Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011: P is for Pollo--Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia!
I made it into the field!!!! Whoot!!! Life is so much better outside the MTC. You can actually study in the morning and not be constantly distracted by elders who won't stop talking.

Oh good news....this computer has an enter button!!!
Here's a list of all the parts of a chicken that I found in my soup this week-- foot, neck, heart, rib...and who knows what else.

My companion's name is Hermana Nunez from Columbia. She. Is Awesome. Thank goodness I got someone that I can understand! At mission things I can't understand the other hermanas. My first area is Barrio Libertad, about ten minutes by comvee from the mission office.
You probably heard that the CCM got a new president. President is too sick to come back so they called President and Hermana Cavanaugh to serve the remainder of the time until January. The funny thing is that they came and spoke to us the Sunday before they came in!! Wow.

The best part of the week was that Elder Oaks came and spoke!!!!  He shook all of our hands before he spoke. AAAAHHH!! When he started his address he said that if you were one of the one's who couldn't look brother oaks in the eye then he suggests you make an appointment with your mission president to solve that issue. Talk about scary! His address was a question-answer about revelation and really interactive with all of the missionaries. As he was talking I had this overwhelming confirmation of how he is an apostle. It was really cool.

We got to go to the temple the second day in the mission and do a session as a zone. Came out and the sun was shining. Perfect.
 All I can say is that this is the hardest, happiest, most emotionally trying thing I´ve ever done....and I´m only ten weeks in. From a gospel perspective, I don´t know how people figure out the gospel without a mission. Nowhere else are you forced to really learn the doctrine and explain it to others. Talking to people about the gospel is both scary and exhilarating. I just take it one day at a time.
Love always, Hermana Bowles

August 29, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear mom and dad:

In California the last week of August claims to be the hottest days of the YEAR!!! Well it is the last week of August and everyday it gets up to 95-100 by 11:30 and it will stay at that temperature until about 5:00. Then it will start cooling down. This week was a good week. We have a total of 4 investigators 2 with a baptismal dates. I am so excited and we are working with them closely so they can get baptized soon.

That might be dad's hobby-- going fishing. Yes Derek's year is almost up, I can't believe it. The first 6 months is slow then it gets faster and faster then you know you are going back home. I want to be the best missionary I can be. Slowly I am getting some respect from other people. All I can do is be an example to everyone. It's been a good week and I will work hard to get those two people to be baptized.

Thank you and I love you
Elder Bowles

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011:Grandma Dew's letter--Elder Bowles

Dear Grandma:

BYU football starts soon it's going to be a sweet season-- Jake heaps quarterback. Summer is almost over and school is starting soon. Then you will get snow. It is sunny all year round in California, I don't have to worry about the cold. Me and my companion have a baptismal date for our investigator --yes!!!!! He is going to be baptized on December 24 Christmas eve. A perfect day. That is his goal. He has to stop smoking and continue to keep the commitments he makes every time we come over. We are slowly working with him and he is progressing a lot. I am excited for him. Have a wonderful week. Love you and we will talk more next week.

August 22, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad :

School is starting. Too many kids are walking on the street. Soon they will be in school stuck with the teachers ha ha. Good thing you only have 22 kids in each class. Are you working all day? Are you having a class in the morning and a class in the afternoon?

Yep, education week was so crazy. So many people and the more people there are the more we get paid. You saw all the black shirts and black vests giving out the catering food. the chocolate brownies are so good. Like if there are extra on the 3rd floor kitchen I would just eat them before I go back home.

Well, I do have one spiritual experience. We were visiting a les active in the ward. We have been visiting with her for 3 weeks and she wants to come to church bet when she does something comes up. She has a lot of family problems going on. I remember before my mission after dinner dad would say music and the spoken word every week. I liked it. It is one of the things that will help a person stay active in the church. I told this les active and said Ezzeal it's all about "Tradition" (Jeff's quote on sunday) We go visit her a week later and we talk and she said Elder Bowles I will never forget what you said . I asked "What did I say" she said "tradition" then she goes on and says I got to get in the habit of going back to church because that is what I miss most. I got to start my own tradition and that is going back to church. It was so cool it just did not hit me till the end of the lesson. I will have more spiritual lessons next week

Love you.

Dad Do you remember this? "TRADITION" ( Dad's Quote on Sunday)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18, 2011 Excerpts from letter home---Hermana Bowles

Mom & Dad:

I am officially an "avanzado."  It's both scary and exciting to think I'm in the final phase of the MTC.  My last group of "three weeks" and out into the field I go.  The Lima MTC is a little different now.  When we first got here, they were still operating under the "old" program.  We had companionship study  with our Latina companions, meals, living, and a billion teaching opportunities.  Our classes with our North American District were different too, because  we actually had lessons on specific grammar principles which made me feel like I was back in Miss K's class.  As these last three weeks start though, August 1 marked the start of everyone jumping on the pilot program bandwagon.  I definitely feel like the guinea pig because they flopped our group (the hermanas BBB), (the other Elders who came the same time we did were never pilot), from pilot to old style and now back to pilot.  The hard thing  about pilot here is now we're NEVER with our Latina companeras.  We sleep, eat, and exercise with them, but that's about it.  Practically the only teaching experience we have together is proselyting on Saturdays.  Makes me a little nervous that I won't be able to see "how she teaches in action" before we have to do it for real.  I think the program should be tweaked a little At international MTC's because I don't see the point in switching to Lima if I am still basically surrounded by North Americans all the time.  Sure, I'm getting used to the food, but half the culture adjustment is the people.  There are so many things I learned from my last companion that I could only figure out because I had to work with her ALL the time.  I feel sad that the North American newbies will never get to experience that.

The beautiful sun came out today which was wonderful because it was freezing this morning!  I think the current tally is that we've see the sun six times and the moon three times. 

Had another trainwreck experience playing the piano this morning.  I played the piano in Relief Society and asked Hermana Vera (my companion) for her favorite hymn.  She picked "Because I have Been Given Much."  Perfect, I like that one too!  I played the last two measures for an introduction because I didn't feel like playing the whole thing.  Hermana Bell's companion, Hermana Sandoval was leading the hymn.  Well--first no one really came in because they were expecting a more concrete introduction.  However, every time the piano had pretty interlude notes while the singers were holding a note or resting, Hermana Sandoval thought it was time for the next word.  Aaahh!!  It didn't take long before it sounded like a round was going on.  I tried to make the rhythm obvious, but nothing helped.  Ha ha--it caught me so off guard in the beginning that I didn't play the first two lines of the song because I couldn't figure what was going on or who to follow.  It was so weird.  Anyway, I've figured out that only hymns with basic rhythms and notes are allowed--otherwise it doesn't sound too hot.  At least the basic hymns are recognizable.

I read Garrett's emails and I have to admit that I'm really glad I'm serving in South America where people love talking about God.  Compared to the doors Garrett gets slammed in his face, it will seem like everyone loves me.  I wonder what my reaction would be if someone knocked on my door as a missionary for another church.  I just take their pamphlet, shut the door, and throw it away.  But then I remind myself---the difference is that our message is true and changes lives1

Found out that I'm the only hermana going to Lima North.  The Lima North group is lucky because we don't have to deal with overweight bags for awhile.  Instead, I just take a twenty minute bus ride downtown to the mission Presidents office--the Mission Home.

Sounds like the garden is coming along.  It made my mouth water to hear about fresh raspberry jam.  My hands are aching for two things right now--my violin and yard work.

Love Always, Kristin

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17, 2011: This is it!--Hermana Bowles

Hola familia!

Well....this is it! It is officially my last five days in the CCM and I can't believe it. No travel plans yet, not even a firm leaving date. I'm most likely leaving Tuesday morning. Saturday proselyting was wonderful. We had a list of less-actives and went with two members of the ward to find them. I love Hermana Vera as my companion. Somehow it's easier to teach people when your companion is the same age that you are. Our goal this week was to practice five minute teaching moments with other missionaries everyday after lunch to learn how to teach more principles. She's great and makes me talk and testify as much as I can before she'll help. We get along really well and she's just as excited to learn English as I am to learn Spanish.

No dogs sniffed up my skirt on Saturday and we saw a peruvian ice cream man! He was dressed in all yellow with a newsies cap and was riding around on an all yellow bike with this cab thing on the front. He went around calling out to people with his little horn and playing music. I felt like I was sitting on our front yard during the summer and watching the ice cream truck go by! The members we were with on Saturday were really neat because they were the Primary president and chorister so they worked with the ward families a lot. The primary president told me how she was a member growing up and then went inactive when she got married. She and her husband said the ward was really unfriendly and after they moved, all they wanted to do was go back to the other ward.....that is, until a new member man in their ward took it upon himself to reactivate them! He would come by their house, smile, greet with hugs, call them about coming to church or why they didn't come. She said he helped us come back and now I can do the same for others. The church is true, but sometimes it's the members who drive people away. awesome, huh?

The Whetten's still aren't back yet, but we were told he had surgery to remove a tumor on his pancreas on Monday. No real word yet, but we probably won't get a chance to see them before all of us leave in a few days. The CCM isn't the same without them here.....let's just say it's a lot more chaotic. The food tastes great!! wow....i can't believe i just typed that. Never thought I'd see the day when I would say the rice tastes good, but it's true!woohoo!! One of the teachers told us about a village greeting ritual up in lima north where they chew up yuccah and then give it to you to eat for welcoming or something......sick.....but i'm ready! If rice tastes good now, I can handle anything!

Here's an awesome quote from preach my gospel on page 199. It basically defines my leaving next week. Brigham young said, "If all the talent, tact, wisdom, and refinement of the world had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared, in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by learning and worldly wisdom, they would have been to me like smoke which arises only to vanish away. But when I saw a man without eloquence or talents for public speaking, who could only say, I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the BOM is true, that JS is a Prophet of the Lord, the Holy ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and a light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true. awesome, huh? Oh and today I bought a book of mormon in Quechua!! It's a tribal language that is definitely something missionaries in Cusco have to learn, and sometimes used in Lima North. awesome! I love being a missionary!!

Love always, Hermana Bowles

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well You both can serve a mission together. As a couple you can serve a mission in a ton of ways. Craig is in Huntington Beach, oh man that's 30 minutes from where I am. All I have to do is go south and I will be there. I hope there is a zone conference soon and I will get to see him. I will be able to see my friend-- hey we are both missionaries. Good thing they found out the problem on your leg and they can get that taken care of.

Our investigator came to church for the third time. He really likes church, likes everything about it. We just have to help him quit smoking. He likes to smoke but wants to stop. He has to stop smoking before he can be baptized. I am eating my vitamin pill everyday. I would eat salad about every week, I eat beans, bread, meat, scrambled eggs, PBJ sometimes corn, I drink apple and orange juice. We run every morning to get some exercise. I am trying to get the courage to eat (healthy stuff)!!! (Everyone talks about me not eating healthy stuff.) I am going to be the most popular missionary on Face book because I don't eat fruits or vegetables. Every missionary in the mission field knows who I am. They are like who is the guy that does not like fruits or vegetables. oh that's Elder Bowles. Yep I am really popular. Thanks for all the support. I love you

Love Elder Bowles

Dear Grandma
Yes it says to love your neighbors. And to love your enemies. It's hard to love your enemies especially when you want to hit them boom. As a missionary you can't hit anyone but put a Book of Mormon in front of their face. They will get hit with spiritual knowledge yes!!!
The ipad 2 is a new toy. Nice touch screen and lots of things on it. You can put your scriptures on there. Fun things to do on it. I don't mind answering all of your questions. You can ask as many questions as you can. You wrote this at 7:43 this morning. As long as you write it before 10:30am you are good. That's when I look at my email. Must have had a big dinner 19 that's a lot of people to feed.
I had a good week, slow but a good week. Our investigator phil came to church again. THis is his 3rd time coming. He really likes it, likes everything. We are just helping him quit smoking. He has to quit before he can be baptized. We are working with him. Thanks grandma for all the support. Have a good week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pictures from Lima: August 10, 2011--Hermana Bowles

The Hermanas BBB with their Latin companions. in front of the Lima Temple.  Kristin's comp is on the far left.  These sisters just left the CCM for their missions last week.  Now they have new companions for the last 3 weeks.  They get to go to the temple every Wednesday on P-Day.

Posing in front of the Lima MTC which is called the CCM. 

Wow, hermanas!  Enjoying a little "helado" on P-Day.  Hermana Bowles, Hermana Brown and Hermana Bell.  They have been together since Provo and have just 2 weeks left before saying good-bye.

This is the group that traveled from the Provo MTC to Lima 7 weeks ago.  On their 1/2 way mark in Lima they were surprised to get to take a bus tour around Lima.  Here they are by the coast.
Another one of the stops on the tour of Lima.  Hermanas BBB again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week 7 August 10, 2011: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia!!!
Wow. Time is flying by. The newbies came in and we are officially avanzados. It's sad, though, because the newbies all got here and the Whettens left. President Whetten has to have heart surgery in the states and won't be back for a couple more days. We're all praying for his health. I really hope he's okay.  

Last Wednesday was cool because we got to take a bus tour of Lima. All 24 of us loaded in the safe tour bus (not a tiny scary car) and drove around Lima. Saw the coast, went downtown and got a churro and Peru bags and jerseys. The funny thing was that our bus broke down. We'd just left the beach and were driving up the hill to go downtown when this big bang noise exploded and we stopped moving. Oops. The northamericans broke the bus. I think we stopped at the most inconvenient place possible--up a hill, on a corner, with 24 gringos inside. While we're sitting there, one of the cars going around us had a tire pop off. It just rolled away! I don' t even know how that happens. The tour guide had one of the bigger elders get off and shove rocks behind the tires. Had to get off the bus and wait for a new one. The police finally showed up and started diverting traffic around us. Then....the elders had to push the bus to move the rocks back out from behind the tires. It was so hysterical to see 20 gringos pushing this tour bus up a hill in Peru. The Elders went crazy at the hamburger place downtown and all stood in line for a burger and fries. Luckily, we had burgers that night for dinner in the cafeteria so I didn't feel deprived. Have you ever put fries on your burger? It went bun, meat, baloney, cheese, mayo, mustard, ketchup, bun. cold. mmmmmmmm.  

Got new companions, but it's a different program so we're not together all the time now. My companion is Hermana Vera from Trujillo and she is 22. Hallelujah for having a companion my age. The Latino group that just came in is a lot younger. Hermana BBB companions all love learning English. Mealtime turns into a round of who can teach the funniest English phrase to the Latinos. This last week I taught Hermana Vera Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Congratulations, Silly Rabbits Tricks are for kids, and Only you can prevent forest fires. Hermana Bell's companion, Hermana Sandoval from Columbia, did a hysterical imitation of different accents of Spanish-speaking countries. We decided that Mexicans sound like the valley-girl of Spanish. I was laughing so hard I started crying as she imitated Peru, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Chile, and Gringo. She is miss sassy, that's for sure. One of the coolest experiences for me was the first day the newbies got here. A bunch of the new elders are all piano majors and have taken over the piano. We were walking down the hall and all of the sudden this classical music starts coming from the chapel. Peeked around the corner and it was a Latino! I love that music can speak to everyone and you have no idea of the nationality of the person playing. You really can communicate things musically that can't happen any other way. Okay, maybe that wasn't an awesome moment for anyone else, but it was really cool for me.

Love your little rice ball, Hermana Bowles

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011--A Good Week: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,

It's my 7th month mark since I entered the MTC. IT went by so fast and it's been crazy. Me and Elder Sturdevant found out what will be happening to us. We are both staying for another 6 weeks. It will be my 3rd transfer in this area. I have been in the same zone for 7 months and when we have district meeting I will be the longest person who has been in the zone. Yes, go Elder Bowles.

Elder Sheanshang will come tomorrow and I hope he will come to my zone that way I will see him every Thursday and Monday. It is so exciting. I hope that pain in your leg will go away and they find out what is causing the problem. I hope that pain can stop. I will pray for you.

Our investigator Phil is going good. We told him about tithing. He does not have enough money to even do tithing. He has to pay for all the medicine he takes, lots of money for that, pay the doctors, he has to pay for the room he lives in. He has no money to do tithing. So we are trying to work that out.

A person told us in the ward that there is a couple who have not been sealed in the temple. They are married as a couple but not sealed in the temple. Last night we stopped by to see this family who are active members of the church, both of them returned missionaries. They go to the temple often as a couple, got their endowments, performed sealings for the dead but they are not sealed as a couple in the temple. I just could not believed it. Somehow we got on the topic about temples and we asked what temple did you get sealed in. Long pause and they told us they are not sealed in the temple. They just want to take it slowly. The wife is ready to be sealed but the husband wants to wait until he feels that he is ready. I just wanted to say if you love your wife so much you get married in the temple. I was so tempted to say if you are not sealed by that covenant you make with your Heavenly Father you cannot receive the glory of exaltation. And I wanted to say if one of you die that is the end of your marriage and you won't be together forever unless you do the ordinances by being sealed now. I was in shock. I will do everything in my power to get them sealed. They've got to wake up. There is another family who is not sealed in the temple but active members in the church. Me and Elder Sturdevant will work with them. I'll tell you more next week. Any suggestions?

Love Elder Bowles 
Dear Grandma:

I have been on my mission for 7 months. Yes 7 months. I started my mission on Feb 2 and now it's Aug 8th. In California sometimes it's very cloudy in the morning, and you think it's going to rain. No it will never rain. Just sun all day long. And can get 85 degrees by 11:00-- Crazy! A birthday on my mission, I am going to make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It's going to taste so good.

You have been waiting all week if I am staying or going to a new area. I am staying!! Don't even have to move my stuff. Me and Elder Sturdevant are staying for another 6 weeks. It will be my 3rd transfer in the same area. I have been in the same area for about 3 months and know the area well enough. Yes I know some Spanish phrases, si bien lots of different others I just might spell it wrong. English is good I am still confused in Spanish. In the apartment it is just me and my companion. It's a small apartment and only room for 2. Yesterday in church I saw my friend. Me and him looked at each other and he told me what's your first name, the I said did you go to Orem High School, he said yes. We were in the same seminary class when I was a senior in high school. I was like What you you doing here? I am a missionary and not supposed to see any of my friends. He was visiting someone. It was so strange and funny at the same time. That's what I have this week. We are still working our investigator, there are a few problems. But it can work out. Have a wonderful day.

Love Elder Bowles

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011: Hot dogs for breakfast? Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia!

Sorry...i still haven't figured this keyboard out (especially the enter button) and so this letter looks like one big paragraph of chaos. I'm so glad that Jerin's mom is sending you her emails! She sent me a bunch of them over Dearelder in Provo and I literally laughed out loud during some of them because some of her funny experiences sounded just like her. Never fear--i am taking LOTS of pictures. Sending them on the computer is another issue because I forgot my cord to connect the camera to the computer and haven't timed it right with borrowing someone else's yet. Haha...I haven't had any dreams in Spanish yet. I actually haven't had any dreams lately...I sleep like a rock.

PE for Hermanas is kind of lame. The few times we can get enough elders to play handball then we play that (it's basically ultimate frisbee with a soccer ball). Otherwise we run around and around and around the tiny little field in the compound....boring. I've done a lot of crunches and lunges,too. We make it work.

No..haven't gotten used to the food yet. I thought it was funny that this morning the breakfast was a hotdog in a roll-bun thing and fake coffee. All of the Latinos are gone and we're waiting for the new missionaries, so they must've figured that was an appropriate breakfast to serve all the kids from the United states or something. I just had the watery yogurt and frosted usual. Hermana Pereyra left yesterday at 5:40 for Arequipa. It's kind of ironic, but my new companion that I meet by tomorrow is FROM arequipa. New Districts, new companion, the peru CCM is going to be filled to capacity with the new groups coming in..148. Weird.

WOW---proselyting went so much better last Saturday. Decided to fast because I did not want to have a horrible experience again. Wow, a little trust in Heavenly Father goes a long way. We actually got to go knock doors in Lima North!!!!! I got to see a tiny part of my potential area and it was great. We were really close to the mountains and they looked like they were covered in soft green carpet. I was a little terrified after they handed us our map, gospel pamphlets, book of mormon to give a way and said buenos suerte. Hermana Pereyra and I knocked on one door and talked to this ten-year old girl for a while. Left her house for the next, and these little kids were outside. We asked them where there parents were and they ran across the street and in between these other houses. We looked at each other and just followed them. The path wrapped up through the houses around to the right where they scurried into one house. We called and called in the open door, but no one was paying attention to us. Decided to go to the next house up to the right. We met a lady doing laundry in her backyard. She offered us her wrist to shake hands, because her hands were still dirty. So nice. Anyway, gave our little doorway spiel and SHE LET US IN!!!!! I want to give a big scream I was so happy. There are actually people out there who will listen to us!! It was just her, Ana Reyes, her husband, and her 17 year old son were at the top of this house-infested mountain in Peru where you could look out over the entire city. Taught her about the plan of salvation, and she was so interested. Read a bunch about of the BOM, she was flabbergasted that she could keep it for free and asked to keep the pamphlet so she could read it to her son later! Gave her a reading assignment, sang I am a child of God, taught her to pray. The missionaries were supposed to go back and visit her on Tuesday and I hope they did because she was so excited to learn!!!!

Music here is an interesting thing. I think the entire country is tone deaf, except for our teacher, Hermano Romero, who has the most beautiful tenor voice ever. I literally sometimes can't play the piano when they're singing because I feel like I'm playing a different song they're so off. Oh why why why......

Oh---please send US stamps! I can't send any more letters because I have no stamps....triste. I'm sending a couple letters to our house for you to forward to other people.

Love always, Hermana Bowles

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad,

A long fast week. Aaaaahhhhhh you got to go to Jackson Hole without me. You got to see all those wildlife. I can't believe Tre is back from his mission. 10 1/2 months to be in one area is a long time. A long time. 4 months is enough for me to be in an area. Can you talk to Brother Mulliner and ask him if he has any names or anybody he remembers from his mission that I should go teach. I might go to the same area as Brother Mulliner did.   Ask him if he has any names that I should find and I will go by them.

I don't know where I will get transferred I will find out this Saturday night. Every transfer is 6 Weeks you either stay or go. I will find out this saturday and will let you know. Craig is coming in, maybe I will get to see him. I am so excited. If he is not in my district then I will see him at zone conference. Here I come Craig ha ha ha.

Looks like Sister Bowles got her first experience knocking on doors ha ha. It's scary at first but by the time you knock at your 200 door it will get easier. Then soon she will speak Spanish.   Peru sounds crazy and close to getting some car crashes. There probably have been some car crashes.

This week Me and Elder Sturdevant met this one guy at his house. We taught this one guy, his name is Ted. He is from taiwan and moved to America in the 1950's and he has lived here ever since. We were teaching him about God and out of the middle of nowhere he says do you guys get paid for doing this? We said no we do this for two years and don't get paid. We continued teaching and he tells us again are you sure you Elders don't get paid? We told him before the mission we saved this much amount of money then we are called to where ever we go and do this for two years. We don't gain a cent out of this mission. He was shocked and could not believe it. We are teaching him on Tuesday and hopefully can teach him more. He is really nice and is open. I am praying that he will accept what we are teaching him. That was the experience this week and more to come. Have a wonderful day.

Love Elder Bowles