Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 2011: Pictures from Hermana Bowles

This is part of the walk down to the waterfalls.  There was a rope bridge over a river and everything!

This is Santa Clara.  It's in the other branch but when we go on exchanges with the other hermanas I get to visit.  It's a little "pueblito" down the hill from the regular city of Moyo.  My camera can't capture the real beauty--it is G O R G E O U S.  There is 1 family of less-actives that we vista here.  It is exercise for the day walking there and back but soooo worth it.

Ready to go in the rain.  If I haven't made a point of saying it rains here.....A LOT!  It rains more and more into December and January.  When it finally lets up in the end of January, the river goes down and that's when dengue emerges. YIKES.  I'm still learning to listen for it, but you can hear the rain coming from way off in the jungle.  It sets over the jungle hills like cotton candy pulling at the palmeras.  It's a beautiful gray mist that looks quite mysterious.  Hernana Nunez stops me in the street, "Listen, can you hear it?"  "What?"  "The rain is coming."

Celebrating my 22nd birthday with "fuanes" (back in November).    To celebrate, Hermana Nunez bought  fuanes which is a rice/chicken ball that comes wrapped and cooked in a giant leaf.  Don't worry, you don't eat the leaf wrapping paper.  It makes me think of the Peruvian version of hobo- dinners when we go camping.  YUM

I love the zone tradition of buying a birthday cake and soda for whoever has a birthday.  One week, Hermana Nunez and Hermana Sanhuera both celebrated turning 24 on October 30.  The next week we ate cake AGAIN because it was my birthday.  I'm glad the zone leaders forgot about my birthday because it wasn't on the list of October birthdays and they had to buy a new cake with my name on it, even though it was all in the same week--sweet!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 2011: Merry Christmas from Elder Bowles

Yes!!  Snow in Southern California.  Actually it was a huge hail storm, but close enough.

This little Christmas tree has a history.  It went with Elder Warmoth's Dad on his mission, his mom on hers and now their son on his mission.  They used toilet paper around the bottom to look like snow.

Cute missionaries with the Christmas spirit in Compton!  (Try to overlook the typo!)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dinner cooked in a banana leaf.

Yum!  Eating dinner with Hermana Nunez

The hermana challenge:  walking through the muddy streets during the rainy season!  Where are your boots Kristin?

Here I am Moyobamba!  

Monday December 26, 2011: Hermana Bowles

Hola Padres!
It looks I'll be here with Hermana Nunez for the next six weeks until she ends in February.  Wow...sigh of relief for not training right now :)
Christmas phone calls are such a tricky thing......I didn't want it to end.  It was so good to hear your voices.  Sorry if you have questions I never answer.....just ask them again and again.  It's honestly that I forget because I'm so busy typing and copying over pictures
I told Hna. Nunez that she was in the family Christmas card and she thinks it's really funny.  Be sure to send on a copy so we can stick it on our mini-fridge:)
Christmas is an amazing thing.
We went to Soritor this week. It's in a new area in our zone that just opened up this change.  All fourteen of the missionaries en Zona Moyobamba went to Soritor on Wednesday.   Half of our trip there was spent doing a blitz contact in Soritor with every companionship in a different street.  Second half was spent caroling christmas hymns in the plaza.  It was kind of cold and early, but the few people who sat and listened to us were cute.  One six year old girl was with us the entire time.  At the end one of the elders handed her a hymnbook and she directed us.   A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. It was so cute to see the little families who stopped to watch.  Hopefully having President send us to Soritor will get the name of the church out more there and help the elders find families to teach.
Wow....ojala for eating about six dinners in two days and SURVIVING.  All of the hermanas got to sleep together in our house on Christmas Eve.  When Hna. Sanhuez and Hna. Steimle came over I was laying flat on my back on the bed.  They looked in and saw me and started laughing.  " looks like you're four months pregnant", they said.  If that doesn't go to show how much food I ate then I'm not sure what does.
The branch talent show was great.  LOTS of people came and more importantly both us and the elders had families of investigators who came!   FAMILIES!   We got so excited with the parents walked in with their five to six hijitos walking in behind them.  The primary kids danced cool cultural dances and I think that was my favorite part.  Enjoyed panatin and chocolate and felt so christmasy.
It was neat to spend Christmas in Belen (bethlehem).  My branch is the "Belen Branch."   To think about the significance of that throughout the whole month made it really special.
Belen...a great piece of paradise.
lots of Moyobambina amor,
Hermana Bowles

Pictures from Elder Bowles

Crazy zone meeting
Garrett with some Elders in front of the Los Angeles Temple

Monday December 26, 2011: Elder Bowles

Dear mom and Dad,
It was good talking to you on Skype.  Well I have been out for a year and I can do it one more year!!  It will go by so fast, then I will be home.  Crazy, I try and not think about it.  Well Carson is really close to my mission and I hope they don't try and find me in Compton.  I will be hidden ha ha.   We talked a lot yesterday so I don't know what to talk about.  We have a baptism this Saturday so it should be good and he will be confirmed on the first!!!   First baptism of the year.  Have a great day and I will talk more next week.  Its just you know we talked yesterday so I am talking to you again.  Love you and have a great new years eve!!!!  Whoo one more year to go.
Love you,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 19, 2011: Hermana Bowles pictureK

Hermana Bowles and her zone on a P-Day hike up the hill over-looking Moyobamba

Thursday December 22, 2011: Hermana Bowles Christmas card

Merry, merry , merry feliz Christmas!  Hope you're enjoying the cold wintery weather and hot chocolate because I'm certainly going through withdrawals.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.  Crazy-colored flashing lights are hung up in the windows and mini Christmas trees with metallic tinsel sit in the corners of front rooms.  My favorite tradition that I want to take home is the nativity scenes.  Families save the pieces year to year, but change the scene each Christmas.  They stack the boxes differently and drape the fabric differently.  Each nativity scene is so unique.  The Pichis family in the branch has one of the largest animal audiences I've seen to welcome Christ's birth--tigers, flamingoes, dogs, cats, etc--so beautiful.  I love this card I sent (that has the star shining brightly above the houses) because I can imagine how people all over the world could see the "new star", the sign of the Savior's birth--even people in little "Pueblitos" here in Peru.  It is tender to see the gospel just starting here in Moyobamba.  The power of the Book of Mormon is real!

Monday December 19, 2011: Hermana Bowles

WE GET TO USE SKYPE!!!!! I am so happy and feel like jumping around in the street. Wowowowowowowowow. I`ll call at 2:00.....and then leave from there to be stuffed to my limit with another Christmas dinner.

Wow Christmas is only six days away! I hope everyone is enjoying the season with family and the true holiday spirit.

I think my stomach is going to explode this week.  Peruvian tradition here is that you eat a big dinner at midnight and then eat panaton and chocolate while opening all of the gifts.  Saturday we have three different families we are eating with--1, 5, and 9.  (Hopefully there`s time to digest in between?)  Sunday we have another big dinner at 5.  I`m prepping.

The plaza in the center of Moyo is decorated so christmasy.  The trees have tinsel and lights.  There`s a giant nativity lit up in front of the municipalized.  No one adds the Christ child until Christmas day, though, in their pesebres.

This Friday is ther branch Christmas party.  We`re having a talent show followed by a chocolatada.  A chocolatada is basically sweet bread and chocolate.  The primary is going to dance, the young women are singing, the elders quorum and relief society are singing and performing a sketch.  Us missionaries are going to do a rudolf the red-nosed reindeer in spanish and English.

Every time we enter houses that have Christmas lights on a tree, they turn on the lights for us.  Music automatically turns on and its this nasally "we wish you a merry christmas" but it`s so cute to see the holiday spirit.

The hermanas continue with their weekly intercambios.  I was with Hna. Sanhueza again this week after being with the other gringa last week.  It calmed my nerves being with someone older in the mission again.  I learn so much about teaching when we switch.

The hard part about Christmas is that everyone leaves for lima or chiclayo to be with family until the middle of January.  The capilla is pretty empty....but we`re still working hard.  Hermana Nunez and I are excited because we found three new families this week! Hopefully they continue to accept the gospel because it`s parents AND children!  It`s so beautiful to teach families.  In training, we always practicing in a family setting with missionaries posing as parents and children because Pte. Blunck says we need to practice like we want it in real life.....the focus of the mission is families and so we practice with families.  The spirit is so sweet to teach pure little kids with their parents.  They are so eager to learn and help their parents progress.I`ve learned a lot about patience this week...and loving the people.

Feliz, feliz, navidad.
Hermana Bowles

Monday December 19, 2011: Elder Bowles

Well new things this week.  Lots lots to tell you.  First --skype about 4:00 California my time. Is that good? Okay second-- that is Elder Warmoth’s Christmas tree.  His mom used it on her mission then his dad used it then Elder warmoth is using it on his mission.  The snow we have around the Christmas tree it's just toilet paper and we just tore it up so we made it look like snow.  Now third --snow had arrived in California.  Yes snow!!! White!  I have a picture if you don't believe me.   A big huge storm was starting to come in Long beach, you should have seen it. There was a dark black cloud and within minutes it started to rain like crazy.  It even started to hail really hard and fast.  The hail started to land on the grass so therefore it was snow.  Hail is a hard white ball and it is snow.  Snow in California!  It was crazy --I have experienced snow every year including in California during Christmas.
This Friday we have a baptism.  Our investigator is getting baptized woo hoo! We have been meeting with her a couple times a week and she says the Book of Mormon and the things we invite her to do is making her happy.  She feels much happier and she is getting baptized on the 23rd of December.  2 days before Christmas and even better she will get the Holy Ghost on Christmas day.  Our investigator will remember that day forever because she is going to be really happy on Christmas and that will be the best gift ever to her.  We are really excited. I will tell you all about the baptism on skype, it will be good.
Last week we were going to a member’s home.  They are a good family.  We go there and there was someone already over there.  This person is a Non member.  She knew who we were and has heard of our church.  We basically talked with her about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.  She is really nice and she pulls out a card that has a picture of Jesus Christ on it.  She said 5 years ago the missionaries gave her the card and she has kept it ever since.  it just shows that heavenly father works in mysterious ways and something so simple as a card that the missionaries gave, she is interested in learning more about our message.  This week we are helping her clean her apartment so she can move in.  She will be really happy for that.  A very good week.  I am going to have a good Christmas.  I will see you on skype  and I will tell you all about the baptism.  Merry Christmas.
  Love Elder Bowles 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 12--mission activity

Singing Christmas Carols at the missionary Christmas activity

December 12: Pictures from the Missionary Christmas Activity

The "Who's" from Whoville in a skit they put on for the missionary Christmas Party.  It was a mix between the Grinch, Shrek and the Cuoy (guine pig)

They had 1 hour of games.  The toy of choice--WATER BALLOONS!  

All the sisters assigned to the jungle area of the mission are posing with Pres. Blunk.
They are holding their goodie bag with yummy baked goods from President and Sister Blunk--brownie, cookies and banana nut bread.  Baked items are quite a treat in Peru since very few people use ovens.

Monday December 12, 2011: Hermana Bowles

¡Hola Familia!
Awesome. awesome awesome week.....with Christmas with President Blunck!  Took a comvee with the zone to Tarapoto Tuesday afternoon.  That night each of the three zones )moyo, tara, and yurimagua) presented their chrismas songs and skits.  Our zone did a sketch of the grinch stole christas mixed with shrek mixed with missionaries mixed with the "christmas cuy" (guinea pig that people eat here).  It was really funny.  Hna. Sanhueza died her face green with two of the elders (family of shrek and grinch) and the other hermanas and I did our hair crazy with toilet paper tubes inside to be the loohoos.  President, his wife and the assistents did a sketch of "president scrooge" (who went from all about numbers to focusing on families) that everyone keeps quoting now.  Wednesday we played games in the field on the side of the church and then went out to lunch with President.  So yumy!!!!....peruvian chicken.cord.on.bleu.  Came home completely feeling like Christmas.
Hna. Nuñez cut out our Christmas decorations.  We now have two missionary snow men complete with plaques hanging up in the front windows surrounded by blue and silver tinsel.
With the branch we`re working on our ward Christmas talent show and more family history.
Christmas loves,
Hermana Bowles

Monday December 12, 2011: Elder Bowles

Well Mom and Dad happy Christmas.
  The best time for me to skype is after 3:30 pm which would be 4:30 in Utah.  I have church at 8:00am in the morning then that gets over at 11:00 then I have church again at 12:00 and that will get over at 3:00 so anytime after 3:30 would work for me. 
Good news and bad new.  I will tell you the bad news first.  It is really raining hard this morning an it will get cold in Utah and SNOW!!!!!  And last week our investigator Will dropped us and does not want us to teach him.  Here is what happened. We go over there and we read in The Book of Mormon and it was a long pause towards the end. He is like I am not convinced and will discontinue researching the Mormons.  I was like no we can't lose you-- we have to get him back.  SO I invited Will if he wants to know the truth of these things that we have taught you. I invited him to get down on his knees and pray to Heavenly Father if The Book of Mormon is true and if this is Christ’s church.  Will was like ummm (very long pause)  no thanks I will pass.  In my mind I was like are you rejecting the truth right now, if you are you should be ashamed.  I know Will felt the spirit in that room and just could not believe it.  He just thought that God could not answer him on a book .He denied my invitation.  I felt bad. It was very spiritual. But the good news is that a couple days after that we got a sweet referral and she says she wants to be baptized into our church.  Her uncle and some of her family are members so it is really cool. We will teach her and invite her to the waters of baptism. 
Craig Sheanshang is coming to my Zone!!!  I am excited  I saw him Yesterday and he looks good and it is going to be a fun zone because me and Craig know what fun is.  So I am excited.  Don't worry I am staying in Compton for Christmas.  That was my week and I really enjoyed it.  Hope you have a good week.  Happy Christmas!!! 
Love Elder Bowles

Monday December 5, 2011: Elder Bowles and Hermana Bowles

¡Hola Familia¡
It should be no surprise that it downpoured this morning.  Changed the zone hike up the moro to next week which worked out really nicely when we woke up to a torrential downpour this morning. 
We worked with a lot of people on their family history charts this week.  Families are so and dead!  We have to be completely linked together :) 
Zulema accepted baptism and we`re working on her papers so she can get married! 
We`re starting to work more and more with family pedigree charts here.  It`s really amazing.  We started out working with the branch family history director--figuring out his pedigree chart.  You know, the one who found a card with missing dates of a grandma?  him.  Anyway, we met with him on Friday to show him how to officially enter stuff into the computer.  We`d entered in everyone but la abuelita de su esposa (his wife’s grandmother), but Hermana nuñez had to run to start intercambios (splits) with the hermanas and it was 9:20 approaching our 9:30 deadline!  AAH!  Anyway....he explained to his wife that everyone was entered in but her grandma, but we were going to finish it this next week.  She dreamed that night with her abuelita who was un pocita molestada que no ponìamos su nombre en la sistema (She dreamed with her grandmother who was a little upset that her name didn’t get put in the system).  oops.  Their family really is ready to accept the gospel and it`s amazing to FEEL that.
Met with a menos activo hombre jovene de 17 anos (less active young man who was 17).  We started filling out a pedigree chart with him and his "abuelita."  Come to find out, she isn`t HIS grandma, but is the grandma of his MOM!  Wow!  A gold mine of information!  At one point she started spilling out names, including the 15 names of her brothers and sisters.  We had a paper and just took note of everything before she forgot it!  In onle line, we were able to order seven generaciones!  Talk about incredible.  "Preach My Gospel" says that family history work helps people stay active and we`re really seeing that take place in this branch.  The plan is to use it more and more.  If anything, it gets the current people to know the information about their own families....sometimes it`s hard to just get birthdays and full names of living people and their parents and grandparents. 
We were able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional yesterday.....the four of us English!  The music was absolutely beautiful
This is going to be a busy week.  Tomorrow we start vacaciones!....:) President Blunck and his wife are visiting us in Tarapoto in Moyo where the zones in Moyo, Tarapoto, and Yurimagua are going to celebrate Christmas together for two days.  Tuesday we`re performing Christmas skits and songs and dinner con presidente.  Wednesday is Christmas games day before we return to Moyo.
Sorry this email is kind of scarce.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles
Mom & Dad:
Hey happy Christmas.  In case I forget I may have said it last week but I will say it again.  Happy birthday dad are you 56 or 57 somewhere around there right?  The ward Christmas party was a bomb!!  It was great with lots of food and I did not finish it all.  The kids were quiet when we read them the story.  It was called the story of the Candy cane.  It talked about what the candy cane meant it was really cool.  My starting weight for Christmas is . . . . . . . .  150 pounds Yes!!!!  I’ve been like that since June.  Don't worry I am in good shape even if the elders called me fat.  They weigh more than me so I am skinny.  Skinny is good I love it.
That is so cool that Andy will get to maybe open another mission in turkey that is cool I wish I can do that.  Mom watch out for dad He might buy a lot of junk for Christmas.  It’s all in the cupboard in the kitchen.  I have to tell you this that on my mission I have to limit how much food I can eat.  If I go past the limit I will throw up.  Last night we ate at a member’s house.  Brocoli with corn, rice, meat and cinnamon rolls. It was so good but I was so full.  Whooo.  About an hour later we went to another member’s house who is Mexican.  Just before we were about to leave the member who doesn't have a lot of money gave us a big bowl of cereal.  This is a big bowl.  I was already full from dinner like an hour ago.  and I was up to the limit.  If you reject the mexican food they will get offended.  So I ate it.  It was good and we left a scripture.   We left and I told my companion, “Elder I’ve got to throw up. “   We walked down the sidewalk, I handed him my Book of Mormon and I threw up again and again.  It was like 5 times I threw up.  My companion was laughing at me and could not believe it.  After that I felt so much better and went back to missionary work.  They key is that you don't throw up at the member house because that would be bad but you hold it down then it will explode like a volcano.  I am sorry if any of this sounds disgusting.
  Mom and Dad you know How you do the 12 days of christmas to someone in the ward.  Me and Elder Warmoth want to do it to the missionaries who live at the same apartment complex and we are going to do it to them.  Can you give me the list of items that I would need for the 12 days of Christmasa?  Thanks
Go BYU yea they are going to be so good when I get back from my mission.  I did not get a chance to watch the first presidency message.  I wanted to so bad but we have to bring an investigator to that if we want to go.  I heard that it was really good.  RIght now Elder Warmoth is helping me send the pictures to you.  Are you trying to make me gain weight!!! aaa it's okay I loved those rolls that you sent me-- they were so good  and yes I did share it with my companion.  I am almost done with it I just have one more bit of it then I would be done with the whole thing.  It was so good thank you 
We have been busy the last three days. Our appointments keep on filling up and we got a less active person to church and he really liked it.  We just taught more of the members not the investigators.  But we will teach our investigator Willie this Tuesday. Hopefully he has prayed about the things he has read so he can know for himself and know what our message is all about.  Thank you for the rolls and the letters that you write.  Thank You
Love Elder Bowles