So we will be taking a bus up to Concepcion.  

   We also did intercambios this week, which was fun because I got to spend a day with Hermana Lattin. I just love that girl. She just feels like California.
Thank you Bowman y Pop-Pop y Aunt Mary for the shoes and the sticky notes and the makeup - but especially for the shoes. I love them and some of my old ones were getting a bit ratty.

     Funny story so the other day the other sister accidentally stole our keys along with their own. We, dressed in our missionary clothes, had to climb and jump a six foot fence to get out and into the house. My companion was in a pencil skirt and didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did. We both got scraped up a little, but it was totally worth it to be in the house. Even if we had to climb through a window after climbing the fence.

    One focus I have been working on is gratitude. We know that a prayer with God is like a conversation. And it is or at least it feels like it. We express gratitude and we ask for things and we talk about our day. Gratitude is easy in a prayer but we don´t express gratitude nearly as often when we talk to others. Just a thought.
                    Love you all lots,
                          Hermana Bowman

PS. Check if you have a letter from Hermano Quesada. It was a video for Riley for his birthday.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mollie #64 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Christmas Box, BBQ, Choose to Swim

                                             January 27
Hey all,
      My box finally came. I love it.

Rockin Carla Siaz's Gafas - sunglasses

 Thank Sister Webb for the letter and Sister Jolley for everything. I love the pens she sent and the cookies. 

Got my box!!! Love it! Love you all!
          Thank you so much, Young Womens - The pillowcase rocks!

  I am running on only a handful of minutes today. We are working with a  part-member family that despite having trials, are super great people. The mom has a son that is schizophrenic and a daughter that suffers from depression. We are working on reactivating them and teaching them the role of the atonement. 

All of the converts are doing great.

We are still looking for people. You know, talking to people and seeing what they think about God and if he’s important to them. We ask if they believe in Christ, and if so why. We discuss who is He and why does he matter to you and your life?  We ask if they’d like to learn more about him.

Dino Attack in Laja
Here are some pictures for the ward barbeque that we had. 

BBQ de Barrio

Spiritual Thought: I was talking about it to Hermana Nelson, and I thought I'd share it with you all as well.

We draw strength from our covenants as we keep-on, in this troubling fallen world that is sooo far away from God. When times get difficult, we rely on the promises of God. After all many times everything else falls through. Sometimes it is the only thing that we have to rely on.

 This all leads down to that whole fall to your knees or fall to sin philosophy. 
What do we do when we have troubles as an individual or as a family?

 There are simply two options - 
Rely on God or Fall Away. 
The path is narrow.

I don´t know when the moment will come, but I think at some point everyone is forced to sink or swim.  

So choose to swim. 

I like to think about the 13th Article of Faith.

I believe in being honest true chaste benevolent virtuous and in doing good to all men (and women), indeed I may say that I follow the admonition of Paul- I believe all things, I hope all things, I have endured many things. I hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, I seek after these things.

I invite you all to go seeking.

      Love you all lots!
         Hermana Bowman

PS I loved the box.


Riley # 52, 53, 54 - Lomita, UCLA, Lomita - Baptism and Transfer and Back

                                          January 27th 

Hey Everyone,

    I'm sorry - no time today. I will send pictures next week. Still alive, doing well, and enjoying the first 21 years of life. Let you know what we are so busy with next week. Thanks for the letters and thank the webs as well for the letters everyone sent.

                                             Elder Bowman

                                                   February 3, 2014
Hi guys,

    Sorry I didn't get a good letter last week. We left emailing kind of late and then had a call that took up a half hour of the time we planned to use emailing. Tell Bowman thanks for the card and money. We went out for burgers today with a couple of missionaries.

         The Chinese New Year activity went great. There were over 200 people there. The members really helped out and the performances were great. We had a lot of nonmembers we knew there as well as some we hadn't met yet. I wasn't actually able to take a lot of pictures, but some other people did so we will have to see if I can get them and send them to you.
     The members were great. We actually had a birthday cake with the person who invited us over for dinner on my birthday. They had the song "Happy Birthday" playing in the background during dinner, being sung over and over again in English and in Chinese. They are a great family and it was wonderful spending my birthday dinner there. 
    Even more exciting was the baptism this week. She was baptized by her husband. Her husband was just baptized last November. She started learning after his confirmation. It really is amazing to see them both join the church.

     They really have a strong testimony. They live about at least an hour away from the the church and have to work 12 hours a day, 6 days of the week. She had to go back to work immediately after the baptism, but they still don't complain. They are looking for a better job, but are happy they can be a part of the branch. 

     Transfers are tomorrow. I have been moved out of the Branch. It is a little strange packing. I have been in the Branch my whole mission and haven't really moved much. I have never really left an area before. It has been really wonderful serving in the Branch and in Palos Verdes. 
     I am going to be going to UCLA and the surrounding area. It is a very different place than Palos Verdes and Torrance. It is a little sad to leave the people here even though I won't be too far away. I can't help but wonder what will happen to them and if we will meet again. Still, I know the Elders here will look after them and it will be exciting working in a new area.
     Apart from all that, I'm doing great. We are still hard on the look out for investigators, but we seem a little more organized than before. There is still a lot to work on, but things look bright.

                               Elder Bowman
                               February 11

Hey everyone,

     It has been a crazy week. Our transfers changed on transfer day, so instead of going to UCLA, I was put in the USC area. I have spent the past week in that area. However, today it was changed again so it turns out I am going to be moving back down to Torrance and be in the Branch, but now with two companionships there. We were just told this as I was typing this email, so I am still a little confused about what is going on. I can't tell you about the area because I am not really sure what it is. 
     Have to go figure out what's going on.

               Elder Bowman