Sunday, September 21, 2014

Riley #85 Torrance, CA - Supposed Dangerous Heat Wave, Growing the Chinese Program

                                                September 15, 2014

Dear Family,

        We have interviews with the mission president this week, so I will talk to him then. When would be the latest you'd be in California? and when does the BYU winter semester start and registration start?

Congratulations to Jake as well at being ordained an Elder.

     It's been a good and busy week. We're all looking forward to interviews with President Weidman. We always have so much we want to talk to him about, and the interviews are never long enough.

    Nice to hear about the wet weather washing out the highway, so Uncle Rod could be in Alpine.  Sounds like it was a good visit. The weather is getting hot here again. Every year around this time they have a couple weeks where it gets really hot before fall. We heard on the news at the laundromat about the "Dangerous" Heat Wave here. It's 95 outside.

     The Regional Conference sounds great. Just looking at our stake, I imagine there must be a huge amount of missionaries from Utah Valley. We've heard a General Authority should be coming to visit over the next month or so, but haven't heard much, so we don't know who or when yet.

     We've recently started contacting all of the Chinese members outside of our branch for referrals, etc. It might take awhile to see fruit from it, but it seems like it should help.

     We are still spending a lot of focus on planning and accountability lately. Elder Casey interviewed each companionship and talked to them about following up with him. He's a really great District Leader, and it looks like the Chinese program should increase quite a bit over the next year.  It's great seeing that all of the work we do is moving forward.

               Elder Bowman


Riley #84 Torrance, CA - Fried Chicken Knuckles, District Training

                                 September 8, 2014

Hi Everyone,

   Mother, what did you mean about coming to LA in December? What plans do you have? I thought you were going to Uncle Brad's house.

      We should have interviews with President Weidman coming up, and I'll talk to him about my release date then. I would imagine I'd probably try to bump it up a week. I was thinking Jan 1. When does the next semester start? Also, when is registration? By the way, is Chris going to grad school at BYU?
     I'm not in the same apartment as before, but still in Torrance. The apartment we live in is right by the Sunrider headquarters. (Sunrider is a business one of the Branch member owns).
     As far as unusual or new foods, we bought a canary melon from the grocery store. I think its like a cross between a cantaloupe and honey dew. We also went to a Japanese restaurant the other week with a member and had cow tongue, beef intestine, and fried chicken knuckles.
      This week was pretty good. We didn't do anything too crazy, but a lot of planning. Elder Casey is District Leader and had the two of us teach the weekly training in our District meeting.
     Usually it isn't too big of a deal to do, but Elder Casey has high expectations for the district, so it was a pretty good training. We talked about goals and accountability, both things I could use dire help with, but it wasn't so bad with Elder Casey's help.

click to enlarge
     We've done a lot of planning these last couple months together, and these next few months look like they'll be super busy as well.

     We will be going to do temple service tomorrow, cleaning up the grounds, etc. We normally go to the temple once every 3 months, so we should be going pretty soon.


               Elder Bowman


Riley #83 Torrance, CA - Minor Wreck, Reading the Book of Mormon by Christmas

                                                   September 1, 2014

Hi Everyone,
      Nathan and Jake: Green and say good luck to him from me.

   Yes, the spelling mistakes made it very obvious Mother wasn't the one typing. Also, thank Bowman and PopPop for the letter and candy. It gave me something to do when we're driving in the car. 
     So I'll explain...Luke Hsiao and his wife Sunny Chou served in the LA mission together. They went home at the same time and started dating after that.
      Transfers were uneventful for Elder Casey and me. We're both staying together in the same area, down in Torrance. 
    You don't need to worry about the minor wreck. Elder Casey didn't lose driving privileges, because it wasn't very serious. It only becomes an issue if the cost of the damage exceeds a certain amount.
      Do you know what city your friend, Charron, lives in? If he is in our mission we could maybe take him to a lesson. 

 Things have been good here. We found a couple new investigators this week.  We are going up to the temple visitor center on Wednesday. 
At the LA Temple last week
      Recently, our mission president gave us a schedule to read the Book of Mormon by Christmas. We are highlighting everything that references Christ. It has been really insightful in helping my understanding of the Godhead. 
     You still should watch Elder Bednar's talk. Really.
Hope all well's there. 
               Elder Bowman


Riley #82 - Torrance, CA - Elder Hsiao, Sister Chou came to Visit

                                                                August 25, 2014

Hi Everyone,

             Thanks for the letter. Nice that you guys are getting so much rain. It has still been pretty dry here unfortunately. Pretty much the same weather as always.

We had a great week. Elder Hsiao came and visited with his family. We were able to talk with him a little at church. Unfortunately, his wife wasn't feeling well, so we didn't get to see her again.

We're so used to calling him Elder Hsiao and her Sister Chou. It is a little strange to see them again not as missionaries. We have a picture of us together and also with Julie (I don't know if you remember her, she was baptized when I first entered the mission).

Elder Hsiao came to visit with his wife.

     Transfers are next week, and we'll see if there are any changes then. Everything's great here. 
     By the way, I was just listening to Elder Bednar's talk on technology and a movie the church is coming out with. Sounds great. You should watch it if you haven't.  It's long, but it's a really great talk.

               Elder Bowman


Riley #81 - Torrance, CA - Exchanges and Zone Conference

                                    August 18, 2014

Dear Family,

      Thanks for sending Michele's blog entry. It's been a long time since I've seen one.
     This week went pretty well. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but we were able to find a new investigator. We were on exchanges a lot, so Elder Casey was out of the area two days and myself one, but it was a great experience. I was able to spend time with Elder Cooper, whom I hadn't seen much before.
     USC is looking pretty great. There are a ton of Chinese students there, and everyone we talked to seemed pretty friendly. Elder Burr is doing great up there. He just hit his year mark.
      Apart from the exchanges, its been a fairly normal week. We had Zone Conference with a focus on the Book of Mormon. We started over yesterday with a schedule to finish it by the end of the year.

(Click to Enlarge)

     Elder Casey was in a small accident this week. No one was hurt or anything, but the person who hit him was actually a former Korean English class student. She was very friendly once she recognized him, and everything turned out well.

Sorry for the short letter this week I'll get some pictures for next week.

              Elder Bowman


Riley #80 Torrance, CA - The Baptism and the Courage of her Sister

                                           August 11, 2014

       Is the film your participating in related to school or is this something separate? By the way, in case you didn't know, we aren't allowed to use the internet. We can't just Google something or search for something on the internet.
      We do try to use the restaurants the best we can in advertising for English class, but if we contact there we usually have to buy something so we can't do that too often. We are still working on ideas and activities, but it always takes a little while to get things started off.

Rancho Palos Verdes
The baptism went great. She was baptized along with a 16 year old boy Elder Burr and I had started teaching last year. He was born here, so the service was in English. 

    We had a lot of members from the English wards come, so we met in the chapel. We had a missionary musical number from us and the missionaries serving in the English wards. It was pretty bad. We had a Chinese member come up to us afterward and tell us the baptism was great, but our singing was terrible.

      The lady who was baptized bore her testimony in Chinese, and our Branch Mission Leader translated it for the audience right after she was confirmed. (Usually convert confirmations only happen in Sacrament Meeting. The Branch President had us do it the same day, because she returns to China on Tuesday). It surprised us. We had asked her sister before if she felt that her sister would be willing to share her testimony, and she had told us probably not because her sister is very shy.

     Early that morning, in Gospel Principles she had been asked to say the prayer, and she said it perfectly, but her face was red after the prayer. When she bore her testimony in front of everyone in the chapel, she looked totally calm. She mentioned how she is normally shy, but she could feel that Heavenly Father wanted her to be brave and share her testimony. She said she wanted to share the gospel with her family when she returned to China and would continue to keep the commandments while she was there. It's was really amazing to watch and hear her. The spirit was strong.

    Elder Casey is District Leader which means we have a lot of exchanges this week.  We will swap companionships for a day. It can be kind of fun, but it also is annoying when you have a lot to do, like Elder Casey does. We'll probably only be together in our area about half the week, because of all the exchanges we have over the next couple weeks.
I'm out of time.
               Elder Bowman


Riley #79 - Torrance, CA - A Bizarre Twist, But An Answer to Our Prayers

                                      August 4, 2014
Hi Everyone,
      Sounds like a lot is happening over there. I think my official release date is Jan 7 right now, but I may be able to return a week or so early if necessary. I'll have to work that out. Good to hear Brian's around. How is he doing?
       As far as Chinese missionaries go, the there were six missionaries called to LA speaking Chinese before me, but it wasn't until the transfer before I arrived that they were doing Chinese full time. They were missionaries speaking Chinese and English, but serving the Chinese people, which is what I mean when I say the Chinese program...I include them. 
     Right now there are ten here: me, Elder Casey (Layton), Elder Yang (Taiwan), Elder Burr (Cedar Hills), Elder Lee (Chicago), Elder Chun (Hong Kong), Elder Zhang (Beijing), Elder Bria (Tennessee), Elder Yang (Taiwan), and Elder Cooper (Layton).

With Elder Casey
        It's still been a struggle for Elder Casey and me to find people to teach, but we've been thinking and praying on it nonstop. We have found a few people that are interested, and it feels like anyone we find is a miracle. It's kind of funny how it turns out sometimes. 
      Elder Casey helped someone get baptized a couple months ago. She lives in Torrance, but travels a lot between the US and China, and left to China for a few months soon after her baptism. 
    She just got back last week when we were struggling to find anything to do. We stopped by to visit, and it turns out she has a twin sister we didn't know about, who is visiting from China who wants to be baptized and is leaving in a week and a half! 
     It seems like one of those unexpected and bizarre twists you sometime see in TV shows that don't really make sense. A recent convert who you haven't heard from in months suddenly shows up with a twin sister you didn't know about, who must be baptized in the next week before she returns to China. Not exactly the answer we were expecting to our prayers, but we'll go with it. Her interview is tonight, and she'll be baptized and confirmed this next Sunday. It's really great how things happen.
     We have actually got a little bit of rain yesterday again. It's so unusual here. Hopefully it'll keep up. 
   Love you,
           Elder Bowman


Riley #78 Torrance, CA - I'm Rusty in Speaking Chinese, Her 1st Time Seeing Rain

                                                    July 28, 2014

      Unfortunately, I misplaced my camera in the move, so I haven't been able to take any pictures this week and the ones I took last week are still on it. 

The Chinese program has grown a lot. Elder Casey and I have been reminiscing a lot. We were together my second transfer and his first, and this is our second time being together since then. 
    Then there were 5 Chinese missionaries with one going home and two areas that covered the entire mission. Now there are 10 Chinese missionaries in four separate areas. There have been 11 baptisms in the Chinese program and at least four this transfer.  It's great to see so much growth so quickly.
     The missionaries at the colleges are having a lot of success. There was a baptism at the UCLA group yesterday, and there will be two in USC next week, which meant Elder Casey had to do a lot of baptismal interviews this week. 
     Finding people to teach around the Branch area is a little slower, like usual, but even still the Branch should have a baptism next month. We are working on finding people in our area. It is a little more difficult during the summer, but we're starting to figure out at least what we can try to do. My Chinese is really rusty; hopefully, it will come back to me as we teach more.
     We managed to find one this week when we were visiting a potential. We started to share a message on his Ipad on the doorstep, when something happened that has never happened to me on my mission. For the first time in almost two years, we heard thunder. Then, it started to sprinkle. He invited us in, and we sat down and talked to him for the twenty minutes. It down poured, with the occasional sound of thunder and flash of lightening. 
     His two year old daughter was somewhat frightened. Not only had she not heard thunder before, but it was her first time to see rain. Her mom took her out to introduce her to it. They said we could come back next week, and we left. Of course, being LA, the brief half hour of rain was all we got and it was sunny the rest of the day.
Elder Hsiao is married now.
      The members told us Elder Hsiao is married now, and two other previous Chinese missionaries, Elder Hsieh and Elder Wald, are engaged. That's half of the ones that are home, and I don't know about the other three.
             Elder Bowman


Riley #77 - Huntington Park, CA - Transferring Back to Palos Verdes Branch & Mandarin

                                               July 21, 2014

Hey Everyone,
   Argentina! That's awesome news for Jake!  That'll help with the families we were working on. About my release date, I should be back in either the end of December or early January, so we could maybe work something out if you come to California.
     Also, I have heard of an instance where a RM was able to visit his brother in the MTC, but I don't know if that is commonly allowed so that is something you'll need to figure out.
       I also have some small news. I'm going back to Chinese! Transfers are tomorrow!!! Oddly enough, I am going back to the Branch where I spent more than a year. I thought I might go to USC or UCLA ,since I've never covered those areas. It has been fun being in English, but I am happy I am going back. 
Ranchos Palos Verde - Going Back
     I feel like I've learned a lot from being here. It was really a great experience. I owe the members a lot here for the help they've shown me, and I've met some spectacular people. I can't believe I won't see them.
     It'll be interesting to see how things have changed in my previous area the few months I've been away. I am also going to be with Elder Casey again. We're both looking forward to it. He's a great guy and companion.

      I mailed off my package today. It is mostly clothes and paper, so please let it be until I return. I purchased a few new pants last week as well, because I needed to replace a couple so thank you. Also, the images for the insurance information didn't show, but the rest was good. I think the only things I lacked was the insured's ID and the employer's address.
I need some time for moving, so this is short.
              Elder Bowman


Riley #76 - Huntington Park, CA - Couple Inspired to Relocate to CA

                                  July 14, 2014


    Sorry, didn't take pictures of us this week, but I will try for next week to take a lot.
 Before I forget, I am planning on sending a package home this week or next. I have stuff I'm not using, but keep moving with. Also, I visited a dentist today, and he said he would email you the information. 
     I kind of thought everything for Sara had already been taken care of; hope everything goes well.
    This week is going great. It actually looked like it might rain today. I don't remember the last time it rained, but it was a long time ago. We have only felt a few drops so far, but that is more than we've had for a few months. It's been pretty hot here too, not 100, but fairly humid. We tried to create a makeshift swampcooler in our apartment, but it only seemed to get more humid and just as hot. 
Church Building
        The ward is doing pretty well. We had a few great talks yesterday in Sacrament Meeting, including two from a couple who just moved here from Lehi. They talked about how they have felt inspired and guided every time they move, and it really showed their dedication. Regardless of work or convenience, they went where they felt they should. They're a nice older couple. The husband's mom is actually staying in River Meadows in Alpine.
     Just looking online, I saw an article about the use of technology on missions you should read. It sounds exciting, but also like nothing will happen till after I leave, so Jake might get to see it.
 I think his call should come this week. Last week did sound a little early from when he put his papers in, so I expect to hear about it next week. Can't wait to hear where he's going.

Well, time's up. 
              Elder Bowman


Riley #75 - Huntington Park, CA - 4th of July, Superstition, Saving us some Goat

                                July 7, 2014

Dear Family,

   Thank you for the letters. We are running low on time today, so I am not sure how much I'll be able write. Sounds like an exciting week with Mollie's homecoming and waiting on Jake's letter. 

     Independence Day was pretty normal for us. We turned in at 6 and started our weekly planning. There were a ton of fireworks. It seemed like every block had their own show set up, and there was smoke in the streets. 
Our neighbors had a ton of fireworks. It kept on going a few hours with loud music playing. The fireworks were pretty good. Much to my surprise, we actually managed to sleep through the night. We had music on and the fan going, so it wasn't too noisy.
It was a little difficult to meet with people because of the Fourth of July. A lot of them had family over or were busy with something. 
    One of our investigators recently found out he has cancer. He isn't too concerned about it, but his family apparently have some sort of superstition he participated in to make him better. It required slaughtering three goats and roasting them. Sounded pretty good. He said he'd save us some goat.
We just took the pictures right now, so you're pretty lucky you got them.
              Elder Bowman


Riley #74 - Huntington Park, CA - World Cup and Riots

                                            June 30, 2014

Dear Family,

     Thank you for pictures and emails. I worked really hard to take pictures this week, but forgot to after Monday. I did take some on Monday, but none with any of us in them. 

    We went to go hike the Hollywood sign again last Monday. What we didn't know was that the trail leading up there was actually closed. We found out once we got there. 
      I did take some while we were in the car - photos of places that looked somewhat important, but I don't know if they really are. We also drove past the Chinese Theater which looked cool, but I think it is only an actual theater. We didn't have time to look around as finding a parking place was super difficult. in the end, we abandoned our plans and headed back, but stopped by Daiso on the way, which made the whole trip worthwhile.

Pirate Guy
   It has been pretty crazy out here with the soccer world cup. There are a lot of Mexicans in this area so when Mexico was playing on Sunday, it was a little chaotic. They shut down a few roads in the area in anticipation of riots. There were helicopters overhead and fireworks going off all the time the night before.

The police came and arrested some of the fans.
 There were even people firing their guns into the air to celebrate at another missionaries apartment complex.

    I remember last year seeing the sign on LA buses saying, "What goes up must come down. Don't fire your guns on the July 4!!!"

Everything turned out all right, but I am not looking forward to the 4th of July. All missionaries will be in by 6 of course, but if it is anything like Saturday night was, fireworks will be going off all night. Gotta get earplugs!

          Elder Bowman


Riley #73 - Huntington Park, CA - Teaching that Stabbing people is wrong.

                    June 23, 2014

Hi Everyone!
     Thanks for the letter. It's so strange that Mollie is home, and also that she's gone again to Michele's. Good to hear she is still herself and adjusting well.
I am still not sure when my return date is. We just had interviews with President Weidman this week, and I forgot to ask. I am also going to have to work on more pictures for you.
As we have a lot of Hispanics here, the world cup has been all over. Pretty much every TV you see has it on. As you know, I have never really followed sports, so it took me by surprise how big it is. 

We have started to find people to teach again, so we are keeping fairly busy. The people we teach have a lot to work out, and sometimes it is all we can do to convince them that stabbing people is wrong, let alone commit them to baptism. 
Still, step by step, there is improvement being made and they are improving their lives. Not too much beside that going on. Things are looking positive though.
            Elder Bowman