Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011: New Hearing Aid: Elder Bowles

By Karla Bowles

Garrett's old hearing aid stopped working when he got to Long Beach.  We noticed on Mother's Day when we skyped that he wasn't wearing the aid.  We asked him about it and he said it didn't work and then when he had his bike accident it fell off.  He didn't notice it was missing until they got back to their apartment.  They quickly returned to the accident site and their it was on the side of the road pretty banged up.  In letters I asked him if he would like a new aid (he is used to hearing on both sides since he got his implant so I could imagine it was difficult for him with just hearing on one side) and he said yes, that it would help himwith his miccionary work).   Not knowing any audiologists in Southern California, I feel it was a miracle that we were able to help Garrett.  I got on the internet and looked up the John Tracy Clinic--they work with small children who are learning to talk.  I called, but their audiologist's phone was busy.  The web page just switched to "Fidelity Hearing Center" in  Cerritos.  That is Garrett's area right now!  The site showed Dr. DeKriek, AU.D and his office.  I called and they were VERY nice.  I explained the situation and they could see him in the office in 2 days.  In the meantime I called our audiologist Cache Pitt up at Utah State.  Everything he told me to look for in a good audiologist, this guy had.  Cache even suggested a hearing aid.  When I called back to Dr. DKriek, he had already ordered a couple of hearing aids that might work for Garrettt (because he has a profound loss) and one of those was the same aid Cache had recommended.  Wow, to me this was a huge blessing.  I felt so guided the entire time--all the details worked out perfectly.  Garrett's msision president's wife is amazing and I called her with the situation, she texted Garrett with the appointment information and the rest is history.  He now has a brand new hearing aid which will help him as much as possible (he has lost some more hearing, so it is the best we can do until he gets another implant on that side).  I didn't even have to speak with Garrett.  Heavenly Father sure watches over his missionaries.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia!

Wow...I cannot believe that it's only been six days (more like 5.5 since the first one didn't count) since I got here to the MTC. In the beginning I was having a really hard time falling asleep at 10:30 (guess that's what I get for being a night owl :)) but now when I lay down it seems like I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow. It's amazing how many people I've seen here that I know. After you dropped me off at the curb, I was passed on to some sisters and it was a girl from my major going to Czec Republic! I turned the corner and I heard someone yell "Kristin...I mean, Herman Bowles!" and it was Craig! Super cool. There are lots of people from the stake here. The best part of the first day was getting my nametag. It is my favorite favorite favorite thing. I love snapping it on in the morning because it says who I am and reminds me of my purpose for the next 18 months.

So did I get so lucky?! I'm in a trio with Hermana Bell and Hermana Brown. Hermana Brown and I kind of recognized eachother right off because we figured out that we both lived in Lamprecht at BYU-I our first semester, right on top of eachother. We would have been in different wards because she was in 411 (?) and I was in 311 (?) but wouldn've run into eachother on the stairs. She's from Gilbert, Arizona and after her associates at BYU-I transferred to BYU to major in public health. She's really sweet and beautiful and is always laughing and smiling. Really positive and helpful. Hermana Bell is from Ogden and her family is the one that started Bell photography (you know, the school photographers). She goes to Utah State and is majoring in Dietetics. She's really sporty and knows a lot of Spanish which helps us a lot. All three of us get along really well and are excited because we'll transfer to the Lima MTC together in three weeks. Hermana Bell is going to the Trujillo Peru mission and Hermana Brown is going to the Guayaquil South Ecuador mission. Our whole district thinks it's funny that our last names all start with B so we are always referred to as "the Hermanas" or the "BBB." I love being part of Bell, Brown, and Bowles! It's neat because Hermana Bell and her brother came into the MTC on the same day and Herman Brown has a brother coming in three weeks. We're all out with siblings!

The district is 8 elders and 3 sisters (we're 3/6 sisters in our zone). 4 of the other elders are going to Oaxaca Mexico, one to New Jersey, and two to Washington state ( i know that doesn't add up to 8 but I can't remember who I forgot).

The hardest part about the MTC is that our district is part of the new pilot program of curriculum. In August they're introducing a new curriculum that helps missionaries teach people and not lessons. Not every newbie district has this program because all of the other missionaries we've talked to haven't had to do all that we have and a lot of our booklets say "draft" on the front. Basically here's the first four days in a nutshell:

Day 1, Wednesday: orientation overload. 550 in our entrance group--largest MTC presidency has seen.

Day 2, Thursday:first classes, learned to pray in Spanish

Day 3, Friday: had to talk with progressive investigator, Abraham, in Spanish (introduce, get to know him for five minutes)

Day 4, Saturday: teach Abraham in Spanish for 30 minutes!

Day 5, Sunday:rest...thank heavens.

Day 6, Mondayteach Abraham in Spanish for 30 minutes!

Just a reminder--it's been five years since I had Spanish! We have two teachers--one in the classroom and the other posing as our investigator, Abraham. When he told us we had to teach him (it took us a minute to understand what was going on because we don't know spanish), we all just kind of looked at Brother Mead like, "seriously?" We just got here! All he said was, "I know, isn't it great?" Oh yeah, and our teacher, Brother Mead only talks to us in Spanish, too. Like one of the Elders said, we all feel like we're stuck in this non-language black hole. I can barely think in English. The new program really focuses on teaching by the Spirit. I've never been so focused on being in tune with that in my life. We have to trust with all the faith we have that "our mouths will be filled" if we prepare because there is literally no other way that teaching Abraham will happen. We're learning how to not give rote presentations, but really listen to what the investigator needs. Tomorrow we hope to invite him to be baptized because yesterday he told us he'd stop smoking.

Funny Spanish mess-ups: so not knowing spanish means that there's bound to be a lot of mess ups. Our first lesson with Abraham Hermana Bell was talking about the First Vision and we didn't know the word for forest. I looked at Abraham, waved my hand like a tree and said, "como se dice mas arboles?" He kind of laughed and answered with a word that I still don't remember! Haha we cracked him! He normally is pure emotion-less which is all the more intimidating. Yesterday Herman Bell was talking about something with sin (pecado) but accidentally used the word for fish (pescado). letter makes a difference. Right after that I was reading Verse 18 in the Word of Wisdom where it talks about marrow in the bones (huesos).. had been such a long day and we are all struggling with teaching in Spanish when we don't even know any and so I read it "medula en los huevos!" OH my gosh---so embarrassing. He started laughing and we didn't even clue in why until later in companionship study when we reread the section and I'd realized what I said.

Learning to pray in spanish has been the most humbling experience ever. Brother Mead taught us and then called on one of the Elders to give the closing prayer when we'd only learned the phrases five minutes ago...The minute he opened his mouth I started tearing up. (I know...I was one of THOSE sister missionaries). Anyway it was so tender praying together in this language we don't understand just pleading for the gift of tongues in Spanish. My companions and I love praying in Spanish together and have finally gotten to the point where we basically understand eachother. It brings a whole new meaning to pray and it shall be given in the hour you need it.

Love always,

Hermana Bowles

June 28, 2011: Hermana Bowles --Letter excerpts

This is from a letter we received from Kristin June 30, 2011

Mom and Dad:

Hermanas BBB sent our emails earlier this morning and I'm fo glad because now I can write all the letters I want while I wait in the laundry room.  that's good because apparently you can only write letters on P-day.  Sending emails is intense because it's like waiting for a bomb to go off.  A red timer is in the top right corner and when it runs out of thirty minutes, the computer automatically logs out of your account.  the three of us were typing furiously and let out a huge sigh as we pressed "send" during the last fifteen seconds!  Quite the stressful experience.

Garrett was right--the laundry room is huge.  I've never seen so many washers and dryers in my life.  It seems like they run 24/7.  You walk and have to hunt 2 washers for a white and color load.  Of course, they're not empty and so you just find the machines with the lowest time left to go and camp out with your stuff in front of them.  This is going to take a while.  P-day is nice because you can just wear shorts and a
 t-shirt.  Man, is the laundry room packed.  Learned today that a little hairspray and a tide pen can get out ANY stain ha-ha, even blue ink that exploded on white shirts in an Elder's load of laundry.

Hermanas BBB call the MTC "the compound."  We go on walks a lot if we finish dinner early and we feel like those prisoners on movies that pace the outside fence.  I'm just waiting to see someone I know when we cross the street to the fields.

The best thing about the cafeteria are the wraps!  The first couple of days were hard because a lot of the MTC was closed off to the missionaries for the Mission President's Seminar.  Now the cafeteria is all the way opened up again and there are the normal food selections.  I always feel full...they really get you on a schedule.

Love always,
Hermana Bowles 

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,

Wow Kristin is in the MTC, I can't believe it.   Now she knows the MTC.   She is very lucky that she met an Apostle   When I was at the MTC no Apostles came ,just people from the sevety.   The MTC was one of the greatest experiences a person can have.   It was really cool I gave the blessing to someone at 6:30 am in the morning.   It was interesting because the spirit works 24 hours non- stop helping and blessing people.   Last Saturday I received a call from the Zone Leaders and that was if I would be leaving the Area or staying.   Guess what,  my companion Elder Serrano is leaving and I am staying.   Which means I am in charge of the Area.   I did want to leave the area. I did not want to be in charge of an area.   Right now I am nervous and scared at the same time.   I am just not used to things like this.   I am not used to like now you are in charge do it.   All I can do is put my trust in Heavenly Father, and do the best I can.   All I can do is learn from the Experience.  I know I can do it it just I am so nervous.   Before my mission I was more like a follower you know like I am right behind you, now I have to be that leader.   Well nothing new happened this week, I am just staying in this area for 6 more weeks.

Yea I should have a hearing aid on my right ear to help me hear better on my other side.   I know I need a hearing aid, I just need a brand new one.   It would defenitly help me do better in missionary work.   The old Hearing aid that I had was phonak.   I think that's how you spell it. Phonak.   I liked those hearing aids because my old one lasted for 16 years and was a very good one.   If you could get one that would be great.   Thank you. Have a wonderful day.   I willl write to Kristin and Craig.
  Love Elder Bowles.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hermana Bowles MTC Drop-off

We dropped Kristin off at the MTC June 22, 2011.  We were suppose to be there at 12:30 but didn't quite finish packing so got there at about 1:15.  Her bags weighed 51 lbs each but she can adjust that when it's time to fly out.  She will just have to stuff 2 lbs worth of junk into her carryon.  After driving by Grandma's house for one last hug, we got to the MTC  Driving through the gate was like old hat to us because we had just done it a few months earlier.  This time we drove all the way down to the bottom drop-off curb by the flags.  Same drill--"Welcome to the MTC."  We were not quite as frantic this time and spent a little more time saying good-bye.  But Kristin was ready to go.  So...with a couple of hugs and tears off she went, between her 2 host Elders, walking down the sidewalk and out of sight.

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad
Happy Fathers Day Dad.   Yesterday was hard in missionary work.   It's Fathers Day and nobody wants to talk to anybody exept eat dinner with their family and have fun.   Last week was so crazy and I am going to tell you all about it.   I was on an exhange split with Elder Starta and I got to go to his area.   First we go to the church and we are teaching these two priests about Preach My Gospel, after that we hear this loud shatter.   We are like what is that?   We see glass on the floor and we see a boy.   He got hit by the glass and had 2 pieces of glass sticking out.   One on his shoulder and one below the shoulder.   They took him to the hospital to take it out and to see if there is any crushed glass in his skin.   Then me and Elder Starta went to go see this really less active member.   We go up and he tells us sorry guys now is not a good time, then he tells us he dosen't want anything to do with the missionaries or with the church.   Elder Starta says would you like your name removed from the church, and he said yes, yes.    It was so crazy.   Me and Elder Starta were sitting in the car and it was like whoa that was crazy.   Then it was a long pause, there is something to write in our journal, and we were like yea.   It was a crazy night.

The next day Elder Starta wakes me up at 6:15 in the morning and tells me we have to give a blessing.   We go over there and the person who needed the blessing was having surgery that morning.  Elder Starta was explaining  that it can be only done with faith.   The guy says well since you know all about it then I'll have you Elder Bowles give me the Blessing.   This had caught me off guard and it's 6:30 in the Morning!!!   This guy was huge, 7 Foot high and he was a big buff guy.   I prayed for the Holy ghost to help me give this blessing, because I needed it.   I took a big breath had faith and words just came out of my mouth.   It was a neat spiritual thing to start the day. it was really cool, And that was my first blessing I have ever done.

We continued through the day and this old lady sees us and says you two are very handsome, good job.   And right before I return back to be with Elder Serrano we talked to this lady and had a bible bash.   She  says all we need to do is believe and we will be saved.   Then we said without faith works is dead.   And she says okay then how come you believe in Joseph smith and he was the only one that saw the plates.   We said there was more then one person who saw them.   She was trying to bash us but we said the truth every time.   She ignored us.   Right before she left she said we were following a false prophet and feels bad for us and told us that we need to read our bible better.   It was the most crazy exchange ever.

Yes I did get my shots, now I don't have to worry about that anymore.   Now you are probaly wondering what I ate. About 2 days ago they served us seafood.   I looked at the plate and was like this is gross but I have to eat it.   On the plate it had rice, fish,tomato with this pasta, and watermelon.   One other thing I forgot to tell you that I ate.   I ate what's called Muso.   They are like clams, you eat the food that is in the shell.   It was really gross, I drank some juice down with it.   Choclate cake was for dessert that was really good.   The sisters know I don't like these foods.   It has been a Battle with them like if strawberries were served, they would go, "Elder Bowles Loves strawberries."   One of the sisters told the ward missionary leader that I don't like strawberry cake, he made brownies.   A lot of people are shocked that I am still alive.   All you have to do is get some food into your stomach and you live, genius isn't it.   Some Elders says you are not obeying the Word of Wisdom, because you are not eating fruits and vegetables, and they all say you are going to get diabetes.( I eat corn) I don't believe them I just ingnore what they say.   I am heathy, I was a runner in cross country.   SO, I am heathy.

  That was my week.   Have fun this week Love Elder Bowles

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom, Dad, and Kristin,

I heard Kristin did a wonderful job on her talk.   Was it a full house?   Kristin are you there?   You go into the MTC in one week and as soon as you step into the MTC you will face the reality of Missionary work!    I loved the MTC and you will love it to.   You are there for 9 weeks!!!   All you have to do is work hard and be the best missionary that you can be.   You are making me hungry since you mentioned all that food. You know that I love brownies and cookies (the are healthy ) .

Yea you get so tired on the first day.   By the third day you are brain fried from all of this religion.   Craig will get used to it in about a week. The next couple months there are like 20 something missionaries that are almost done and ready to go home, so there are a lot coming into the mission.   I will have 2 freinds coming and I can't wait to see them.    Here is a question --what accent do you think I have?   For the past month the members in the ward or the people we meet have been asking me,  "Are you Brittish?"    I said I am from Utah,  a Mormon boy.  Everyone says I sound like I'm brittish.   It's strange.

Elder Serrano was born in the church.  His mom has been a member all her life and his dad was a convert to the church and served a mission somewhere in south America.   He has one sister.   He has the same number in the family as we do.   Our ward is the Cerritos 1st ward.   They are helping but it is slow, nobody who is not a member of our church wants to talk to us, they say I go to church or I am a Caathlic, or I am fine on where I am at.   Yes I had a spiritual experience this week.   We were teaching Sister Harding, she is an investigator.   Her husband is less active and she is not a member of the church.   T hey have been coming to church every week, but the problem with her is that she has a hard time believing in Joseph Smith and does not like it when people say " I know this is the true church" she hates that.   I was telling her my testimony about the Book of Mormon and having faith.   As I was speaking to her words just come out of my mouth that I would not normally say.   When we were done with the lesson and left, I pondered and said whoa what did I say in there?   All I know is that she felt the spirit and understood what I was saying to her.   It was cool.   I just had to listen to the Holy Ghost and I knew what to say to her.   It was really cool,  the spirit was so strong.
I love you and thanks.
 Elder Bowles Bye Sister Bowles

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6.2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,
  Everything is going well.   Hope Craig is ready for this. There is no turning back now (Ha Ha Ha)   The first day I entered the MTC was weird.   It  is good that the parents drop them off at the front.  Iit may seem a shock but it helps the missionaries look at reality and go forward in missionary work.   I loved the MTC.

I pray for Camie and express my love to her and hope that she will get better soon.   I know Nathan Parker,  he was in my English class omy senior year.    This is something that I can look forward to.    I will see them in a couple of months.   That is so cool two of my friends are coming to the Long Beach Spanish speaking Mission. No I have not recieved any Sister Fawsett letters.   I don't get letters from Dear   I only got those when I was in the MTC.

I am in the Cerritos 1st Ward and got some very sad news.   Last week on Memorial Day the ward was having a breakfast.   One of the members came and ate breakfest and met with everyone.   It was an old couple.   After that they went home and watched TV.   The wife took a shower.   When she got out of the shower and went to the room where they were watching TV she found out that her husband had passed away (Dead) while she was in the Shower.   It was a shock to the whole ward and to us.   Everyone saw him at the breakfest and he passed away on that same day.   That is the one sad news I have.

We only have 1 or 2 investigators, one is a gang member and recently got out of jail.   He wants to change but doesn't think he can do it.   He asked us to come back in a week.   So I have my faith that he will become more interested.   Mostly through the whole week we went by potentials and formers.   Me and Elder Serrano knocked at least 100 or more doors last week and only got 2 people who are interested.   We are not teaching very many people.   This week I know we can teach a lot of people with faith and determination.   The hardest part of missionary work is finding people to teach!

No I have not got my shots.  I was going to get my shots with Elder Roberts.  We made plans to go get my shots, he called the place and said they said it's really crowded.   I said who cares let's get my shots, I need them.   Elder Roberts said there were too many people.   We will waste out time.   So we never went.   Then the week after that we had to take the car to the shop and ddin't get it back till a month and a half.   So I coudn't get my shots.   Now I got a new companion and told him I need to get my shots as soon as possible because I should have got it 2 months ago.   I called sister Burbert and she gave me the address where the place I can get it but I need to call them first.   I called the place like 5 times left a message they havent called me back.   So I called Sister Burbert and told her they have not called me back.   She said she was going to talk to them.   I am going to call her tomorrow and ask her if I just go the place to get my shots with out calling or what.   She knows I need to get them. I am working on it. I  have been trying.

I love you.   Thank you for supporting me.   Tell Elder Sheanshang good luck and I will see him in 2 months.