Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday December 28, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Kristin's Mission Homecoming Talk is this Sunday December 30.  Our building is located at 670 East 800 North, Orem, Utah.  Sacrament Meeting begins at 11:00 am.   Come by the house after  for some food and a visit with Kristin.  We are very excited she is home!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 24, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Wow that is crazy that kristin didn't arrive till 8:00pm at night.  Before I forget, I got my travel flight plans.  I will leave on February 5th at the Long Beach airport.  I will fly out at 7:30am.   It says I get there at 10:30am utah time so I will be there early in the morning.
Of course missionary work is slow during this christmas holiday.  On Thursday we had our Christmas zone meeting.  It's another Reunion with all the missionaries and it was good, the food was good and we played the white elephant game.  I got the strangest gift-- it was a picture of christ and the last supper.  The missionaries found it by the dumpster and it was a really old painting.  It was cool but what am I going to do with it?   One of the sister missionaries was like cool, do you want to trade my gift?   So we traded and it was good.  A good day, then after the testimony of christ.  It was good.
I saw this one house with christmas lights and did get a picture of it.  Man, this house had every square inch filled with Christmas lights.  I almost went to the house and asked them how long it took them to put up these lights.  It was definitely a bright house and it was really cool. Other than that we went by the people in the ward seeing if there is anything we can help them with during this Christmas holiday.  We were able to see some less actives and hope to brighten up their day.  It was busy this week so that was good. 
I got your package on Thursday.   Thanks for the camera-- I was not expecting it to be that nice.  Don't worry I have not opened the rest of the packages yet-- I have to wait till christmas day.  On Tuesday last week I was thinking all day about how Kristin is coming home.  I can't believe it-- she got home before I do.  So lucky!!  We are just trying to look for people to teach and offer lot's of service during this Christmas season. I skype to you tomorrow between 1:00 and 2:00--  that way we will have lots to talk about.  I am grateful to be a missionary. I have 6 more weeks, the countdown begins.
Love ya all!
Elder Bowles

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday December 19, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hermana Bowles returned from her mission to the Peru Lima North Mission last night December 18, 2012.  It was quite the eventful day.  She originally was suppose to land at the Salt Lake Airport at 11:50 am.  We woke up early and were hustling and bustling around getting everything ready--the house, food, signs, balloons, etc.  The phone rang about 15 minutes before we had to leave and it was Jeff saying that Kristin had called and they were delayed 2 hours on the runway in Lima and therefore missed their connecting flight in Atlanta so wouldn't be arriving until 4:30 pm.  Disappointed but not surprised because delays are typical in Peru, we began the waiting game.  Well, a couple hours later we got another call that informed us there was another delay and they wouldn't be arriving until 7:30 that evening on stand-by or 9:00 for sure!  We tried to fill the day but as the Mom, I must say that it was the longest day of my life!  Needless to say she will miss her hair appointment and her release interview but oh well, that's the way it goes some times.  A sweet Elder called us at about 5:30 pm and said that Hermana Bowles was definitely on the flight to arrive at 7:30!  Thank you Elder Higgins for the wonderful news.  Jeff and I and Melissa and Grandma drove to the airport eagerly awaiting Kristin's arrival.  Bruce, Jolie and Kevin came next.  Then Lauri and Ron and all of their kids, spouses and little Jack were on Temple Square looking at the lights and popped over to the airport to greet Kristin.  When she came down the escalator  it was pure joy.  She looked great--very tired but great.  She was freezing so I'm glad we brought her jacket for her.  
It will take a bit of time for her body to get used to the "non-jungle" climate here in Utah.  The weather gave her a nice welcome of beautiful white snow everywhere--it is exceptionally gorgeous.

Today, December 19 Hermana Bowles met with President Young, our Stake President and was released as a full-time  missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was a bitter-sweet moment.  We are so proud of her for the work that she did in Peru, for her strong testimony and for willingness to serve the Lord and give it her all.  We are thankful for our sweet daughter.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday December 17, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Don't forget to show the family the video of me eating balloot.  It would be best to watch it after they are done eating.
Man, Kristin comes home tomorrow-- I can't believe that.  I was just thinking about that all week.  I was like my sister has 1 week left on her mission.   So crazy to even think about it.  Which means I only have 7 more weeks then I will fly home and get there at 9:00 am in the morning.  It's a very short flight-- one hour and a half.
Last week we had our ward christmas party and in this ward there are a lot of kids-- a lot of kids, it will blow your mind.  This ward fills the entire chapel and the over flow, that is how big the ward is.  It is awesome.  It is the best ward I have served in my whole mission.   This week is half mission conference and I am super excited.   We get to see the other missionaries, it like a big reunion-- I love it.   We got transfer calls and me and Elder Russell are both staying.  I will die in this area.  When a missionary says you are going to die in your area it means that you will finish your mission in this area.  So put one foot in front of the other and keep on going. 
I think you are going to be getting snow in the next couple of days because it has been raining and cold so it has to be snowing in Utah.  Here where I am at right now the coldest it gets is about 55-60 degrees.  It's cold for me.  Before my mission 60 degrees was not cold but now it is because I have been living here in California for 2 years.
This week we taught one person but it has been going pretty fast this week.  We had something to do every day so that was good.  And also this week in my district the missionaries had a baptism.  She has been investigating for a while and she is 75 years old.  I have never seen a 75 year old person get baptized but I heard in this mission a 90 year old couple was getting baptized.  Hearts can change.
I still can't believe Kristin is coming home.  It has been in my head for like 3 days-- can't get it out.   Congrats Kristin on serving a full time mission.  I am going to skype with you next week so I can't wait.  Have a wonderful Christmas season this week and love all of you.

Love,  Elder Bowles

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hermana Bowles--pictures December 10, 2012

Don't you love the pigs in this nativity?

Hard working Hermanas in Iquitos, Peru
Kristin is in the middle of this trio

Monday December 10, 2012: Hermana Bowles--Last email from Iquitos

Hola mom and dad.
This is my last email fom Iquitos and I don't have words to describe how I feel right now.  I never knew that 18 months could fly by so fast.  Im sorry this email is horrible....I just cannot even think right now.
Christmas is definitely in the air!!!  President and his wife came this last week.  We had a Christmas lunch, put on santa hats and sang christmas songs, played christmas jeopardy, and watched a christmas video. Hermana Yolanda has now decorated her house FULL Christmas.  When you walk in the front door you feel like you have entered the North Pole or something with all of the lights and swirling christmas trees.  She covered her couch cushions to look like presents.
Remember Jack and Mariela from Morales?  President wrote me and said that his wife was finally baptized!  It is so incredible how this family is finally active.  How special that we were able to help them.
Iquitos is such special place.  no....lima norte is such a special place.  I will see you all soon :)
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday December 10, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear mom and dad:
We had zone conference this week. a couple of different zones came together and waited to hear the instructions of our leaders and our mission president.  It was really good-- there were good trainings. There were some on how we should present ourselves as missionaries when we are with other people.  We were practicing new training skills and we did some practice teaching.  I love zone conference.  They all ways have good food for the missionaries.  Everyone knows what the missionaries will eat.  Our mission president told us we will get 100 missionaries by the beginning of summer.  I will be home when that happens.  This february they should be getting about 20 missionaries and in march will increase to 35 and 35 the next transfer.  So it will be super crazy.  When that happens there will be 4 missionaries per ward so it will be crazy.  Also with this new 100 missionaries 50 of them will be sister missionaries in fact this february there are 10 new sisters that will be coming in.  So super crazy right now.
We got to paint some doors for a member.  She needed help painting doors so we helped her out.  We painted 3 doors so it was good. There were kids in the house running in the house and they almost ran into the door  we were painting.  But all is well.  During this Christmas season it is hard to teach anyone but we did teach, we taught a less active.  I think she will come back we just have to keep at it. We did lot's of knocking-- we usually do knocking at 4:00pm that is when everyone is home.  6:00pm is a bad time it's dark and no one wants to talk to you.  Last time we did it someone called the cops but that is another story.  At these door contacts there were some that were very nice and some are like don't talk to me.  On these that were nice they say I am catholic or Lutheran I have my own ways and I'm not going to change.   These people don't even bother studying the doctrine all they do is listen to their preacher, and if they have studied their church they realize that they don't have the fullness of the gospel.  We got to teach.  It started out slow but it picked up a little.   Kristin comes home in a week--oh man that is crazy you are going to be busy this week to get the house ready for Kristin.   What time does she get back to utah?
Well,  love to you during this Christmas season.   I try and share my love.  No I have not received the box yet but today I am getting new church shoes-- it is time to get new ones.
Love ya,
Love Elder Bowles

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday December 5, 2012: President and Sister Blunk's Blog post

Our first Christmas stop was the first week of December in Iquitos.  Traveling during the holidays becomes very difficult here in Lima so all of our traveling has to be completed by the 15th of December.  These forty six missionaries were excited to see us.     
 Our celebrating includes having lunch together, singing songs of the season, playing a few games and enjoying a devotional together.
Each receives a small package of goodies and a CD to share with their investigators that recounts the life of our Savior. 
Let us not forget, that He is the reason for this joyeous season!!!! 
 These next few photos are for those moms and dads who have  sons and daughters serving in our mission.  We want you to know that we love them and they are happy serving the Lord.  

Our sisters are a great blessing to the mission.  The love of the Lord radiates from them. 

Tuesday December 4, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Padres.

wow....crazy day.

couple things.

1. can you deposit more $$ in my account?  Trying to buy a few things before I get home.
2. can you send 5 pictures of me before the mission (ideas: folk band shot, picture from my farewell card, baby picture, something decent) to the assistants TODAY?   Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I had no idea and they just told me...... 

Thank you thank you for the hair appointment.   Hermana Vasquez sends her thank you, too.  She wants you to straighten it really well.  hahahaha.

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY Birthday dad! wow.   feliz feliz cumpleanos.  I hope you feel wiser and have the best day ever!!!

So we are in trio now....with Hna. Farias from Paraguay.  Sunday we were walking to an appointment and BOOM the loudest ear splitting thunder I have ever heard and then a torrential down pour.  We walked huddled under 2 umbrellas with soaked shoes. The good news is that in a trio you can get so much more done.  Four families came to church!!!! 

Sorry there is nothing in this email.  My account wouldn`t open.

Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Tuesday December 4, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!   WHOOOOOO   57 years old --I hope you had your cake with 57 candles on it!
It's okay you don't have to send me pictures for my district-- someone usually brings a district snack.  I am sorry I forgot to send you that CD of us eating baloot I am definitely sending it today.  You should receive it this week. 
Yes Elder Otis left this morning to go back home to Chicago.  He will be home in 4 hours.  Elder Otis is from Philadelphia but his parents moved to Chicago so that is where his home is now.  He left at 4:45am this morning has to be at the airport at 5:45 am.  Now it is just me and Elder Russell till December 18.  That’s when transfers are so maybe one of us will get transferred.
 This week we were not able to do a lot of teaching.   No one was home and it was Elder Otis’ last week, so it was hard to do missionary work.  But this week I went on exchanges with the people in my district-- it was fun, just one of the things you have to do when you are a district leader.  It was no big deal, it was fun.
President Buburt said that it has not increased in missionaries yet but when February comes there are suppose to have at least 25 and then the next transfer will have 20 and 20 till the number becomes 250.  We are suppose to have 250 by the beginning of the summer.  I will be out of here in February so I feel bad for them-- I will be out of here.  I have 9 weeks left can you believe it?  I can't believe it has been that fast already wow.  Yea I saw that on the church news how the church started putting the ads in New York City-- it is all over the billboards, taxi cabs, and buses, I can't believe that.  I just wonder how much money that must have cost?   It is very expensive to do that in New York City!!!
This morning we went to the Newport Beach Temple.  That's why I didn’t email you yesterday.   The Newport Temple is small and it seats about 45 people per session so it was really cool.  It is very nice.  It’s all those rich people there and the temple matches the color of the neighborhood so it is really cool.  The story on how the Newport Temple was built was that the members of that area wanted a temple in their area so they collected all the money from people to donate all through the Newport Beach and Huntington Beach area.   Then they talked to the First Presidency and asked if they can build a temple.  The members paid for the temple and the land.  All they had to do was wait for permission to build it.  Cool story right?   That temple came from the members down there. 
 Not much this week I am sorry I thought it would be better.  I keep going forward. 
Love Elder Bowles

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday November 26, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola familia.
Today is transfer day.  Rumor has it that Hermana Vasquez and I will be in a trio, but they haven't told us anything for sure yet.  I feel strange because this marks the start of my last transfer, but I'll really only be staying for 3 weeks.  AAAAHHHHHH!!!
What a week of weeks of weeks.  S.T.R.E.S.S.F.U.L.L.  So many things went on this week and things were rough, but I guess the good news is that Monday always means a new week where we can forget about the old one.
The most wonderful part of this week were the baptisms of Edith and Boris.  Edith ended up baptizing alone without her granddaughter, but it was such a wonderful day for her.  Family members came and she was so happy.  I admire Edith so much.  Earlier in the week (and I don`t know why on earth this happened) Edith and Nicole sat alongside a member who started going off about the temple (which was completely inappropriate) but before her baptism, Edith`s granddaughter comes up to me and says, "Are we going to that place that looks like heaven?"  Hermana Vasquez and I were kind of taken back and after understanding what she was talking about we explained that the heaven place was in Lima, but the baptism of her grandma was going to be equally special.
Big surprise was that Boris`s mom came to his baptism.  He finally told his parents and while his dad didn`t want to know anything, his mom came out of support.  She arrived early which gave Hermana Vasquez and I the chance to show her around the church before the baptism started.  Boris gave an incredible testimony at the end that he knew he was making the right decision and traced everything back to when he actually read and prayed.  From that point on he could FEEL his decision.
Had the ward mission activity of "Yo Soy" this week--based off an American Idol type program.  Everyone liked it and Nicole and another member blew everyone away with a duet they did.  Marvin (who was baptized about a month ago won the night`s competition with a salsa mariachi number.  He surprised everyone by pulling out his sunglasses and dancing onstage....haha....he really wanted to win the dinner and icecream for two. Who knew it was a ward full of singers.
Thanksgiving sounded absolutely delicious.  On this end of things, I actually forgot about Thanksgiving.  We ate lunch in a member`s house whose husband works in Iraq security in an embassy and she started asking me all about Thanksgiving because her own husband was celebrating it in Iraq. could I forget?  So I enjoyed chicken and rice with delicious camucamu juice and this lettuce-noodle stuff that they strip from young palm trees. Really yummy actually.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles
Hermana Bowles and the other Sisters in the Iquitos Zones.   Also the wife of
the new mission doctor is in the middle.

Edith on her baptism day.

Borris on his baptism day with his Mom.

Monday November 26, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Wow,  Cooper is going to the Paris France Mission-- that will be a interesting mission.  He is going half way across the world.  Good thing I will be back before he leaves to go on his mission.
Now with the duck eggs, there was a family from another district that wanted to feed all the missionaries and you have the option to eat the egg.  I guess they have done it before and they do it every 4 months or so but it was gross.  I have the thing on tape.  One of the members taped it for us.   The reason I could not send it last week was that I didn't have a special envelope to put it in.  So today I am going to get one and send it you.   Bring the whole family to watch it, it is something to watch and it is disgusting.  I did it!!!!
The district is awesome.  I got to teach them two times.  It is a new thing to me but it's all right-- everything is going well.  We are going to have 2 baptisms coming up in our district.  Our district is doing good and working hard.  There are 9 people in our district.  As a district leader I also do the baptismal interview and it is fun.  Everything is going well.
My other companion is Elder Russell and he is from Denver Colorado.  He has been a member all his life and he has been in the mission field for 3 months.  He was in the Huntington Beach 1st ward and he transferred over to fountain valley 3rd just right next door.  In a trio it is kind of tight, we have 3 beds in our room and they are literally like 1 inch apart from each other, so it makes the room kind of tight.
We had a very good Thanksgiving dinner.  A young family fed us a good meal and it was fantastic.  The young family moved in about 4 months ago so they fed us.  It is great to get a nice Meal--l turkey, gravy, all the yummy stuff.  It is nice to get fed by the members every single night-- I am thankful for that.  If that didn't happen I will be doomed because my cooking is horrible.  A good week-- Elder Otis leaves in one week because he is almost done with his mission.  He has been getting sick on and off, I guess it the stress he is having.
I don't remember what happened this week it went by really fast.  It is really strange that I don't remember a really fast week.  I'll send you that dvd of us eating balloot-- it should get there on Thursday or Friday.  Prepare yourself!
Thanks for all the updates mom and dad, you are the best.
Talk to you next week.
Love Elder Bowles

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kristin is coming home!!

Exciting News!!  Kristin comes home from her mission to Peru on December 18.  She arrives on Delta at 11:45 am.  Anyone is welcome to join us at the airport.

Her homecoming talk in Sacrament Meeting will be December 30 at 11:00am at our church building:  670 East 800 North in Orem.  We invite all who would like to attend.  Come over to the house afterwards for a light lunch and a chance to visit with Kristin from 12:30 - 3:00.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday November 19, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Well, this week no food experiences.  Last week was yuck!!!! I survived-- I ate baloot.  Yea I got called to be a district leader and taught at my first District Meeting this past Thursday.   It was good-- we talked about the Book of Mormon.   It was shaky at first but hopefully this week I will be a lot more comfortable.
I can't send any pictures on my camera.  I don't know why it won't let me.   Also can I get a new camera this week because the one I have always shuts off when it wants to and it is annoying.  I took it to a camera shop to see if they could help me.  They said they can fix the lens and everything but it will cost the same as buying a new camera so they said just by a new one.  They said I dropped it somehow and they showed me.  So I just want to ask If I can get a new camera that can works properly. 
This week we taught a person who is coming back to church.  We are teaching him out of Preach my Gospel and are answering any questions he has.  He wants to serve a mission so we are helping him be prepared to serve and he can be a missionary right now in his home.   We have been teaching him and his mom who is not a member of the church has been asking her son more questions about the church and he answers them.   If he doesn't have an answer then he asks us.  So this week we taught him at his house and his mom said, "Do you mind if I join?"   She was asking questions about the church and about her son serving a mission.  She wants him to serve a mission because she knows she will receive the blessings.  It was pretty cool that we got to teach her about the mission and the Book of Mormon.  She is very nice and is very very open right now.  We go one step at a time and can't wait.  We got 2 new investigators, taught a couple lessons and it was a good week.  
Since I can't send the pictures I am going to cvs and print some and you should receive them Friday at the latest so Love ya lots.
Love Elder Bowles

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia:
Well the rains of winter have definitely started and as a standard I always leave with a plastic bag to cover my stuff now.  It rained 3 of 5 days this week.
Stake conference was this week and was WONDERFUL.  Elder Soliz from the Seventy came and so did the Lima Temple Mission President and his wife.  Their talks were wonderful and focused on the basics of keeping the commandments and being worthy to enter the temple. 
Oh and we had zone conference!   woohoo!  At the end of zone conference explained a timetable and showed how the lord is really hastening his work.  How from 2004 when preach my gospel was introduced, and then 2010 with the 8 fundamentals, and then 2011 with 12 semanas, and now 2012 with the age change, now there are more missionaries leaving than ever!!!  Instead of building more MTCs, a missionary`s time in training is going to be shortened. For example, a gringo in our mission will now not pass any time in Provo and will go straight to Lima and only be there 6 weeks!  The new missionaries have so many exciting changes.  But it really is true that for years these changes have been taking place and it`s all for preparation.
Edith`s baptism had to be moved another week back.  This weekend should be really special with 2 baptisms.  This has been such a process for her.  Yay for new families we found this week that accepted baptism!
This week was full of so many wonderful experiences.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

November 19, 2012: Picture--Hermana Bowles

The Four Zones in Iquitos

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday November, 12, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia:
Awesome pictures that you sent!  I dream of being cold.  Hello to winter which means the strongest rains I have ever seen.  Saturday night as we were walking in front of the church, Hermana Vasquez said, "Do you hear it?"  We stopped and turned to face Versalles and you could hear the roar of the rain coming.  It was neat because you could actually see a front of rain passing down the straight until it eventually caught up with us.  It seemed like just a sprinkling and so we kept walking.  We rounded the corner from the church and the rain began to pound down once we had walked a block.  We saw a couple sitting outside of their house and went up to talk to them.  Thank goodness they let us in because the rain began to POUR with huge thunder.  We tried to start a lesson, but the metal roof made it impossible.  Before I knew it we were literally shouting  above the rain that sounded like a snare drum.  We stopped the lesson cold because nobody could hear anything.  Funny and exciting at the same time.  Who knows how many days it will take for my shoes to dry.
Plumbing is a strong word to use in the Versalles side.  They use little makeshift outhouses that perch over the river and it just floats on.  Honestly, they´re more streams that stay when the river dries.  That´s why the water isn´t that clean because it is used as a dirty water escape.  BUT...amazingly enough, little fish still manage to breed and live in the water.  There are whole schools of fish in the merky black water.  In the Mi Peru side it is normal with sinks and toilets.  I have never appreciated a toilet seat so much in my life.
This week we had intercambios and while I was in another area for the day, Hermana Vasquez went with someone else.  They had an appointment with Boris, a 21 year old who is investigating thanks to his girlfriend who is in Lima.  Boris always has tons of questions when we teach him and last week we left him a Book of Mormon and a chapter to read.  Of course, he read even MORE than we left for him to read :) and when Hermana Vasquez went to the appointment and asked him if he had any questions or doubts and how it was going with his Book of Mormon he said: "I read the Book of Mormon, more than what you left, and I felt something special while I read.  I don´t have any doubts.  I want to be baptized."  I think if I would have been there I would have just about fallen out of my chair.
love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday November 12, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad
 This week we did something I thought we would never do.  I made the attempt to eat baloot. (I have no idea what Garrett is talking about--do not know the name for this thing he is talking about??)  Baloot is disgusting. Let me explain what it is.  Baloot is basically baby duck in an egg and we ate it.  Yumm!!!   The duck has been processed for about 16 days and has a little head and wings.  It's really small.  We crack the shell and it plops out like a boiled egg.  We boiled it before we ate it.  This is the only thing that I can say-- I ate something disgusting. I got the egg then put it in my mouth almost threw up but kept it in and I had to chew it.  You can never swallow it whole so I had to chew it a couple of times and I finally swallowed it.  It was gross but I did it!!!!!!  I will send some printed pictures and they filmed it also so I will send that to.  It is a video of our district doing it.   It is pretty gross.
That is what I did this week-- ate balloot.  Transfers were this week so since my companion only has 3 weeks left, we got a new missionary.  We will be in a Trio.  The new missionary is ELder Russell.  ELder Russell is from Colorado and he has been in the mission field for 3 months.   It's going to be interesting this week.
My companion was still sick last week but is better now so we can catch up on the work that we have missed.  A member of the  Seventy will be coming this week too so that will be exciting to see.  I can't wait for that and to see what he has to say to us.
I heard you got lot of snow.   Man I miss the snow.   When I get back I am going skiing in the mountains!
Other than that,  not much this week.  I will send those pictures in the mail and send you the video of us eating ballott.   You should watch it with the whole extended family.  It's fun.
Thanks Mom and Dad,
Love Elder Bowles

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012: Hermana Bowles--pictures

Kristin's Birthday party.  They had yucca cake which she LOVES.

The pocket size Book of Mormon along side the regular Book of Mormon.  Kristin gave one to both Hermana Vasquez and Hermana Rodriguez--they loved them.

Monday November 5, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia:
I officially feel viejita y abuelita. It is so weird to me that 22 has flown by and I was in Peru the entire time.  Here`s to 23!!  Saturday, Hermana Yolanda (below us) coordinated with some of the sisters in the ward and made my new favorite cake YUCCA!! (no.that does not read  yuck, it is yucca  which is some type of potato or something.)  I know it sounds surprising but yucca cake is absolutely delicious.  We started lunch Saturday with everyone singing a Spanglish happy birthday and feliz cumpleanos and then had yucca cake and inca cola.  It was so cute.  Of course, Hermana Vasquez teased me the whole day, reminding me that now that the hermanas can enter in at 19, I am really a grandma in the mission.
Edith and Nicole are two of our best friends now.  Nicole is practicing for her next singing competition.  She recently discovered that she likes to sing and of course we make her sing a little of something everytime we come over.  W
In the sisters conference last month in Lima, President asked all of the sisters to PLEASE be more direct with the people we are teaching.  He said it`s great that we are friendly and amable and smiley and patient, but we should get to the point of baptism. Ever since then, Hermana Vasquez and I have gotten better and better at being more and more direct and to the point.  It`s a great feeling and works so much better in the jungle because sometimes we are with people who just don`t understand.  They believe in God and have lots of faith, but people in the jungle just understand slower.  For example...the other night we were with a family who wants to be baptized but are unsure about getting married. ENTONCES we read in 4 Nefi where God commands everyone to get married.  The conversation went something like this:
So, hermano, who is asking you to get married in this or God?
And what are you going to say to God. God I will marry my wife? Or God I do not want to marry my wife?
If we find your papers in 2 months, will you marry your wife?
If we can find your birth certificate in 5 days, will you marry your husband?
I hope this doesn`t sound really harsh in English, but the lesson really was fantastic and now we are searching for their papers .  In church yesterday we fed chocolate to the little girls to keep them from crying in Sacrament Meeting.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

November 5, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
It was Halloween this week whoooo. No trick or treaters --they rarely do that here in California.  On Halloween night we were on lockdown!!!   We were at our apartment with the door open.   Across the front door is another door for another person living there.  This girl in her high 20"s comes out in her cat costume, pink ears and a tail.  She looked at me and said meow.  I was like what the heck and was laughing and thought that was funny, a girl meowed at me.  In my area there is a street that is decorated for Halloween every year.  The whole street is decorated, it's really cool. It's this really rich guy and every year he asks the neighbors if he can decorate their lawn for halloween.  No cost to them-- he provides everything.   2 years ago we heard it was a Star Wars theme.  This year was a Wizard of Oz theme.   It's literally like the movie and it's really cool.  I took pictures and everything.  This week Thursday through Sunday my companion was sick.  He did not feel good, I hope he feels better.
I think it was from that flu shot that everyone got and now  the whole mission is sick because of it.  Hope everyone get's better.  We have 4 elders in our apartment complex  but we have our own apartment.  My weight is 150 so pretty good.
I did get shoes about 3 weeks ago, got another pair so when I found the shoes I wanted and just before I paid I looked in the box and there were 2 left shoes.  I almost made the same mistake again so I'll get some new ones next week.
We dropped our investigator this week, it got a little too crazy so we are taking a step back.  He can call us if he is willing to learn more.  We didn't get to teach a lot.  We taught a little here and there because my companion Elder Otis is sick.  We just need him to get better soon so we can go out there and work.  This next week better be better.
Here is some news about the mission.   Our Mission President said that in the upcoming months we would be getting more missionaries.  Our mission has 150 missionaries.  In a couple of months we would be getting about 100 more missionaries to have 250 total missionaries.  About 50 sisters will come into the mission so lot's of missionaries world wide.  Everything is well.  The weather is perfect right next to the beach.  It is great--you couldn't ask for better.  
 Thanks mom and dad for your support.
I love you.
Love Elder Bowles

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4, 2012: Hermana Bowles--pictures

I'm at a look-out from the Elder's side of Tarapoto.  Beautiful...and burning usual.  There is no escape from the heat.  Even when you walk into a house, the roof is sheets of metal which turns every house into an oven.  Rare to find a fan either.
Ha ha ha.......taking a drink from "Ashiyacu Falls."

So I'm still not exactly sure why we went here for P-day.....we were all under the impression that it would be a tour resort with basketball courts and everything, but all we could look at was the giant pool....that was forbidden.  How I would have loved to "accidentally" fall in!

November 4, 2012: More pictures of Hermana Bowles

Here we are in the famous motokars.  When I first got her, I felt like I would fall out the side.  Everyone zooms in and out of traffic because there are no traffic lines and apparently no traffic laws nor seatbelts.  It's kind of strange to see a car now...they seem so big and out of place.

Here we are at the giant "Hose" swing in the "Biodiversidad."  It is about one hour outside of Tarapoto.  We went here with the entire zone for P-Day.  Although there are a few animals in the tiny zoo, Let's be honest and say we just went for the giant hose swing!!  ha-ha that is, until two hermanas fell off.....oops.  

Here are the four of us that used to be in Rama Partido Alto in Tarapoto--L - R:  Hermana Vasquez, Me, Elder Salinas (Ecuador), Elder Arcela (Peru).
thinking about it, it was a special thing to have two companionships (and originally 3!!!) in the same branch.  In Iquitos and Lima there are multiple wards that share one companionship.  President Blunck said it was part of an effort to reactivate using the hermanas.  He says that with the Hermanas, their attendance went up dramatically and now he's pulling us out so we can baptize!!

Sunday November 4, 2012: Pictures and letters from Hermana Bowles

Never thought I would have a picture with a machete.  Familia Vego had various coco palms in their backyard that the husband wanted to cut down to make room for a soccer field out back.  The District went over there one Wednesday for service to cut down the coco palm.  The Elders hacked and hacked with their little hatchet and started to push.  A huge Crrraaack let out and the tree fell.  It was incredible to watch!  A member who was with us named Emerson started cutting open the cocos and we drank the water.  I always thought it was white inside a coconut (like milk).  But it turns out the pulp is white and the liquid is clear like water.

I think I got a little excited with the pumas.  To date, I have only seen pumas, turtles, parrots, anacondas, dolphins (did you know there are PINK dolphins in the Amazon?), spiders, and monkeys...
My favorite part of walking down the street is that sometimes people own these little monkeys that they put on leashes so they don't escape and cause disasters.  Either that or you hear a parrot whistling or laughing (which sounds oddly like a person).  We shout "Amora, Amora" to them and sometimes they respond back.

This is the last of the legendary zone of hermanas.  Now all of the hermanas have been taken out of Tarapoto.
From L to R:  Bowles, Vasquez (Peru), Orellana (Guatemala), Gee )USA), Boyer (USA), Unbomirsky (Argentina), Mamani (Peru), Sandovalin (Ecuador)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday Oct. 29, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia:

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the package this week!!!  It was like my birthday came an entire week early!  I wore the skirt yesterday and the sisters commented on how cute it was.  Thanks for the Book of Mormons in English, too.  Hermana Vasquez and Rodriguez are thrilled with the tiny little treasure.

That is the most incredible fact about the number of missionary applications that have gone in.  President came this week and when Hermana Blunck came around checking the apartments, we talked to her for a minute.  She told us that President received a request that he send the number of sister missionaries needed/wanted in the mission and he sent back the reply of 20.........TWENTY!!!  Can you even imagine??  That would be doubling the number of sisters in the zone.  Of course, it will take a while before all of these applicants are in the field, but it will be such a blessing to missions like ours that have gone down in the number of missionaries.

We spent a lot of time in the Versalles side this week and found a lot of new families.  The rain was really bad several days and we had to use the elder`s old boots form the house.  They were about ten sizes too big and we looked kind of ridiculous, but our shoes were preserved!  The only difficult part was walking through paved road Mi Peru and being laughed at by people in the street before making it to the mud of Versalles.

Hermana Edith never ceases to amaze us.  Came to church with her granddaughter yesterday and signed up to give us lunch next week!  She faithfully does everything we ask her to and is such an example---and she`s not even baptized yet.!!

Can I go with you in your new calling?  Primary programs are my favorite time of the year in a ward.  Yesterday we were at a less-active family`s house to watch "The Testaments."  One of the four year old granddaughters was sitting beside me and began asking all types of cute things.  Her conversation went something like this: "How old is Jesus?  Wow....God really passes us up.  He must be really old.  Is he the bad guy?  Look at my tooth--it`s about to fall out!  My mom is making popcorn--can you smell it?"  She was so cute.

THank you for everything.
Hermana Bowles


Elder Otis and Elder Bowles at the "Trunk or Treat" activity
for the three Fountain Valley Wards.  Aunt Natalie's sister Tiara and her husband
found Elder Bowles and sent us this picture---THANKS!

Monday Oct. 29, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Man what a small small world we have here.  I was at the trunk and treat and he was like "Are you Elder Bowles?"  I said yes.   He said,  "My wife's sister lives in Utah and her name is Natalie.  I was like what, so we met and it was great.  So strange-- it is like the 4th or 5th person on my mission that I have met that knows me or someone else I know.
This week we got a referral from the other missionaries.  It is a family where the wife is a member and the husband is not a member.  Her parents joined the church when she was young and her parents are still active.  She joined because the missionary who was teaching at the time didn't have a baptism so she was like okay baptize me so you can have a baptism.  She said I don't agree some things in this church.  Also her husband said that also, so you won't get through to me.   But if you get through to my husband then I follow him. So we got to teach her husband and get some questions answered and hopefully we get more questions answered this week.  It was good.
The trunk and treat was good about 200-250 people came and there were some good creative trunks, and some were not that good.  It went till about 7:30 and one car pulled out.  Soon as that car pulled out then another car and before you know it it's over and that's it for the night.  A couple of nonmembers came, a part member family and I think maybe a less active came.
Yesterday was the combined Priesthood and Relief Society Meeting and the Bishop spoke.  He is a good faithful Bishop.  He talked about the power of forgiveness.  He talked about being offended.  Sometimes a person is offended then they leave the church for the most ridiculous thing ever.  Then he talked a lot on forgiving people.   There was one story he read.  I forgot the name of the person who originally told this story.  The story went that the owner walks in his house and the baby is gone, then he sees the dog walking up to the owner with blood on his face, maybe the baby was hurt I don't know but he was mad at the dog.  Instead of finding out why the dog was bloody, he killed it.  When he went in the back he saw a dead coyote.  Then he realized the dog was protecting the baby and the dog killed the coyote.  He realized he should have forgiven the dog.  So it was a really good talk about forgiveness.  This bishop was expounding the scriptures.  He would read something then said let's turn to the scriptures then he would show us.  Man he is a great missionary and definitely cares about everyone.
Also this week I threw up on Wednesday, in for the night, then on Thursday and Friday my companion Elder Otis got sick.  Everyone is getting sick.  So this week we got a new investigator and we got sick, how does that work?  But all is well.  
Elder Bowles

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday October 22, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Those 5 things I don't know I probably wrote them in my journal at the apartment. There are good times and bad times in the mission but you only seem to remember the good times.  Speaking of the good times we had one this week.  We were able to meet our investigator and he is  opened up to us and the gospel.  We were there for a long time, .... a long time if you know what I mean.  It was last week and he was talking for 3 hours yes but our investigator has been through a lot.  He was trying to get everything out of his chest and he did.  While we were talking to him, I am smelling this smell, but I didn't say any thing.  But all of the sudden I was like what is that awful smell?   Our investigator had to get up and looks down, his dog pooped 3 times in the house, he was like what the heck and was mad at the dog, it was quite the experience.  It has been busy for our investigator and I can't wait to start teaching him.  In the lesson he said "I will do what God wants me to do."  So we told him in 2 Nephi in The Book of Mormon it will tell you what God wants you to do--2 Nephi 30-33 and he said he will read it.  
Oh another thing I forgot to mention to grandma is that we gave our investigator Gary a Book of Mormon.  I guess he told us one day he dropped the Book of Mormon in the dishwasher.  He took it out and was trying to dry it over the next couple of days.  The only thing that got soaking wet was the index.  Literally where the index starts to the end it got wet.  Now that's a miracle-- pretty cool right.  We are continuing to teach him.  He is open and his heart is softening.
We also met a recent convert and she had a question, "Why is tithing a blessing?"  We told her 1.  Pay tithing first then bills then you will start to know the blessings.  2.  To help those in need.  3. Also tithing is a benefit to others and faithful members of the church, and 4.  Go to the temple.  After we told her those 4 things all of her concerns were swept away.  It was really cool.  She was like, "I better go to the temple and receive the inspiration.  All is well.
We met a less active this week who wants to come back to church so now we are starting to teach him.  We are excited about that.  Yes the primary program was yesterday and it was great.  There was a lot of kids-- lots of kids.  It is like a Utah Ward.  It is a good ward and I love it.
Derek is home from his mission and can't believe it.  Kristin will be next then me I need the address for Derek's home so I can write him a letter.  An exciting time for him.
Thanks Mom and Dad
Love Elder Bowles

Monday October 22, 2012: Hermana Bowles--Hermana Vasquez and Hermana Bowles have another transfer together, Woohoo!

Hola Familia:

Marvin was baptized this week!  It was really neat because his friend, Jose, who gave us the reference was able to be the one who baptized him Saturday AND confirmed him Sunday.  It was a touching experience for the two of them.  Jose is preparing for the mission and helped his friend Marvin a lot.  Marvin`s mom came to his baptism and isn`t a member, but says that she really appreciates the positive influence all of this is having on her son.

There are these two ladies we are teaching that we have become attached to......Hermana Enith is the mom, well, grandma....and has been such a sweetheart.  This week when we went for the third lesson she had read in her folleto (pamphlet) and when we asked her what she had read, she told us that she felt like Joseph Smith because she was confused, too.  She came to church the first time this week and found some of her friends in the chapel.....It was funny because right there in Sacrament Meeting her friend asked her when her baptismal is and Enith said something like, "Don`t rush me into this baptism thing, I`m still visiting."  She`s such a happy person and tells us all about how she really wants to know the truth.  Hopefully we can help her find her answer this week.

So hermana vasquez had the brilliant idea to ask this "costurera" (i don`t even know the word in english now but it`s the lady who makes clothes?) to make us some skirts.  Mine died months ago and I only use them out of necessity and we`ll be going to buy fabric today to have some skirts made this week (don`t worry....she`s reliable and is making all of the formals for the girls going to this huge church dance this week)......there`s money on my card, right?
Last night we had a family night at one of the member`s house and at the end of everything we started playing hot potatoe (la papa se quema).  As we were playing the grandma went into her kitchen and returned with two plates of arroz con pollo y papas.  She said, "I couldn`t let you settle with burned are some good ones!"  how yummy.

Hermana Vasquez and I found a mouse in our house this week.  We`re going to buy poison for it today, but I`m kind of afraid to poison it after what happened to the dead squirrel that got stuck in your wall and stunk up your entire house.....we`ll have to come up with a good plan.  However, we`re still trying to figure out how a mouse got into a second story in the first place.........

I guess you should know that I have seriously been considering straightening my hair here.  Everyday the frizz and the texture is a battle that I am losing.   As noted in pictures, the usual-do is a sad clumpy braid down the side because it is the only thing that somewhat manages the lion`s mane.   Input??????

Did I mention that Hermana Vasquez and I have another transfer together?!?!  Woohoo!  I am so so happy about that.  We`re really seeing fruits of our efforts here and are hoping to help the ward stabilize. 

Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Hermana Vasquez and Hermana Bowles in Iquitos

Marvin got Baptized by his friend.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Oct. 15, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Everything is going well.   Don't worry I will have my companion enjoy the last weeks of his mission.   We got a ton of rain here.   Luckily we were inside when it happened.  My companion Elder Otis said in the night there was a super loud thunder and he thought a bomb went off.  I was sleeping like an angel and I heard nothing.
Another big game next week with BYU and Notre Dame.   I heard Notre Dame is really good and never lost a game and they are ranked 5 in the nation.  Well that is going to change --we are going to pound them and win it at their home.
This week was again slow.  The person that we were going to teach called and cancelled, but we were able to resscedule and he is interested in what we have to say.  He told us that his wife died two years ago so we are going to teach him tomorrow and teach the plan of salvation and he will know he can be with his wife together forever.   It's going to be good.
Throughout the week we have been visiting less actives, formers and trying to find new investigators.   We visited this one less active last week.  We go there and he is just a guy who talks and talks.  We couldn't hardly say a thing.  We finally left and felt quite frustrated.
I had a cool experence this week.  We were planning to go by a recent convert's house.  She has been a member for about 5 months.   Before we left I felt like I should bring the temple Ensign magazine. We go over there and they let us in but said they only had a half an hour because they were going to the temple prep class.   I was like oh that is really cool because we were over here just for that and to talk to you about that.  She was like who told you, how did you  know. "  I said I don't know no one told me,  I just felt like we should talk about it."   I reach into my backpack and pull it out and showed them the temple Ensign magazine.   Now she believed me and we talked about the temple and how to pre pare for it.   It was a really cool experience.   We were there at the right time at the right place. That is all for this week.
Love ELder Bowles-- love ya