Monday, November 28, 2011

Me and my companion Hermana Nunez standing in front of a big mountain that looks down on Moyobamba.  We visit some ward members that live there ("you can see why we love to visit them--the area is so beautiful!")

My future hija.  Everyone who sees me and little Mariciela together laugh and say we look like mother and daughter because of our curls.  She is one of the cutest little things.

Relaxing in front of the river -- PDay a couple weeks ago.  We visited a nature park that ended up not having any animals at all, but it was so so pretty and green.

Monday November 27, 2011: Hermana Bowles Moyo, Moyo, Moyo

¡Hola Familia!

A really rainy wet week in Moyo.  Yesterday afternoon it DOWNPOURED.  There were rivers running down the streets and waterfalls cascading off the roofs.  When the Elders came to Branch counsel, they were soaked because they`d been teaching a family when water entered a foot deep in the house and they helped them shovel out.  When they stood up from the seats there was water.  Hna. Nuñez were spared from being completely soaked like they were because we were reading the LDM with a lady higher up in Moyobamba.  Wow.  Love Moyobamba.

Interesting twist on the Plan of Salvation this week.  Went to teach two menos activos (less actives) and their "esposas" (spouses) only to find out that half had travelled and half were vending in el mercado (selling in the market).  We were talking with their parents.  The dad was telling us how he`s worried about his calling as geneology rep because he can`t help people when he can`t even fill out his own pedigree chart.  Sat down with he and his wife and figured out the names in three generations.  Had most of the names, but lacked a lot of dates.  Hermana Nuñez promised him that if he really worked to try and remember the dates or talk to people who knew and prayed, his ancestors would help him.  He found us at church the next day and told us how after we`d left and before church this morning he`d found a card with a lot of the missing family dates that we needed to more completely submit his information into family search.  Is that incredible or what?  It was such a testimony building experience because I went from feeling down about not being able to teach a live lesson on plan of salvation to realizing that it was plan of salvation in another way....haha...con los muertos (with the dead).

Had the "noche de jeopardy" friday night and it was really fun.  It was a good mix of menos activos (less active) and activos (active) so hopefully the rama (branch) can be more unified.

To sum up the week, Hna. Nuñez found an awesome scripture that I want to share.....sorry it`s in Spanish, but I forgot to write it down in English. Hebrews 6:10--"Porque Dios no es injusto para olvidar vuestra obra y el trabajo de amor que habeis mostrado hacia su nombre habiendo servido a los santos y sirviendoles aùn."  (“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”)

love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday November 27, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad. 

 It was a good Thanksgiving.  Before Thanksgiving two families wanted to feed us.  I was like oh oh that is not good.  We will get fat.  The first house we ate at was a Somoan house.  They had the big turkey dinner.  Turkey,ham, potatoes and gravy, stuffing all of it.  and cheescake.  My district leader is ELder Otis and he is a little chubby.  All the Elders are trying to make me turn into a mini Otis.  They add a lot of stuff to my plate.  I ate all of it.  At the end I ate cheesecake which was good.  The members almost made me eat another one.  I was like aaaaaa I am really full!!!  I didn't have to eat it.  That was close.  Our second dinner was at a Mexican house.  After the first dinner we had about 3 hours for our stomachs to rest.  The next dinner came and aaa I am not hungry.  But we have to go in because they invited us.  It was another big huge dinner and they had cake at the end.  I ate so much food and probably gained 5 pounds.  Christmas is around the corner and I will get fed a lot there.  So right now I will work harder in my exersises in the mornings so I can lose a few pounds from thankgiving but I will gain it all the way back.  Good thing I liked staying in shape from cross country.  I will run when I get back home.  I am not a mini Otis just yet but they are trying.  I am watching them. 

You said you went to the office.  The Elder that you met was Elder Atherton.  He was in my district at the MTC.  I can't believe you were really close to my area.  I was like ten minutes to 20 minutes away from the mission office.  Elder Atherton is a good missionary and I really like him, he is a very good person.  Compton is going good.  The previous missionaries were doing good.  They baptized people but they never took the time to find new investigators.  So right now we just have one investigator.  He goes to church on saturdays and knows the prophets in the Book of Mormon are true.  We are helping him to know for himself that this is the church that he should belong to.  It was good  still in the progress on finding new investigators.  Happy Happy Birthday dad.  

This Christmas is going to be good.  Our ward is having their Christmas party this Friday.  We are invited of course   They are going to have the Christmas dinner.  Then have a little show.  Then right before santa comes in the missionaries us are going to read them a christmas story.  That way it will make the children calm down before Santa comes.  We have a part to play at the ward christmas dinner.  It's going to be fun reading a christmas story to the kids.  Now that's christmas.  I can't wait.  I am going to have Christmas in Compton    That's  this week--  I got fat gained 5 pounds, you came to California which is scary really close to me, And we get to read a Christmas story to the kids.  Merry Christmas and a happy new year. 

 Love Elder Bowles

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday November 21, 2011: Hermana Bowles

¡Hola Familia!

Cambios came and went.....AND I`M STILL IN MOYO!!!!  Hooray!  Hna.
Nuñez and I weren`t too worried about transfers, but it`s officially
official that we`ll be here together in Moyo through Christmas.  Feliz
Dìa de Gracias!  Won`t really be celebrating here, but thought I`d
make a list with my twenty-two years of life of twenty-two things I`m
thankful for here in Moyo:

1. Misiòn Perù Lima Norte/ Presidente y Hermana Blunck
2. mototaxis
3. a mosquito net
4. el mercado
5. la bonita lluvia (rain!!!!)
6. giant statues of orchideas
7. my defined foot tan lines that only come from Moyo
8. unlimited supply of fruit
9. mi compañera, Hermana Nuñez and her unlimited patience
10. having a district of hermanas!
11. my parents
12. serving a mission the same time as Garrett
13. the Book of Mormon
14. internet...emails from home!
15. bug repellant/sun block
16. Spanish
17. miembros de la rama Belèn
18. music
19. beautiful, tranquil Moyobamba
20. cartas
21. cold showers
22. my Savior, Jesus Christ

Spanish rolled in on the much as I sometimes complain
about it, I really am grateful for my Spanish.  Learning a new
language has stretched me more than I thought possible.  It`s amazing
to read things in two different languages and to talk with families
about the gospel in Spanish.  I learn everyday how we`re really all
the same....families are families all over the world .

Best news of the week is that Presidente Blunck and sus asistentes
vinieron over the weekend!  They visited Tarapoto Friday and held a
zone conference with us Saturday.  Incredible. incredible.
incredible.......Presidente Blunck taught us alot about the Doctrine
of Christ and how we need to pray and fast to make it our own (how
Christ made it his own of his Father).  The Spirit of Zone Conference
is amazing, especially to be with this little army of missionaries in
a capilla.

Hna. Nuñez and I organized an activity with the Rama yesterday where
we cut up the directorio by calle (street) and had the members help us look for
people.  It was so effective!  Of course, 30 minutes before the
activity, the rain downpoured right on cue.  BIG.  Wet. Drops.
Luckily it let up just after 3:00 and we could still work in the
rama.With the few members that came, they were able to look over the
lists for people they knew and then divide and conquer in the streets.
 The directorio is gradually becoming an organized reality.

I went with Hna. Raquel and her sister Blancita around Moyo.  Want an
example of the ever-frustrating directorio.  AFter finally verifying
that the street one house counted with was the opposite calle of the
front door, we asked about her house number in the front of the house.
 "Oh no, that number isn`t valid.  Alguien me regalò la puerta." In
other words....the door was a gift and still had the number of the old
house....their house actually doesn`t have a number!!!  Wow oh
wow....sometimes I don`t know whether to laugh or cry with the

The primary program was a hit.  They sang all their songs and everyone
remembered their discourses (talks).  Little kids and fast fast nervous Spanish
are about as cute as it gets.

Hna. Sanhueza is now training a newly released sister from the CCM gringa,
which means I have officially become old and no longer in the "newbie"

I`m grateful for everyday I have here in Moyobamba and know it`s where
I need to be right now.

love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday November 21, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:

We have a lot of work to do in our area.  Right now we are just getting to know the leadership of the ward.  So once we know who is in the leadership then we can visit them and have them participate in some kind of missionary work.  We did not teach a lot but this week we have 8 set appointments with some of the leadership of the ward.  So it is slowly progressing.  My companion is from Idaho Falls and has been out on his mission the same as me.  Yes we cover two wards.  5 hours of church........  Can get kind of sleepy at the last hour.  First one starts at 8:00am in the morning and the second one starts at 12:00pm.  First one is Tongan and I don't understand a word in Sacrament Meeting.  And the second one is English.  Thank goodness I can understand in this ward!

It rained so much it was pounding like it was never going to stop.  Luckily we were in church.  During the last hour in Priesthood Meeting we forgot something in the car.  So we go out of the the room by the gym and we see that the floor is wet.  We are like oh no the roof is leaking.  Then a couple minutes later there was water coming out of the lights.  Just like a waterfall.  There were a couple of lights and water just starting coming out of those lights too.  It was a waterfall in that room.  The floor was getting pretty wet.  So we got some trashcans  to keep it from dripping on the floor and got the floor cleaned up.  That is my crazy experience in church.  We had a waterfall in the church building.  At the same time it is not a good thing for water to come into the building.  So hopefully they are going to do something about it.  That was the one experience that happened this week.  We are still getting used to the area.  Interesting things can happen when you are a missionary.  Tell Spencer to stay strong and it will go by fast.  I want to express my love to everyone and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Yes we are getting fed on Thanksgiving.  We have 2 dinner appointments and I am going to be so full on that day.  I am going to gain lots of weight on that day.  I will just run harder!!  I love you and again have a great week.  Happy Thanksgiving. 

Love Elder Bowles

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday November 14, 2011: Hermana Bowles--MUD

¡Hola Familia!

Today is news on the changes yet, but I´m feeling confident that nothing is going to happen with the hermanas.  Let you know next week.

Wow!  A week of weather that put a damper on things.  Zone conference was cancelled because President Blunck´s plane (with his counselors, the mission doctor, their spouses, and the asistentes) couldn´t land in Tarapoto because of the huge rainstorm and had to return to Lima.  We were all really sad not to see them, but luckily Christmas is only a month away and they´ll try again then.

The primary program was moved to next week.  I think maximum, there are only fifteen kids in the primary.  Little Johnny is still screaming "Sigue el profeta!" at the top of his lungs during the chorus of "Follow the Prophet" so it looks like we´re in good shape next week to perform in front of the ward.  I get the giggles every time he starts to "sing" and hope hope hope that he screams just as loud next week so the branch can laugh, too.  This Sunday was the Sunday of Sundays as far as stress in Spanish.  Us Hermanas spoke in church with the Elders on the obra misional in service, charity, joy/obedience, and unity.  My tema was la caridad (my topic was charity) and the highpoint is that Hna. Nuñez said people could understand me.  After learning that charity is the pure love of Christ, Hna Nuñez showed me an amazing scripture in the end of 1 Juan 4 that says those who love God and not others are liars.  Wow.  That´s about as blunt and direct as it gets.  After speaking in Sacrament Meeting it was my turn to teach the investigator principios del Evangelio clase.  Luckily, Hna. Nuñez and I worked it out so my week landed on "El Albedrío".  Translation, anyone?  I can´t think of the word in English......woohoo!  I had a spanish breakthrough this week.  Went on splits sunday and I visited less-actives with one of the youngwomen in the branch.....I actually survived with my spanish!  The gift of tongues is real and I am so grateful for it.....I need to work harder to have it all the time.

We started having weekly intercambios with the other hermanas in Moyo.  Every week we switch companions and areas.  So far we´ve switched twice and I have learned so much!  I´m glad that we have changes again this week.  It´s nice to see how other people teach and explain things and listen to the Spirit.....yeah, still working on listening to the Spirit. 

con amor,
Hermanita Bowles

Dear Abuela Dew:

Sounds like you´re staying busy with genealogy.  They´re trying to get family history started here, but it´s hard when the only computer is at the church and not very many people know how to use the programs.  Hna. Blanca, the branch missionary, though, is preparing family names for the temple since she plans to go to Lima in December.  How exciting is that?!

We´ve had lots of rain and cold weather here, too.....which means TONS of mud. I learned the parable of the muddy road this week. poor shoes.  The elders are lucky that they can wear hardy combat boots beneath their pants, but the sisters are left to fend for themselves in the mud.  Hermana Nuñez and I were walking up a muddy hill to a member´s house for lunch.  My shoes were squelching in the oopygoopy brown and my shoe even stayed in the mud at one point and my foot came free. We looked ahead to a section of the road that looked completely impassable because of the mud. I sighed and said, "well, I guess it´s a question of which side has less mud to pass through." Hermana Nuñez laughed and said, "No, it´s a question of which side has more hard earthmounds/rocks to use as a path." I had this cool moment where I realized that that´s like life. We can sit there and look at the mud, when really we need to concentrate on the rocks that will safely get us to the other side. It doesn´t matter how much "mud" (hardships, trials, sin, etc.) we have in life, as long as we use the surefast steps in life to keep us clean from the "mud." Haha.....I guess I´m thankful for muddy roads some days to teach me lessons like this.

con amor,