Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27, 2011: Letter to Grandma Dew--Hermana Bowles

Hi Grandma:

Oh I bet Sierra's song was so good!! Which songs did she sing? That will be so fun to have little Blake for a couple days. He's probably a little man by now. Yeah, monotonous doesn't even begin to describe the diet here, I'm turning into a little rice ball. The food is really predictable and all the same color....tannish brownish cream. (that's the color of the sky, too, because it's so smoggy we never see the blue) I'm craving fresh fruit and a garden salad. We had fish today at lunch, though, which was really really good. Temple trip was this morning and so wonderful! My Spanish isn't great, but I like not getting headphones and trying to figure it out in Spanish. Sounds like you're enjoying summer---haha I keep forgetting that the cold here is winter. Doesn't really seem like winter without snow :)
Love always, Hermana Bowles

July 27, 2011: Week 5: Fear Not Little Children: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia:

Happy Anniversary!!! What a fun trip to Jackson Hole! FYI you can still use dear elder here, takes 8 days. Dad would fit in great here because it's like an hermana rule that I brush my teeth about five times a day1. after waking up 2. after breakfast 3. after lunch 4. after dinner 5. before dinner. I have to take my toothbrush to class. yuck. This scripture in D&C 50: 40-41 about sums up my week: "Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me," This last week so many things hapened that it's hard to keep everything straight. It was the biggest seven days of culture shock in my life.

So to straighten things out: it's six sisters in a room (aka 3 companionships). In my room it's Hermanas BBB and our companions. Our district on the other hand is all North American. We all see eachother all the time. Thank heavens Hermanas B&B are still here because I don't know what I would do without them! Yes, part of Lima is in my mission, but I'm not sure how much since it's also split with Lima central and east..

All of the Elders buzz cuts are growing in, but not for long because every three weeks they trim them back down to a number 2...all the way around! They all have fuzzy heads and it's pretty funny how much some of them hate it.

Favorite spanish of the week has to be Hermana Brown saying "aorta" everytime she means to say "ahora." Other funny spanish moment is realizing how bad my spanish actually is. I feel like the longer I'm here, the worse my spanish gets. The other day I was saying the prayer to start planning with Hermana Pereyra. I said "in the name of jesus christ amen" unfolded my arms and looked at her, but she still had her head bowed. I tried to say it again, but I guess it still didn't get through so I got closer, pretended to fold my arms again, and said "amen." She got it. But honestly, sometimes I'll walk through something in spanish with her okaying different plans, and after a few minutes she says the exact same thing I just said to her like no one has talked about it before! I know that sometimes she says yes just because she wants to simplify.

Okay so Lima Temple! Every Wednesday we're divided into temple groups of 15-20. We meet at the front gate until security lets us out to wait for the "Banco" bus on the curb. It costs 1 sol round trip. The Lima temple is really small and only fits about 25 people in each room per session. The temple worker ladies in Lima are SO cute and small. When they measure you for a dress they practically have to stick their arms straight up in the air to make the dress reach your shoulders to check the length. All of us feel like giants. I braved it out and have officially done two sessions without headphones and just straight spanish. I was actually surprised how although I couldn't understand everything, I didn't get lost either.

I felt extra safe in the temple because there were no crazy drivers. Once we get off the dirty dirty bus we have to cross the streets amid little raspy honks and crazy drivers. I don't know how there's not a wreck every two seconds because everyone literally weaves in and out of the most congested scariest driving everywhere. I just close my eyes so I don't get sick.

Saturdays are awesome because we get to go out proselyting! I'm not going to lie...this was really really hard for me. The group I was with was sent to Santa Clara, a really poor area of Lima. When I got my call to Lima, I knew that it was a 3rd world country but had absolutely no idea what that meant really. CCM gave us a list of less'actives to go find with a member from the local ward and a door-knocking we went. It was so hard. Hermana Pereyra kept saying "hermana bowles, why aren't you talking?" Um...geez..I don't know...maybe it's the fact that I can't speak spanish and these people need clean clothes and food more than the gospel?!?!?! I've really learned this week that the gospel IS for everyone, if only to know that God loves them and they have more potential than where they're at. The Savior loves everyone, nothing else matters. I have to show hope. 

Love Always, Hermana Bowles

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Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy 24th of July. Happy Pioneer Day. No fireworks were allowed in California. waaaa. California has some lame laws. Do you want to hear some? NO fire works allowed except on July 4th. If you ride a bike on the sidewalk and are going faster than 15 miles per hour you can get a ticket. You basically have to ride on the roads. Some people don't like missionaries and they purposely hit the missionaries on the bicycles. I have heard stories. Good thing I am in a car. If you are drunk and you are riding a scooter or a bike, or skateboard or leaning on the car you can get a DUI. California has strict laws-- it's crazy. Good thing we are Mormon Missionaries that follow the rules.

This crazy guy comes up to us and says you are mormons right? We are like yea. He said you have multiple wives right. We said no and we are only allowed to have one. You can only handle one. Then he said hey you know what I believe? What do you believe? He said I believe in everything. Mom and Dad, when people say they believe in everything this includes Aliens. He said I believe in everything. He was weird and drunk at the same time. We see him 3 times a week and he does believe in Aliens. We even asked him. Weird.

In Sacrament Meeting they talked about the pioneers and how they came across the plains. One of the speakers talked about the his ancestry but it was hard to understand. He would talk fast then slow and sometimes mumble. I did not get half of his talk. Maybe someone understood it. Phil our investigator came to church for the second time in a row. He really likes it. He likes the music, classes, and everything. Phil our investigator we have to take slowly. He has this some kind of disease that without medication he goes crazy. With medication he is a normal person. He is a big smoker. He does not smoke when we come over. But our ward mission leader says sometimes the therapist would recommend smoking. Smoking helps calm his nerves down or just helps him feel relaxed. So he have to ask if it's okay to stop smoking and ask does stopping the smoking hurt the medication he is taking. It's really confusing. But phil is progressing. The lesson that we teach him he says makes sense and he really likes it.

Good luck with the cub scouts, you are going to have so much fun. Remember I was a cub scout. This is another opportunity to share the gospel. You might have kids who are non members in cub scouts. I have heard stories of kids who joined cub scouts that were not members of the church. They liked cub scouts and soon joined our church and were members for the rest of their life. So another opportunity to share the gospel. Have fun this week.

Love you MOM, DAD, and KRISTIN

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011: Hola from week 1 in Lima--Hermana Bowles

Hola familia!
Okay, first of all, I haven{t quite figured out this spanish keyboard and the complications are even bigger because I only have thirty minutes and don{t want to waste it on figuring out how to enter to the next line or find the apostrophe button. Excuse my errors.

Wow this week has been a doozy. There are about 98-100 missionaries here, 16 of which are sisters and 4 of which are North American sisters. All the Hermanas only take up 3 rooms here because there are so few of us. P-Day is Wednesday and we get to go to the temple this afternoon!!!! It's neat because 17-ish latinos here are going to the temple for the first time and their companions get to be their escorts! Isn't that awesome? Anyway, we catch the bus in front of the CCM and tell them 'take me to the Mormon temple.' Roundtrip is 1 sol. Everyone pretty much follows the same schedule here of breakfast 7-8, personal study 8-9, companion study 9-10, class 10-12, lunch 1215- 115, class115-5, PE 5-6, next activity prep 6-630, dinner 630-715, class 715-900, planning 9-930. Every day. Thursday, Hermana Whetten (CCM President's wife) had orientation with us North american newbies. She split the twenty four of us in half and said 'okay, the people on the right are going to be constipated and the people on the left will have diarrhea.' Awesome, just what I wanted to hear. The oldest group (those from the previous 3 weeks) said she was pretty much dead on....we'll have to see how my adjustnment goes this next week.

I am already getting tired of rice. It's at every meal except breakfast! The other night at dinner I asked for no rice and took my meat, potato and dessert and sat down. Hermana Paez asked me why I didn't get rice and I said because i don't like it. 'Why did you get dessert then?' I stared at the bowl and didn't understand. She then explained that it was arroz con leche! AAAHHH! There is no escape from the rice. It's even in the salt shakers to help with no clumpies in the humnidity. The other thing is that we have to finish all of our food or the dishwashers make you go back and finish. You either take just what you need or learn how to strategically hid it under other dishes if you don't like it.� Juice is a whole ordeal, too. It's real juice, but really different. We always have to ask each other what it is before we get some because there are no labels.

My companion's name is Hermana Pereyra age 34 and she's from Lima. She was baptized when she was nine, but just returned to activity about 4 years ago. She told me that she'd go to a park every day with her nieces and nephews to play and exercise and always saw the missionaries smiling there. She told me something about them giving her kids a primary children's songbook because she wanted to sing to them. Her nieces ran after them to return it and that's how they started talking to her and found out that she was less active. They ended up baptizing her, her parents, cool! Now she's with me! I love the Latinos here. They seriously come pre.taught. I think they send us North americanos here so we can learn to teach like they do. Today at breakfast Hermana Brown was asking her companion if she wanted a north american companion. She said What? Hermana Brown said, well it's harder because I don't speak spanish. Hermana Palma said, but we're all people. it doesn't matter that you can't speak spanish. Wow. I need a lesson in her faith. Spanish is going has to because we're immersed 24/7. noone speaks english--not even the teachers. love always, Hermana Bowles

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011: Elder Bowles

Well Grandma,

I miss the last HARRY POTTER MOVIE, DO NOT TELL ME! I am so mad I have to miss it on my mission. Well I will see it when I get back. This is the first time when I am not driving. My companion Elder Sturdevant is the senior companion and he drives. But the person who is not driving gets to handle the cell phone. That's me, I get to handle the cell phone, call people or call to confirm dinner appointments, or other things. It's really cool. The genealogy thing that you are doing is really cool. You get to find ancestors of people before you were born that is really cool. You will find out how to work it. Keep doing it. Kristin is in the MTC in Peru and she said the food is very very different. She got to Peru at 3:30 in the morning. I hope she is having a wonderful time at the MTC there. For your information grandma I eat more than my companion. Do you want to know How much I weigh? I weigh 146 pounds I have gained 20 pounds on my mission now I am going to watch my weight. I am out of shape, I am never like this before I was in shape but now I am not. Everything is going good our investigator came to church this sunday and he really liked it. I will tell you more next week.

Love Elder Bowles.

July 18, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,
SI si si, Our investigator came to church yesterday. He said he liked it, liked the music , and even participated in class. We are going to be teaching him this Wednesday. We have taught him for 3 weeks and he is in Jacob right now. He is almost in Mosiah.

A lot of my cross country friends are coming home from their missions. It's crazy. Good for Tyler, I hope he has everything ready for his mission. The hardest part is like I am ready I want to get in the MTC.

I loved the rodeos. I remember going to it and seeing all the events. When I get back from my mission that is going to be my tradition every year is going to the rodeo. I love rodeos and I want to keep doing the tradition like grandpa does.

Kristin is in Peru. She said she didn't get to Peru till 3:30 am in the morning. She must have been so tired. I feel bad she sat at the runway for 2 hours. I wonder why they were waiting for 2 hours. It usually waits 15-30 minutes. Kristin has to get used to the food now and she said the food is very different there. I believe it and she is not picky. When Kristin goes into a Spanish member's home she has to eat all the food. If Kristin does not, the family will get offended. So she better get used to the food.

Not much happened this week just an investigator came to church!!!!! yes!!! whoooo! Well I love you thanks.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011: Hermana Bowles Meets Lima--Hermana Bowles

Hola familia!

Well we sat on the plane about two hours on the runway from Atlanta to Lima, but finally arrived at the CCM about 3/330ish in the morning. When all 24 (22 elders and 2 hermanas) of us were getting on the plane, one lady said something like this plane is full of mormons! I had to chuckle because it did kind of seem like we were taking over the plane. It was a little hard on the way over because we couldn't have music or tv or write letters or anything and so I switched off reading Jesus the Christ, trying to get comfortable enough to sleep, and playing the scribble game with the elders next to me. The sunset in the air was breathtaking on the way over! As we flew over Lima in the dark, the city lights stretched on forever! I had no idea that Lima was SO big. We landed, went through customs, magically found all of our bags (luckily no baggage was lost out of twenty four missionaries in the Lima airport), met the tour bus driver out front, had our first experience with crazy driving (the bus always won went it honked because it was so much bigger, watched a dozen KFCs roll by the window, were met by CCM missionaries in the parking lot, taken to our rooms, put on PJs, went right to sleep until we had to get up three hours later (luckily today is a big nap day for us). The craziest thing I saw last night was the gas station right on the side of the road. I don't know how they're supposed to work, but at the stop light there was a parking spot for a car and where the median should have been there was a gas station......what happens if the light turns green while you're filling up?

There are three buildings at the CCM here. Girls sleep 6 to a room in the 4 rooms above the classroom building and I have no idea where the elders sleep. The cafeteria has an auditorium above it in the next building over. People basically come and go in 3 week shifts here. There are the 'North Americans' and the 'Latinos'. Everything is in Spanish. The other American sister who's been here three weeks already warned us Hermanas BBB that the food takes 3 weeks to get used to your system....until then it{s constipation and/or diarrhea. I just hope I don{t take the adjustment too hard. Breakfast this morning was a choice of chicken with fried sweet potatoe chips or frosted flakes/fruit loops with warmish milk, juice, banana. The food is different, that's for sure. Lunch was an empenada thing, soup, rice with steak and yucca root, two different juices, lemon jello pudding dessert thing, and other stuff that i can{t even remember how to describe.

  Took almost two hours filling out immigration forms today and got to meet with the CCM president, President Whetten. He and his wife are really nice and he just kept telling me to be patient with the language and always ask my companion for how to say things in Spanish because I might be able to do the same for them in English. I guess the 100 missionaries that are here right now are one of the smallest they've had. Luckily, I'm still in the same district with Hermana Bell and Brown. Them being here is such a comfort. Basically it's gringo zones during the day and at meals and Latin companions during TRC and proselyting......SO, it's still the BBB trio or my new companion. Her name is Hermana Pereyra and she's from Lima, Peru. She's 34 (Hermana Brown's is 26) and really nice. She's already been wonderful at helping with words I can't come up with or being patient with my gringo sentences. It's kind of awkward right now because I've used up all of my packet get to know you sentences and so a lot of the unpacking time was silent.. Oh'll come.

   Oh and small world with some of the elders here: Elder Pugmire is cousins with the Pugmires at Orem--you know, Kylie from our stake? And then last night on the way to the CCM on the bus I realized there was an elder Northcott across the aisle from me. I couldn't put a finger on why his name sounded familiar and then it hit me--Christa and Camron's wedding! He's Christa's friend's the Northcott's nephew! Crazy.

We're supposed to go proselyting with our companions every Saturday...yes, like actually out in the city! Wow and I thought that teaching my MTC teachers was crazy. It's really cold here right now. It's constantly 'misting'. It's overcast like it should be rainy, but instead of raindrops it's just a constant mist of water. As Hermana Brown says, we feel 'moist' all the time. I'm excited to go out in the city on Pday and can't wait to get used to everything here. The gospel's true and in Lima it is, too! (Thanks, Frances for my new mantra).
   Love always, Hermana Bowles

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011: Good-bye Provo--Hermana Bowles

Kristin left the MTC this morning at 5:30 for an 8:30 flight to Atlanta.  We got a phone call at home from her at 7:30 am and 2:30 pm.  She sounds great but tired.  It ended up that all the missionaries going to the Lima MTC were able to get on the same flight this morning to Atlanta.  They were flying to Peru at 5:30 Atlanta time.  She said that one of the airport workers spoke Spanish over the intercom and they couldn't understand a thing!!  They looked at each other and thought Oh, no, we are in trouble!  I reassured her that she wasn't even 1/2 way through her training but still she was a bit deflated.  Her bags ended up weighing 51 pounds each but they let it slide and didn't charge her extra.  She should get to Lima at about 11:30pm.  This kind of makes the mission "official" now and I guess I will stop driving by the MTC in hopes of a sighting!  I know Kristin will love South America--we are thrilled for her.  Bienvenidos a Peru

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia!

It's amazing how it's already been another week and I'm sitting here with only thirteen hours left in Provo!!!!!!! AAAAHH!!!! The best news of the week was that Hermana Brown is coming with us! Her flight is official at 3:00 in the morning, along with three other elders going to Lima Central who also had late visas. Hermana Brown's really supposed to be here---she'd never wanted to go on a mission, got the impression to go, turned in her papers that week, got her call five days later, finished school three weeks ago, flew to California for a couple days with her family, flew home to pack, flew to Provo, and three weeks later is on a flight with us for Lima. It's amazing how the Lord gets things done on His timetable and if we're needed somewhere then it doesn't matter if it's "fast."

You should be so proud that the other best news of the week is that my bags are underweight.....49.5 pounds!!!! Amanda McClellan finished ironing her skirt while we were talking and ended up helping me shift things around in my suitcases to make them under and the final thing that helped was splitting up my chacos! Let's just hope that the airport scale is really lenient and matches the one in our residence hall. I really have no idea what I'd take out to send home because I'm at the bare minimum of everything. I kind of wish I had that mini roll carry on and could use my backpack as a carry on, but it will be nice not juggling a third bag. Plus, Hermana Bell's mom found this paper in her mission packet stuff that said we can only have "2 bags of 44 pounds and one 17 pound carry on." All I can say is that I hope it isn't true. Word of warning to anyone going on a foreign mission:� DON'T FORGET THAT THEY GIVE YOU TWICE THE BOOKS! I wasn't worried about stuffing my "extra two pounds of stuff" into my backpack when I first got to the MTC but panicked when I realized I had to fit double of everything in Spanish and English, plus Spanish grammar textbooks. My companions think it's funny that I completely look like a turtle with my backpack stuffed full of books. Pray that the zipper doesn't break until I'm off the airplane and that the airport people are nice to us missionaries in the airport:) All three of us will definitely miss the elders and I think they'll miss us, too. Yesterday after class they started their regular beat-boxing tune and used the recording feature on our spanish TALL program on the computer to tape themselves. One was using his cane (he has a broken foot) to hit the legs of the desk, another was whacking the trashcan with a water bottle, others were making weird noises and scatting, another was flipping pages in a book. When we played the recording back it actually sounded kind of cool. All seven of them are so hysterical. We're like family.

Wednesday, the Hermanas ate lunch with President Brown (MTC President)! It was so cool! He was walking around with his paper bowl of chocolate icecream and asked if he could sit by us. He asked us about our missions and where we were from. I think it's so cute to watch him during the week eating with all of the missionaries.

This last Sunday was the busiest day of my life because we literally had meetings or something scheduled every minute from 6:30 when we woke up until lights out at 10:30. I never get headaches, but all of the sudden my head felt like it wanted to explode all day long. The funny thing, though, was that yeah I was tired, but the day had been so fantastic that I didn't care. Richard Heaton spoke on how repentance gained its horrible painful reputation through language translation and how it is actually a joyful process because we are turning towards God--and who wouldn't want that??!? I wish everyone could hear him speak because he was great at picking apart scriptures and explaining the language translations from Greek to Latin to English. I gained a whole new respect for the scriptures as actual books, too, and for how important language is. Words are so important! Devotionals here are the best because I learn so much!

I wish I could speak Spanish more than anything so I could stop feeling like a salesman and more like a teacher. We Hermanas are getting better at teaching. Hermana Redd told us all that "the hermanas have really changed since their first visit with Abraham three weeks ago." At least we're progressing. We taught "Juan" and "Mario" for the last times and it was actually sad to think we won't see them anymore....even if they are fake. Our teachers said that was a good sign because it shows we're really starting to care about the investigator and working out of just "teaching lessons." I love my companions and are really sad that it's only a matter of hours before we're not together anymore. Luckily the Lima MTC is really small and so we'll still be able to see each other all the time. We're so close.

Love always,

Hermana Bowles

July 12, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,

Andy is going to Bulgaria!  That is somewhere way out there, wow.   We had a good July 4th. We can't play fireworks but we can watch them. We saw lots of Fireworks pop in the sky. It's like we would be walking down the street and there would be a loud noise boom!! Then it goes off in the sky. And I would go ooooo aaaaaaaaaa ooooooo aaaaa. It was crazy. There are no parades here in California waaaaa. Good thing there is one in Provo every year. It is just fun doing it every year and doing the tradition. I will write to Andy.

The Apartment is clean, we clean it every Pday. It is just we don't have a dish washer and we scrub our dishes every other day. I do my part he does his part and it's clean. My hearing aid works fine I had an appointment with him yesterday doing a follow up. I told him everything is good. It's good. Did you take some money out of my account to help pay for the hearing aid?

Cats are very smart, and when they see something they will find a way to get there and will never ggive up. To bad they got the eggs and they will never hatch so you can see those baby birds. How is everything back at home? I went to the temple this morning and it was wonderful. After the session the temple president spoke with with us and with other missionaries and we talked deep doctorine. It was really cool.  There were some things that I learned. It was really cool. A couple days ago I got attacked by a dog. It was so crazy. I walked up to this person and all of the sudden this medium dog, just comes out and attacks me. I lifted up my leg because he almost bit me. My first dog attack on my mission. We have a car so we can always run back to the car and take off. Thank you for supporting me I love you.

Elder Bowles

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011: Excerpts from letter--Hermana Bowles

Mom & Dad:

I just got back from the bookstore where the funniest thing happened.  I was waiting in line to buy my battery alarm clock when an Elder asked, "Excuse me, is this the cue?"  I happily responded "Yes" and felt proud that I understood his European lingo.  Anyway, the real story is that I turned to my other side in line, looked at the Elder's tag and it said Elder Bowles!  Whoah!  Yes, it really did!  We both kind of laughed because I told him how he was the first Bowles I'd ever met outside of my family.  The first thing he said to me was, "So do people call you Hermana Bowels too?"  Yeah, I have to explain that it's like the "bowls" that you eat out of.  He said, "Funny, that's what I say too!  That's the only way my Spanish teacher gets it."  We had a good laugh with the other Elders in line over our weird last name and then took a picture to prove that we'd met--lucky I had my camera.  Don't worry, I asked him where he was from and he said Herriman because his family basically founded the city.  I asked about Nephi and he said half the family came from there, too.  We're related somehow.

At lunch Hermana Bell met an Elder from Icquitos, Peru.  He looked at me down at the bottom of the stairs.  She told him I was the one serving in Lima North in the jungle and he smiled and said, "Oh--you see jaguar!"  GREAT

You can let Julie know that I see Craig, I mean, Elder Sheanshang all the time too.  A couple days ago I was out in the hallway waiting for the hermanas in the bathroom and he was waiting in the hall at the same time.  He was leaning up against the wall and munching on a handful of peanut butter m&m's.  "Want some, Hermana Bowles?"  So there the two of us were with our Spanish name badges pinned on our Sunday clothes eating peanut butter m&m's while waiting for our companions in the bathroom.  Who would've ever thought when you guys net Mark & Julie over twenty years ago, huh?  The two of us have class in the same building (17M) and even did laundry down the row from each other today.

I see Amanda McClellan all the time, too.  She and her companion always do their little Asian bow while saying their Korean greeting when I say Hi.

At dinner last week--Wednesday to be specific.  Our first day of not being the newbies--I met the first person ever called from Taiwan (or maybe it was Korea??)  to be called as a missionary to Ukraine.  She said two days after she got her call the church called her to start figuring out how she could get a visa.  Part of the reason she's the first is because Russian is so hard to learn and they rrequire you to be fluent in English.  She went to high school over here and so that's how she knows English.  Anyway, her VISA right now is only good for six months and so they are hoping to renew it for longer once she's over there.  I got chills at the table when she was telling me all that!  Cool, huh?  I just talked to a part of church history!

Here are the travel details about leaving next Wednesday:

All of us heading to the Lima MTC next week are flying by mission from Salt Lake to Atlanta and then all of us fly on the same flight from Atlanta to Lima.  For example:

Six people are in my Lima North group.  We meet Wednesday @ 5:00 am to leave for an 8:30 am flight to Atlanta.  We have a three hour layover.

Hermana Bell's 8-person Trujillo group meets at 8:00am for an 11:30 flight to Atlanta

Right now we know of three or four different flights to Atlanta and together we take the 5:30 flight to Lima.  Should be about twenty-five people total for the last leg.

I should be able to call from the Salt Lake airport or possibly during my three hour layover in Atlanta.

Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5, 2011: Hermana Bowles

Hola familia!

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you. Thanks so much for the packages! It's so exciting to get mail--especially packages. For packages that are too big for the box (which is basically everything) we have to take our pink slip to the mail desk and get it from the shelf. It's a field trip out of the classroom. Another week has absolutely flown by. It feels like I've been living here months already, but it's barely been two weeks. Strange. Some things here never change, though, no matter how many days you're here. First of all, it seems like all of the sisters have this automatic bond. We make eye contact and it's like "hi, friend. I'm here, too." I can't really explain it, but it's really weird. Relief Society is funny. It's a combined meeting with all of the sisters at the MTC and the bottom of the gym floor looks like it turns into a garden of floral prints, pleats, polk-a-dots, headbands, sweaters, curls, belts and ruffles. It's such a refreshing color relief from the rest of the penguins :)

Probably the biggest news of the week is that Hermana Bell and I received our flight plans/travel iteneraries and fly to the Lima MTC next Wednesday!! This is the beginning of my last week in Provo for awhile. Hopefully Herman Brown gets her plans soon, too. We think her visa is held up. That would really stink if she had to be a solo sister in our district for six weeks.

The other best news of the week is that the Sunday night fireside yesterday was Jenny Oaks Baker! Once we walked in the gym and I watched the screen to see who was going to be speaking, I wanted to scream I was so happy when her name popped up. She mixed performing and sharing gospel experiences from her life. She played: Amazing Grace, Believe Me if All Those Endearing Charms, I know that My Redeemer Lives. She also brought her husband and 3 of 4 kids, her three little girls. At the very end her girls played "I Am a Child of God" with one on the piano, violin, and cello. It was the cutest thing EVER!!!! She said she'd tried to make her little boy into a violinist to complete her dreams of a violin quartet, but he throw down his instrument and declared himself a pianist :) I could've sat there all night listening to her stories and her tunes. I just think it's such a TM that she happened to be the guest speaker one of the only three weeks that I'm here at this MTC the entire year. Really a blessing.

Oh and then last week I forgot to mention that it was the mission president training here which meant there were a gazillion apostles here at any given time. We Hermanas walked out of the cafeteria only our second day and ran into a crowd of Elders shaking hands with Elder Christofferson! We squeezed in on the side, got to shake his hand, and even had a mini conversation with him in Spanish! AAAAHHHH! Then Elder Bednar spoke at a fireside! IT was awesome to see him speaking with Elders Nelson, Oaks, Ballard, Scott, Holland, and others right behind him. The MTC is awesome.

We lost an Elder from our district because he tested up into an intermediate Spanish district. Now we have two trios and two double companionships in our district.

Last Wednesday we got two new roommates: Sister Fikes (from Maine) and Sister Helu (from New Zealand). Both of them are going to serve in Billings, Montana. That boosts the room total to five, although only three of us seem to understand the lights out rule at 10:30. They're getting better, though, and I'm getting better at falling to sleep with the lights on or not waiting for them to come in.

Just thought you should know that the theater cleaning curse has followed me to the MTC. Every Friday morning at 6:00 AM our district has service project time and somehow me and my companions always (well, the two weeks we've been here) get stuck with the bathrooms. The first week we rock-paper-scissored to see who had to clean the toilets and Hermana Bell lost. This last week it was my turn to do the toilets....and all five of the fifth floor bathrooms. Gross. There the hermanas were at 6:00 in the morning scrubbing some Elder's urinal. It was dejavu to the Hale Theater all over again. Gross. Hopefully next week we'll break the curse.

Let me tell you--it was quite a fourth of july party here. Just kidding. It felt like the day before and the day after. normal. Friday and SAturday morning we could see the balloon launch and one crazy mess around driver came so low he was touching the tree tops with his balloon and saying he was going to land. The Security guards just sat and watched him and eventually he floated away. Saturday night the MTC put on a special patriotic program for all the missionaries. The beginning was a sing-along with this cute Latin chorister lady decked out in a blue polk-a-dot dress, red scarf, and red sweater. She led us in "Yankee Doodle", "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "You're a Grand Old Flag", and "God Bless America." I felt like I was in mom's kindergarten class on the rug. The end of the program was neat because some bagpipes came in followed by a procession of flags representing every country represented by the missionaries here right now. SO Cool to see all 20-ish of them lined up at the front! After the program we got to go outside and watch the fireworks at the back of the MTC while eating an ice cream bar. We even got to stay up past 10:30!! woo hoo!....but we still had to wake up at 6:30 the next morning.

Last night, us Hermanas broke open the glowsticks that mom and Hermana Bell's mom sent and made fireworks. We turned off the lights and threw them around the room while eating treats and yelling "Happy Fourth of July!" Oh and we hung those hanging star decoration things up in our classroom. The Elders walked in and immediately looked at us and said, "did you sisters do this?" Not hard to guess, huh. I think we'll leave them up until they fall down because it makes our classroom not so boring.

Love it here and love the gospel. I'm learning so much

Love always,

Hermana Bowles

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear mom and Dad

What more do I have to miss? The cougars basketball, camping, movies that I want to see, and now you can shoot those illegal fireworks in the sky. I am missing too much this year. I did get your box. All the cookies were crumbled that's okay I still put lots of frosting on them. it was so good. I already put up the July 4th decorations. Yea, July 4th on my Pday. I am so excited. I hope you get to see those birds when they will be ready to hatch.�

Last transfer we moved into a new apartment . There are no bugs or roaches anywhere. We just keep the counters clean and no bugs.

The appointment was a shock to me. The night before that Sister Bubert texted me that I have an audiology appointment tomorrow. I was like what do I do? The doctor was very nice and what was nice was that there was a phonak hearing aid. He thought my hearing aid lasted for 4-6 years, I told him it lasted till I was 4 years old. I have been wearing it for 14 - 15 years. I did not know how you paid for the hearing aid, it was expensive. I want to help pay for it so you can take money out my account to help pay for the hearing aid. I really feel bad for you paying for it so I want to help pay for the cost of the hearing aid. The right thing for me to do is to help pay for the hearing aid.

My Companion is Elder Sturdevant. He is from Georgia kind of by Atlanta. He is really cool, tall --he has got to be almost 7ft tall. 'I'll find out more about my companion and will tell you next week. Have a wonderful July 4th!!!!! Have fun with the fireworks!!!!!
What is Kristin's LDS Email?