Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday May 21, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia!

We met the sweetest girl this week. 17 year old Lourdes is the younger sister of Kelli, a woman with four kids that we met knocking on doors.  We started teaching the two of them, but the second visit was just with Lourdes.   When we came by their house that night, she said, my sister is busy but I can listen!   She came to church yesterday and the Young women in the branch were so wonderful with her with by being friendly.   She accepted baptism for June 9 J so we`re working towards that. :)

The special part about Lourdes is that she came to church even though she was incredibly nervous.  Lourdes had an operation for what appears a cleft palate and talks a Little funny.  You can understand her perfectly, it`s just the tone of her voice that is different.  She told us she didn`t want to go and have to talk to people, but we promised that we would be with her if she was uncomfortable with something.  Thanks to the branch sisters, she was a success story this week!  Testimony of what President Hinckley said that everyone needs a calling, a friend, and nourishment from the good Word of God.  Lourdes was a highlight this week.

Hermana Blanca (a sister in the branch) travelled all the way outside of Tarapoto (more tan 2 hours) to bring names and dates to do her family history and send names to the temple this week.  We had a noche de hogar with their family about family history and the question came up about what happens if they can`t find everything.  We read a scripture in the Book of Mormon about how we are saved after all we can do.  This applies that are families, too, will be saved after all we do. We found her in front of her house and she greeted us with a big hug and smile and said that she hadn`t found everything, but she wrote down everything she could and knew it would be enough.  Faith in action :)  Family history work really brings you closer to the spirit.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

The Hermanas in the jungle areas

The beautiful sky of Moyobamba.  This picture is take in front of Hermana Bowles' house.

A joyful rainy day moment!

Monday May 21, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad.  
To let you know-- I am going to the UPS store to send
my bike home.  It should get there on Wednesday or Thursday.  I am
getting that settled today.  Don't get mad at me I just have a hard
time taking pictures.  It's just we are so fucosed on the work to save
souls and it is hard to take pictures, I am sorry.  I will get a
picture of my companion and the new car.  I also have a hard
time getting my camra and sending it through the computer.  I tend
to leave the connector at the apartment.  I am sorry I forget.  I do
want to be a photogopher as a hobby to take landscape and temple
picutures.  I would like that.

It was an awesome week.  We were walking to a less active's house and as
we were walking, one of the houses had like 4 different telescopes pointing
to the sun.  I was like what going on here?  I don't want to look at
the sun I will get blind.  They said it's the eclipse where the moon
and the sun cross over.  We got to look through the telescope and see
the moon crossing over the sun.  It was really cool.  Somehow the
telescope protects your eyes and you can look at the sun.  It was
really cool it did not hurt my eyes.  They gave us some kind of
really good sunglasses for us to look at the sun.  If you don't look at
the sun you can't see anything so these are designed to look at the
sun.  It was really cool.    They told us that on June 5th and 6th
3:00pm to 8:00pm that's when planet venus will cross over the sun.  it
will be a dark black circle in the middle of the sun.  So that was
cool-- I will be expecting that.

This whole week me and Elder Assey have been praying for a new
investigator.  We have been trying to find new people to teach about
the gospel.  Yesterday before we left  the apartment we prayed that
we will have a new investigator tonight.  With that faith and
determination we moved forward.  We went by a potential who said he
would be interested in hearing our messeage.  We go by and his wife was
home.  He has a wife and two kids a boy and a girl kidergarten age.  We
got to know about their family and what he does for work.We shared our
message about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus
Christ and how it is here on the earth.  Me and elder Asay hit hard on
how you can have the opputunity to be sealed with your family together
and forever.  We said it a couple more times in the lesson.  The
spirit was so strong in the lesson.  The 1st lesson flowed really
smooth and they had no questions and they felt the spirit.  I said may
we come back next week and share more of our meesege with you?  We
have more to share and more about God's love for us.  He said we can
come back.  And we asked him what do you think of our message that we
shared.  He said I like it and you talked about how you we can have an
eternal family after this life.  I like it.  I know he and his wife
liked the messege that we shared.  I just see it in their eyes.  it
was cool and a powerful lesson.  Since we are able to come back and
share more we have 2 investigators.  Yes!!!  and it's a family.  It
just shows that Heavnly father does answer prayers.  We had faith but
we also had to put in the work.  It was so awesome.  That's my
spiritual experence --God Answers Prayers!!!  
Thanks mom  I will try and take more picutres and bring the connector
with me at all times.  You will get pictures next week.  Good luck with your last week of school.
 Thanks I
love You  Take care.  Love Elder Bowles

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hermana Bowles 5-115-12: Letter excerpts

I don't think I have ever had such a hunger for the scriptures or reading in general.  I had such an appreciation for General Conference.  I loved President Monson's talk about "Matters of eternity" and his call to "come home."  Sitting there with the saints in Moyobamba, I realized how international the church is for the first time.  They speak to all levels of education, all races, all nationalities and the spirit can testify in every place where their counsel is heard.  I loved Elder Anderson's twist of "What think ye of Christ?" to "What thinks Christ of me?"  It is such a powerful question and makes me reflect on President Monson's closing statements of "settle your differences in your families now."  The atonement of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can heal EVERYTHING.  I know I'm a missionary and have a testimony, but it is amazing that things like that I feel like I'm learning for the first time.  However, I think one of the classic lines used by President Uchtdorf will be used for years to come:  "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you do."

 I learned something from Preach My Gospel this morning.  We should relate whatever message back to the restoration and it really all depends on the Spirit.  I guess that's the hardest and easiest part of all.  I guess that's when I just have to put my worries aside and DO something.  I like altering the words in a scripture in 2 Nefi 25:23.  Here we learn that it is by grace  that we are saved after all we can do.  You can change "grace" for "the spirit" and now we learn that the spirit will "save us" (guide us) after all we can DO.

It's a lot like when we visited Yola's Chacra (farm).  It was slick with mud, and as I followed Yola down one of the embankments, I was so scared of falling.  I kind of froze just looking around worried...but then the thought came...if you don't try, of course you won't fall, but you're not going to go anywhere either!  Life lesson, right?  ha-ha  ...the things you learn in the jungle!

Here are "Las bellezas" (the beauties) currently stationed in Moyobamba.  There are around 10 hermanas  in Tarapoto, 4 in Moyo, and 6 in Lima.  

"Mother and daughter"
I like being companions with Hermana Rodriguez because she likes to be healthy too.  We exercise in the  morning and eat lots of fruit.  This will be our third change in Moyo together.

Here is the zone leaving "Las cuevas de palestina" a few weeks ago.  I love how BEAUTIFUL it is here.
It is a bit like "Indiana Jones" and "The Testaments."

Hermana Rodriguez and Me.  We have named ourselves "Pitufo" y "Platanito" (Smurf and Planato).  I'm sure you can probably see us walking down the road about a mile least we can never get lost!

These are the stairs that lead up and down to "Tauhisco"--down by the Rio Mayo.  Isn't the lift blue Japanese  hut so cute?  There are more than 200 steps...I guess you could look at the steps like the mission right?  I'm halfway, but still have a long way to go.

Excerpts from letters from Hermana Bowles

Moyobamba is a Discovery-channel-lovers paradise.  From sunrise to sunset it is absolutely gorgeous.  The air is pure and clean and whenever I'm lost, I look to see where "Moro" (the giant mountain) is.  "Moro" is my compass...ha-ha, who needs a GPS here?  My favorite  "Discovery Channel Moment" is seeing ants carrying leaves.  I tried to take an up-close shot and it turned out so-so.  These little tiny insects are so strong and carry bitten-off leaf fragments bigger than they are one after the other.  "Chicharras" are an insect here that I heard more when I first arrived, but everyone in a while one pops up.  They perch on tree trunks or on walls and make this really annoying "shshsh" it's a high pitched annoyance.  One got stuck in the house once.  For a few seconds I wished that I could turn off my hearing aids like Garrett does!

Right after I sent the last package, the most beautiful rainbow broke out across the sky.  It was a beautiful, full, overarching complete rainbow that framed all of Moyobamba.  Hermana Rodriguez taught me that dark vibrant rainbows are "machos: (males) and their more transparent partners are "embras" (females).  The most beautiful part of the rainbow was that it was a complete pair arching over the sky.  So gorgeous that I had to write and tell you about it!  I know, quite a moment for the camera but we were leaving for  appointments and so I didn't have it with me.  I stared at it with my head straining out the back of the moto as we drove to the appointment.  I don't think it's a sight that I'll soon forget.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday May 14, 2012

Dear Mom and Dad:
Hey how are you?  I got some bad news and some good
news.  The good news is that I am safe and doing good.  The bad news
is that my battery charger is not working.  Before I went to bed I put my
implant batteries in to recharge and it was not working.  It is not the 
implant rechargeable batteries, it's the charger that I use to
charge my implant batteries.  I don't know what happened, It just was
not lighting up and it is not working.  So If you can please send me one so I
can charge my implant batteries.  That is the only bad news.  I could
not believe that happened.

Well I don't know what to talk about because I just talked to you yesterday.
I forgot to tell you also Happy Mother's Day.  I told you about the
experience about that anti guy.  He was nice but it's just He had a lot of
anti books.  It was an interesting conversation and he had an anti book
that tells about what mormons do in the temples.  We told him that it is
false doctrine.  At the end of the lesson I told him " I advise you
to throw that book away, temples are sacred and it is not to be spoken
out of your mouth.  When you speak false things you will be held
accountable to God, don't speak or read from that anti book ever again."
After that we left and never made contact again.

Everything is well hopefully we can meet our investigators this week.
Since it was mother's weekend everyone was so busy.  I hope
things will progress this week.  We have one who is really close to
baptism.  We will focus on that person aaaa he is really close.  We
don't do anything, but his kids are already pushing him to baptism.  His
son was speaking and he talked about being sealed in the temple but
now we are just waiting for you dad.  So it was a shock and funny at
the same time.  Church was really good really good speakers about
their mother's.  You are awesome mom and really good.  Thank you for
being there with me when times were difficult.  You are the best
 I don't know what else to talk about I am sorry I just talked
to you yesterday  THESE ARE DAYS NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN.  I love you mom

 Yes, more spiritual experiences and more pictures on
my camera next week.
Elder Bowles

Monday May 14, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Padres!
It was so good to talk to you two yesterday.   It's incredible how fast one hour goes by.
Thanks for your email after...I guess it's just hard because it preps you for real life.   Yikes.
As far as your questions are concerned.....YES there is ice-cream.   There are vendors with their bike carts all over the plaza.   It seems like every little "bodegita" has one of those little portable sliding glass door freezers sitting in front.   Icecream is my little pleasure here.   The best part is that there is one brand that sells for .50 centimo....that's like 20 cents!!!   Don't worry...the most I've eaten is two at a time :)
We aren't running as much as we did tired.  But at least run/walk our laundry up to Blanca's house Friday mornings and then pick it up Tuesday mornings.
Hola Familia!
Hope Mother's Day was wonderful and lovely for everyone.   Los Moyobambinos celebrated with lots and lots of parties.   There was an artisan's fair in the plaza de armas and Friday night there was a dance festival in the plaza in front of our house.   After we planned, Hermana Rodriguez and I sat and watched one of the jungle dances for a bit.   So neat to see!
Rented a combi as a zone to drive the two hours to Tarapoto for interviews on Wednesday and zone conference on Thurday.   It is a lot hotter in's a lot more city than dear sweet pueblito Moyo, too.  I love Zone Conference because they train us with three zones together--Moyobamba, Tarapoto, and Yurimaguas.  If I counted right there are around ten sisters in Tarapoto.....haha if there's a sister in Lima North it's more than likely that theyre' in Tarapoto.   It was neat to all be together.  There is such a spirit around President and Sister Blunck.  It is so powerful to be with them.  Now we've all been sent back to our areas to work even harder :)
President Blunck focused Zone Conference on the Atonement.  We are to focus on that with our investigators to help them to baptism and help them come to church.   I've already seen the power of that with Hermana Rodriguez this week.  The Atonement was a sacrifice for each one of us individually.  I know that Christ suffered pain, death, and sin for all of us, but resurrected and lives today.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday May 7, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Familia.
The newsy-news from Moyo is that I'll still be here until at least the middle of June.  I've gained such a testimony that transfers are directed by the Lord.  I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, and more than that, I'm where someone else needs me to be.  I know Mission Peru Lima Norte is directed by revelation. To think about transfers is really an amazing thing.....that everyone takes flights, combis, taxis, motos, and ends up with the companions and areas they need and are sent to the people who need them.  The Lord's hand is truly in everything that goes on here.
Hna. Rodriguez and I have switched from singing hymns when people hide or don't answer the door or our plans change for some reason and are now learning the Articles of English and Spanish.  We're on #3 in English and #6 in Spanish.  The little pass-along cards of Articles of Faith have come in handy.  Right after we started memorizing "we believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth" we had a lesson where someone asked us point blank about the organization and I felt so proud to immediately respond based off of what we had just memorized in the street (of course, adapted so they could understand).
This week was important because the mission had a special fast.  President Blunk asked us to all fast and then WORK by our "acts of faith" (lessons, contacts, etc.) so that every companionship can have a baptism this month.  Fasting for a purpose is such a humbling experience.  Fasting for these baptisms Saturday to Sunday helped me focus on that promise that "it is after all we can do that we are saved." Hunger was replaced by a "refill of trust in the Lord" with our fast.  Hna. Rodriguez and I are really working so hard to do all we can here to find new families and help the current ones progress.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday May 7, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad.
 Skype will be at probably at 3:30 or 4:pm does that
work?   If that does not work call Sister Burbert.   I
will see you next week.    That would work best for me and you.  I was
writing to you and I deleted it all by accident so I am writing it
all back up.  Well this week went really well and Elder Assey is doing
really great.   We have our investigator and he is really close to baptism.
 He is really really close.  He has been investigating for a long time.  He
does not like to be pushed.  He knows the church is true, knows the
Book of Mormon is true, and really likes our church a lot.  HE just
wants to take the baptismal covenant seriously.  So he is really close.
The Bishop said Steve is going to get baptized when we are not prepared
for it so we must be prepared.   It is really cool aaaaa so close.
Come on get baptized.  His kids were pressuring him--"Dad get baptized."

This week we met with a lot of less actives.   They just have excuses all
the time on why they can't come to church.  Some are I have a  headache,
or my back hurts too much, I was offended at someone or I don't want to accept a
calling.   We shared a conference talk with this family who is less active.
 The talk is from general conference-- being converted in the gospel through his church.  
 you just can't sit around and be a member you have to do the work also.  We invited
them to come to church and guess what, they came to church.  I did not believe they
would come to church  I was really happy for them.  Now the problem is
keeping the habit to keep coming to church.  This is an enduring to
the end process.

We met with this other less active and shared with him the talk receiving
revelation for your personal lives.  He read it slowly so it could sink
into his mind.  He really enjoyed it.  I am glad he enjoyed it.  It was a powerful lesson.
 aaaa so good.   As we met with all of these less actives this
week we would have a conversation and I don't know how this happened, but
we could tie it to the gospel.  So I thought it was pretty cool.  It's
very good to have the spirit in our lessons and in our lives.  The
Spirit just flows in the lesson.  It was really good--we met a lot of
less active families.
The whole mission is doing a deep cleaning in theIr apartments today so we
are going to clean clean clean for 2 hours in our apartments.  We will have a really
clean apartment.  Everything is going great with my new companion
and we are having a fun time.  He is 5 months into the mission and I
am15 months into the mission so I see a big difference.  I am just used to
doing missionary work-- when and how to contact people and doing lessons.
 I try and teach my companion that.
 I hope your school play goes well it always goes well.
Have a wonderful week.
 I love you Mom and Dad.
 Thanks  Love you, Elder Bowles

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 30, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
My new companion and I are both working hard.  Yes we play sports at the church on P-Day.   Since I am in Whitter maybe one day we might hike up on the mountains.  I heard there are some hiking trails.  As you know I can't ride a bike-- I will forever be in car and we wash and vacuum the car every week.  We are keeping the car nice and clean.  All my shirts are still holding up and they are good.  We wash our clothes at 6:30am in the morning so we can get them done for the day.  It is nice to do them in the mornings. We email at the church because they have computers there.  It is nice we don't have to deal with the people.  I don't think you would want to see a missionary apartment.  Some apartments are clean and some are really filthy dirty apartments.  We have pans to cook and yes of course I have made pancakes.  Some days I would have pancakes and eggs for breakfast-- it is really good.   I get a good breakfast.  I finally got your surprise.   The reason why it was so late is that it got sent to a different zone and took a long time to get to Whittier but now I got it so that is good.  We finally got to do service for someone.  We put together a planter box for her.  We got some wood and cut it and put it together.   So that was fun.
I had a spiritual experience this week.   But first a new investigator this week.  She was not able to meet with us because she is a tax accountant and it takes a lot of her time.   But we finally got to meet with her.   She has met with missionaries before and has been talking with them so she knows what our message is.  The only problem is that she has a hard time understanding the Book of Mormon saying the names and remembering all the stories-- it gets her confused.  We told her that is normal and you are not going to remember everything from the Book of Mormon.  I had the same problem so you are not alone.  She really wants to learn.  So me and my companion are very excited to teach her more.
My spiritual experience this week was we visited a less active family. The kids would go to church and drop them off and the parents would go back home and then pick up the kids when church is over.  So we visited them and the dad was home and we asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon.  He said he had not.  He has been really busy.  So I was prompted to say this to him-- I took the Book of Mormon and I used my hand and covered the title The Book of Mormon, all he sees now is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  I said "What does that mean to you"?   He said   "About Jesus Christ".   He has not been reading The Book of Mormon so we explained to him what is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Then I got my hand and covered "Another Testament of Jesus Christ, now he sees The Book of Mormon, "What does that mean to you?"  No answer-- it just totally changes the perspective when we think about the title the Book of Mormon.  Sometimes what we don't see is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  We can get closer to Jesus Christ and God by reading the Book of Mormon which is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  It was really cool sharing that with a less active member.  I would never even think about saying that to a member.  It was really cool.  I followed the spirit.
Well for Skype, my church goes from 11:00 am to 2:00pm so I might do it at 3:00 or 4:00pm.  I will let you know more through the week.  It was great to hear that back at home everyone is doing well.  Me and Elder Assey will continue to work hard and continue to work with our investigators.
 Thanks I love you!
Love Elder Bowles