Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mollie #75 - Padres las Casas, Chile - Eight missionaries, Creating a new ward

                                                                          April 14

Hey all,

     So I am in the sector or ward called Maquehue, in the city called Padre las Casas. It is in the hills. The ward is very big, but so is the sector. The ward has eight missionaries four hermanas y four elderes. We will see how things go.

Here we are on the escalator  in the mall

      I have high hopes -   aka there is lots of work to do here, which is good I like to stay busy. I have lots of personal goals.

     My companion is also great. She is from San Salvador, has 3 months on the mission, and is a great missionary- obedient, hard-worker, etc.

     We currently don´t have anybody in the church - in that we are to build a new ward in addition to the one they have. The one progressing is 21years old with a 3 year wild child. She affectionately calls him her 'savage from the jungle' - an apt title.

The eight of us. We have a ward building, but it is a really big sector with 150 people in the ward. They want to divide the ward so they sent a bunch of missionaries to help build it up, so that it can be divided into two wards.
     It is cold, but we have only been hit by one heavy shower storm this week- Streets turn to rivers and the world goes foggy. It is about the same as Florida rain, big drops and lots of them, but it is cold. A good used sweater here costs about 14 dollars. New is about $30-$40. I am fine sleeping.

         Staining Easter eggs activity in the mission zone. We will be doing something similar that we have organized with the ward this Friday. Easter egg hunt and dying Easter eggs.

     You have to love Easter. It testifies of the fact that life is eternal that we will all dye :p but we will also all be reborn or resurrected.

     In the morning, we have a thick fog, which makes it hard to go running. You can't see more than about six feet in front of you. Hermana Ferrell and I are still trying to run. We will see how long we are willing to do so in this weather.

    I will try and take more shots for you guys. We are going to the outskirts of the sector this week, and I will try to get you guys some good pictures.

Fun fact: I am in the house with Hermana Ferrell. My companion from the MTC. It is really nice to already have a good friend here.

Love you lots,
         Hermana Bowman


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Riley #63 - Inglewood, CA - Three Pigs, Simplicity/Calmness/Sincerity

                         April 14, 2014

Hey Everyone,

     Yes, I got the box Friday. Thanks for the goodies and camera, as well as the letters and blog from Mollie and Michele.

     You will be happy to know that I am carrying my camera with me now, but I am still getting used to remembering to use it. I also forgot to bring something to move the pictures onto the computer, so you will have to wait for more next week.

     This week we had a lot of exchanges. Elder Kpainay is District leader, so he had 3 exchanges this week, each time with me going to the other area. So I only spent about half the week in the area this week, but I was able to see some other areas. One was directly south of our area, which covers Inglewood and part of a city called Hawthorne. The other area I went to was on the border of two cities called Compton and Watts. Their areas weren't a lot different than ours, but it is always a positive experience to spend a day with another missionary and see another area.

      Sunday, there was a baby blessing in our ward. It was a Tongan family, so they had relatives from Utah come out and a big dinner afterwards. There was a lot of food and cake, by far the largest celebration I've seen for a baby blessing. However, even it was outstripped by a missionary farewell in the Tongan ward that also happened yesterday.

     There were tons of tables out for that and even more food, including 3 roasted pigs. One of the Tongan missionaries told me that he was going to turn vegetarian when he returned home.

It is impossible to not gain weight as a Tongan missionary.

With Mission President and Sister
     We also had an investigator at church yesterday. She really enjoyed the experience. She's been to a lot of other churches and had been deterred from organized religion due to negative experiences. However, she has loved coming here.

     She loves the simplicity and calmness of it, contrasting with the glamorous services of some other churches she's been to.

     She also liked the sincerity. She loved how those who bore their testimonies really expressed what they felt, it didn't feel rote or without feeling. The feeling of sincerity she felt she hadn't felt at other churches; the sincerity that comes from making the teachings a part of your life.

     She said the same thing about General Conference. It was much more calm than what she was used to and she loved the expressions of emotions, which she feels is rare to see especially from men. It felt more like people sharing precious experiences with you and not so much someone preaching at you.

  Thanks again for the box.

Elder Bowman


Mollie #74 - Van Obispo, Chile - Conference, Understanding Sacrifice, Heading South

April 7, 2014

     Dear Family,

     Conference was fantastic - all of it! I really can't say I had a favorite talk, because there are many that I will be using to make goals in my life.

Our district:
Elder Cruz, Long, Douglas,
 Lopez, Hermana Bazan, Palma, 
My Companion and me
       My favorite session was the first - Saturday morning. I liked the talk about gratitude, our potential, and our need to take a stand. One expression that I liked was when they talked about looking for and caring for our dead.

     Not just the dead, but our dead. We can clearly see from the extensive lists of genealogy in the scriptures that ancestry and family ties are incredibly important to God. I know lots of our family stories, but I want to know even more.

      For my birthday, it is probably better for Daddy to put money in my account for clothes than you having to send them. I have found a handful of shops that are really cheap.

     My classes are good. I used ratemyprofessor. I will rearrange them when I get home.

     One thing that will surprise you is that here in Chile, I have learned to eat a little bit of spicy food. (You can't say no to some of their hermanas that were up at 4 in the morning, and took their lunch break, so the food would be ready for you.)

     Here I am eating a bell pepper raw - something I never could do.

Here we are with two little girls, teaching them about the gospel - faith, repentance, etc.

Our little investigators
     We used a game we made up where they had to jump from step to step without getting caught by the devil (me) when they weren't on one of the steps.

     They are super cute. I gave them and their sister Bowman's headbands she sent me. They loved them.

     My companion did 104 push-ups for the zone. They weren't pretty pushups or at all middle school qualifiable push-ups, but she did them with her little arms shaking. The next day, she was unable to lift her arms to put on her mascara.
      This is an exercise we do in zone conference sometimes that helps us realize the power of the atonement. Push-ups are done for every person in the zone, so that each of us can receive a treat. Whether or not we want or accept the treat is not so important, as long as the pushups are done by one person.      

     Usually, the boys do them. It was different for me to see a girl do this. I don't know why, but the entire time I was thinking really one of the elders should be doing this.

     I think the elders thought the same,
 as they stared with avid attention at their shoes and scriptures.
      It made me think of all of the single mothers I know who are made to carry the load and how it shouldn't be that way.       

     It also made me think about our society in which it is expected that a woman is treated the same as a man, which often leads her to carrying her own load and his too.       

     It is sad how the men don't understand their value and recognize what their potential is for themselves and their families. Blessings would occur if they did.    
      In reality, each have designed roles created by God. Sometimes like when a 110 lb girl works hard at 104 pushups, it is really obvious.
    It is not that we can't do all of the work,
it's that we shouldn't have to.

And perhaps Christ shouldn't have had to either.
 I will be moving down to Temuco - the farthest southern city in my mission and most dreaded for its cold and rain in the winter. The sector is called Michaeue or something like that.

Packing. Yep, a disaster.

      I will be with the MTC companion of my current companion. Her name is Hermana Martiz.....I know! Version 2.0! She is from Ecuador, and she is like half of my size.
Love you guys,
         Hermana Bowman


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Riley #62 - Inglewood, CA - The best kept secret

                                             April 7, 2014

Hi Everyone,
     Thanks for the email and pictures. I'm glad to know the Conference tradition (going to our friends' house for waffles and ice cream after Priesthood Conference session) lives on. I really like Michele's blog posts on grad school. It's interesting to see what it takes to prepare. The conference post was also enlightening.

      Conference was good for us as well. Saturday we pretty much were at the church all day. We had to be at the Stake Center to watch it, and it was too far from our area to do much in between sessions. I spent a lot of the time studying Chinese. We are only on bikes, but there is a companionship that helps drive us places when we need to go farther, like Conference. It is pretty safe here, so we don't need to worry too much.

(click to enlarge)

     As far as Conference goes, my favorite session was Priesthood. The talks were all really great. As usual, I will need to read them again afterward to understand some of the concepts they talked about, especially Elder Oak's. The Saturday morning session was also really good.

      It was noticeable how the central messages of the talks were similar. I liked how they talked about not segmenting yourself. Know who you are and then always be who you are, regardless of the circumstances. When persecution comes, rely on God and be loyal to him. Standing for what is right often means standing against what is popular and although you may feel you stand alone, you never are truly alone.

     Have integrity and live true to what you believe. Your actions often reflect your thoughts and desires and these, in turn, your character. I really loved how much of it focused on developing a stronger and better person, developing integrity and character which isn't swayed or defined by other people.

     One of the people we've been teaching came and watched the Saturday sessions with us. While he liked the conference, he seemed to really enjoy the World Report after Conference. 

     He is well-known in the faith community in Inglewood and has often worked with our church and others in interfaith efforts. He was amazed and touched to see what the Church was doing around the world, also to see that they were willing to work with others to do it. It really surprised him how what was taught was similar to other churches, messages of hope and testimonies of Christ, messages that no Christian church could disagree with. 

     Despite the common, negative feelings other churches have toward us, the differences in what we believe are not as deep as he had been made to believe. He told us his member friend, the person who had led him to investigate the church, told him that she thinks the Church is the most misunderstood of any religion.

He told us he thinks the Church is the best kept secret.

     As he has encountered more and more of the church, he has been continually impressed not just with the message which the church shares, but also with how they share that message. As we've showed him videos and the Visitor Center, and as he personally has perused the Church website, he has again and again marveled at the way the videos and the presentation of the message is designed to speak to the people of today, in such a way that they can understand it.

As he said Saturday, everything is run just the way it should be.
     He has already begun to see the greater vision of the church and its purpose. We not only have the desire to spread the message of the gospel, or to help lift those in need, but we are doing it successfully, on a scale and in a manner which he, for all his experience working with churches and communities, has never seen done. But he feels this is how it should be done. 

     It has helped me appreciate that the way the church is run is simply miraculous. All the obstacles and challenges that others face in doing this work are obviated simply because it is not man who leads this church. It is lead by revelation and it is Christ's Church. As I listened to conference, I was once again reminded of that.

      We were teaching a person from Egypt the other day who grew up in Islam. He was fascinated in the idea of a living prophet, as Islam claims Muhammad as the last of the prophets.

     One of the largest differences between us and other religions is continuing revelation. Many of the people we talk to believe in a story that has already been written, a tale that's been told, that all is complete.

 In contrast, we believe that God's plan is continuing to unfold before us, and we still have a part to play in that plan, under the direction and guidance of Christ.

               Elder Bowman



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mollie #73 - Van Obispo, Chile - Countryside and Lake, Message for the Homeless

                                                                 March 31, 2014

Hey family,

      So its been a crazy week. We are looking for new investigators. My English class is going well. We currently have 20 students that attend regularly, plus others. Other than that we have been busy contacting.

click to enlarge
Salta de Salta de Laja

     I am going to have to pick up some new winter clothes. I threw mine all away last year. they had gotten really ratty practically in tatters. I only kept one sweater.
Campo with Hermana Bazan, My Companion, and Hermana Palma
Our weekly planning had a little side break when my companion decided she was fed up with her split ends. She just hacked and cut them off and said it was good. She has beautiful long thick Latina hair and couldn't see it very well. It didn't turn out quite even, but I fixed it for her. It looks much healthier now.

     Speaking about Latina hair, everyone has long hair here. When they are a baby if it doesn't come in thick, they shave the head or the spots where it isn't coming in thick. Afterward, it comes in even. I am not sure how it works or if it only works for them, but I have seen it work with lots of babies here. Just a heads up for you, Mich.

     Here we are with our little investigadorita. 

We had fun teaching. and then afterward she didn't want us to go, so she stole my companion's shoe and hid behind me to stave off her wrath. So funny!

     I went to the university this week (INacap) to do volunteer work speaking English with their students. They wanted them to listen to a native speaker. It was very strange to be at a university, because I felt like I didn't belong there (Me thinking I'm going to be signing up for classes said that I should be there) and it was odd to speak English. Still, I enjoyed myself and they gave us a free notebook and said to come back whenever we could.

I liked Alena's letter. New work - how fun is that? 
It is always good to spice things up.

    Fall is here and brought with it a brisk winter wind. I love the colors of the plants. My sector is middle class, and there are lots of beautiful trees and vines. I found this one while walking and told my companion we had to snap some shots. These are a grape relative. They grow really fast. We have them out front on the Hobb's fence.

Grapes Miniature - Super sweet- My favorite
    Sadly, homeless people are common here. As a missionary, it is important to recognize that there is not a charity organization in the church to take care of these people. It is our work as missionaries. Now we know the church promotes teaching people to learn to help themselves and not simply giving to the poor. For this reason we leave a card that says something like.

      If you want to change your life or would like help, you can find it (address of the church) with (name of bishop) on Sunday between 10-4. You may also call (number of the mission). We care about you, and God cares about you and wants to help you.
                        With care,
                          The missionaries

My companion and Me
Spiritual Thought

Don't doubt the prophets. General Conference is coming up. I was reading this week in 2 Nephi, and he is talking about the Isaiah's prophesies - how those who dismiss them, because they don't understand them, will regret it in the last days. 

The Law of the Land is gradually separating from the Law of God. We know one day the two will go against each other, and we will have to choose who we will follow. Perry said in the last General Conference.
     In recent decades the Church has largely been spared the terrible misunderstandings and persecutions experienced by the early Saints. It will not always be so. The world is moving away from the Lord faster and farther than ever before. The adversary has been loosed upon the earth. We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.}
no more need be said

Signing up for BYU classes tomorrow.

                       Love you all lots.
                         Hermana Bowman


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Riley #61 - Inglewood, CA - Getting the Routine down, Used my Chinese

                                              March 31, 2014

     Thanks for the emails. It sounds like a lot is happening over there. It is odd to think of Mollie returning home soon. 

     The week has been good, and I have started to fall into the routine of things here. We are teaching some amazing people. It is so diverse here. We have an investigator from Cameroon, Nigeria, and another from Jamaica, as well as those who have been here all their life.

      We have been going to the Visitor Center a lot the past couple of weeks. It really is a great place to feel close to God. The people we take all love the experience and can also feel that the temple is a special place. I attached a picture with one of the people we took.

 We have been doing a fair amount of teaching lately. The days are all fairly routine, more so than Chinese work.

      We had a member take us to a buffet last week for dinner. All the workers there were Chinese, so I had a chance to talk to them. I haven't really seen any Chinese people on the street here, but apparently there must be a few in the area. It was great to speak a little Chinese again and they were all very friendly. I told the other Chinese elders about it, so hopefully they can have a chance to meet with them.

       I actually felt a little bit of the earthquake last week. It wasn't much and probably wouldn't have noticed if it hadn't been for the windows rattling. I am not really sure if it was more serious elsewhere.

               Elder Bowman


Mollie #72 - Van Obispo, Chile - Figs, About Charity

                                                     March 24, 2014

Hey Family,

     What have I been up to? - my English class, teaching piano, figs, being sick. It's getting cooler here, so I guess getting sick is part of it. Ugg. 
Fall is coming

Anyway, my class keeps growing. It now has 27 students. Let's hope it keeps getting bigger. Everyone participates, and it is a lot of fun.

I teach piano to a youth in each ward
     Figs = the best fruit on the planet. Picked these from the small garden of Eden that is hidden behind a small, secret door behind the church. 

    There is a small paradise back there. If this was my ward, that whole space would be utilized -  but hey. It still has a handful of beautiful trees. I love these figs. Why don’t we have very many in the US? I eat them by the bucketful. 

Spiritual Thought
Suffering sometimes is a good thing.

And acharity suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily dprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I have been study/contemplating for the last few weeks about the harder parts of charity. We often speak of the finer and easier attributes of charity how it is love, kindness, hope, etc. However there is also a darker side to this word.

Charity suffereth long, beareth all things,
 and endureth all things.

Recently, I have decided to try and lose weight. The truest and best description of a weight loss I have heard comes from Daddy. He says losing weight is self-inflicted suffering.  Whether it is in big bouts or small it is a net amount of suffering. And it is true, it is bearing one pain/want (hunger) to reap a greater want (health).

And so are the things with God. we bear things that are difficult -scorn, prejudice, gossip, weariness, lost friends, the bad decisions of loved ones, etc… For the reward of something greater.

Mothers like Mimi wash the dishes, clean the house, often without any acknowledgement, because they have charity.

It, I think is one of the hardest things to explain to people who are investigating the church. Would you be willing to give up your only day off your day of peace to attend church. And would you be willing to work in the church as a teacher or in nursery, etc. We must help people gain a larger perspective.  This is where the law of obedience comes in. 

It's like the youth video from the African girl with a poem.

     The blessings we obtain when we obey the laws of God are worth it. 
Love you all lots,
Hermana Mollie 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Riley # 60 - Inglewood, CA - My new companion, My new area

                                            March 24, 2014

     It has been an interesting week. Working in this area is totally different than working with the Chinese before. The people are totally different here.

     My companion's name is Elder Kpainay. I forgot to take photos, so I don't have any of him yet, but he is awesome. He was born in Liberia, but came to the US when he was seven. 

      He is from Maryland and was going to Southern Virginia University before his mission. He goes home in July, so I am the junior companion again, which is really rather wonderful. 

Zone Conference - We're the International Zone

     Inglewood is just a little bit north of Torrance and south of Santa Monica and the LA temple. It is a fair bit west of Compton and Watts so it is pretty safe, not nearly as poor or dangerous as those areas.

      That being said, it is still relatively poor. The majority of the people here are Hispanic and Black, so I had only driven through here a few times before living here. It is still pretty diverse, with people here from a number of different countries. It is really different than what I am used to, but the people seem very friendly.

     President Weidman said I will spend a little while here, but that I will be put back into Chinese program eventually.

With my companions - Taken before I left to Inglewood

                Elder Bowman


Mollie #71 - Villa Obispo, Chile - Postreton, Story of a man's conversion, Mission Conference

                              March 17, 2014


     Eleven pies! Daddy that has got to be a new record for you. Good work on keeping nerdy traditions alive. Mother said it was fun.

  On the topic of baking, remember when I told you we were planning a  Postreton ( which is a big pastry competition) at church? Well, we had it a couple of weeks ago. It turned out great. Here's some photos from that event. It was a lot of fun.


     I go running in the morning. It is getting chilly and my companion has now abandoned me to running with Hermana Leal. Alone but I might start dragging Deanne Villaroel with me. Love that girl.

     I taught my English class the other day. We had 17 non-member students. I am better at advertising since my days in Angol. Our problem is simply that we lack members to do the hermanimiento. I am working on it. 

     Many say that missionaries can find and baptize in about two months, but I have found on the mission that for me it is more like six months. I find people to teach and help them come to church and later they are baptized. 

     There was a  man on drugs (crack) in La Marina that I helped find and teach. I just found out he recently was baptized. It made me happy. Last time I saw him, he had fallen from our Word of Wisdom challenge. Some of his friends had swung by. He ended up in jail, and I left. But when he came back from jail, he went to church and the sisters kept working with him.  Life rocks! 

 We had mission conference. Here are some photos from it.

Our Zone Leaders - Elders Bills and Long

Elder Hendricks

 It is starting to get chilly here, but that just keeps me dancing on my toes. 

Spiritual Thought
If someone gave you a small piece of chocolate every day, would you read a chapter of the Book of Mormon everyday? We are helping an inactive 12 year old get a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He reads everyday for a piece of chocolate. He just needs a little motivation, and it works to help him move him along.  

    What things can we do to motivate ourselves to learn more, study, and remember to keep the commandments of God? A little motivation can make a big difference.

Love you lots!

         Hermana Bowman