Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday August 27, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola familia.
Zone conference was Saturday with President and Hermana Blunck.  It was funny because Hermana Blunck trained us all on bathing twice a day in the jungle, flossing once a day, and brushing our teeth once a day.  And she also told the elders to PLEASE wash their sheets once a week.   Zone conference was really special because we were trained on teaching the commandments.  Clarity goes such a long way with teaching.  After all, how can someone obey if they don`t understand?  President showed us some AMAZING videos.   There is one on the law of chastity from the church`s site for youth.   IT uses the analogy of playing for the lord`s team from Elder Holland`s address and is absolutely incredible.   LOOK FOR IT ON THE CHURCH`s SITE FOR YOUTH RIGHT NOW!!!!!!
Hermana Vaquez turned 22 this week and it was such a happy day.  Kind of funny because we had branch council and then afterwards the sisters opened up the pots they`d brought full of potatoes, and rice, and chicken and practically the whole branch came and we ate a birthday dinner.   The Branch President bought the biggest cake I`ve seen and we sang happy birthday.   I think within two days we ate cake four to five times with pop.   Branch Partido Alto loves Hermana Vasquez.
Mariela`s DNI gets here this week with Jack`s birth certificate and so we are SO SO SO happy because they can get married and baptized.   The oldest son, Alexander, 7, was a bit mischevious this last week.  Somehow he stuffed mattress foam up his little brother`s nose, Alexis, 4.  Well, as you can imagine, it got all infected, he couldn`t breath up his nose, etc. etc. etc.   Luckily it got pulled out and he`s on antibiotics now and they`re watching the three little sons a bit more carefully.
Love always,
The ward celebrated Hermana Vasquez' Birthday!

The picture of the green wall with the spider I took right before I killed that insect in our apartment.  It grossed me out, but deserved a picture before its death. 

What a great companionship!  Kristin loves working with Hermana Vasquez
Hermana Bowles

More pics from Elder Bowles

More district fun in Whittier

Elder Bowles and Elder Harper in Fountain Valley.  Garrett got there the week that this sweet lady was getting baptized.

Elder Bowles Pictures

climbed all the way up the tree ---it was so cool, it was like 2 floors up with a rope.  we were doing service.

District meeting fun in Whittier

Monday August 27, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
You went to the mission office?   You were really close to where I was did you know that? Elder Carter and Williams are the assistants to the president.  Elder Carter is awesome and I love him as a missionary.  Elder Williams was my zone leader in my last area.  He can sometimes be demanding but is a good missionary.  Don't worry, I will be sending you pictures because it is now working.   Well I can't wait to see what is in my special box!  I have to wait for the zone leaders to pick it up.  Is it a video game for me to play? a new cell phone? Oh I know an ipod ha ha ha.   Just kidding-- I think it would be hard to get stuff for a missionary because it is just religeous stuff for 2 years and all those years I didin't like clothes but now I have no choice clothes --yaaaa yuckkkk.
I am all better that pink medicine definitely helped me a ton.  My stomach was not cooperating.
Anyway, I miss Whittier-- I loved the people and loved the ward.  It's my favorite ward in the mission.  I loved Whittier and am definitely going back after my mission and visit the people. Whittier was awesome and I didn't care how hot it was I just loved the area-- very sad to leave it.
Well I am in Huntington Beach-- in the Fountain Valley area.  This is a lot like Utah, there are a lot of LDS people down here.  It is like there is a Mormon family on almost every street-- it is awesome.  There are a lot of kids, a lot just like Utah.  It was a noisy Sacrament meeting.  Go BYU!!!!  We are going to win.  A lot of the families in the ward are BYU fans so I ask them about BYU and know the updates but still keep me posted.
 My companion is Elder Harper.  Elder Harper is from Preston Idaho.  He was born in utah then moved when he was 10 years old to Preston and lived there ever since.  Elder Harper is 6 months into the mission.  This is the first time he has taken over an area.  He didn't know which people to vist so I am trying to help him out.  He is taking me to all the members so I will know everyone's face and get to know the area as fast as I can. Elder harper is cool I like him, we get along good.
 Yes there was a baptism last Saturday and it was really good. She was so prepared.  She knows the bible front and backwards really well.  The story how she got introduced was she was working full time and I think it was her neighbor asked if  she will watch her son while she goes to work.  The family was Mormon.  They never invited her to church over the last 4 years but by their good examples and standards they had set, she began to investigate their religion.  She read Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and of course the Bible.  Before she was baptized the Bishop asked her how do you know this is the true church?    She replied I just know this is it.  Pretty cool right.  It was a great baptism, and a very good confirmation.  She had a wonderful blessing.  She is a good lady and a very good person who was seeking the truth.
Every morning we would run to the beach and it is a wonderful run, I enjoy it very much.  Everything is going well.  Down by the beach it gets 80 with a breeze so it is nice, and when the sun goes down it gets nice and cool.  It was a100 degrees in Whittier so this is nice, I love it.

Tonight we have a couple of lessons,  made some good contacts on the street and trying to get this area moving forward and getting ready for take off.  Let you know more on the update next week.  I am sorry I write so little I hope this was a lot of information for you.  I love being a missionary.
Love ya mom and dad
Elder Bowles

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday August 20, 2012: Hermana Bowles--A visit from Elder Torres of the Seventy

Hola Familia.
Had to leave our house for about 15 minutes this morning because they were coming around and fumigating for dengue.   Everyone was outside sitting on the curb just waiting for the dengue spray smell to leave.   Once the spray went down inside we could go back in.   That was definitely a first experience.   Dengue has been really strong lately and so now I feel safer.
Something I forgot last week is that I had my first translating job!   haha......There was a special seminary and institute teacher training broadcast, but no translater.  The District President asked for one of the missionaries to come and translate and that`s when the zone leaders called. me.  Translating was something I`ve always wanted to do, but I have to admit that it was a bit harder than I expected.   The hard part was that there were no pauses and it was live.   In other words, someone would be speaking in English (with the volume really low), and I would have to listen and speak in Spanish what they were saying at the same time.   It`s hard, too, to translate right after the moment, because after I`d translate something the speaker would continue and I realized a better way to say something after.Of course when you`re talking, you can`t hear very well so then I ran into the problem of losing what the person was saying in English because I was translating and it was this vicious little language cycle.   After over two hours of sitting in the front row with the microphone, the translating adventure ended.   I`m not really sure how much of what I translated was understandable, but Hermana Vasquez said she could understand and they got the point.........I sure hope so :)
This week was really special because Elder Torres, one of the 70 came and we had a special meeting with him and 3 zones--tarapoto, yurimaguas, and moyobamba. Wednesday morning was incredible because Elder Torres, his wife, and President and Sister Blunck all spoke.   They talked a lot about our personal conversion and the WHY of why we do things.   Elder Torres tauught how to study better in the scriptures and gain more than just historical knowledge which will not be sufficient to sustain us.   Elder Torres has a look in his eyes of love that is indescribable.   He spoke a lot about how our faith determines what we will acheive and shared many wonderful fantastic experiences, One of my favorite things that he said right at the end was, "You can acheive what you want. Father in Heaven blesses us with our desires. The blessings of your missions will be seen YEARS in the future.. When I was a boy in Colombia, my dream was to one day fly in an airplane. Now as a member of the seventy, I have lost count of the number of planes I have boarded."
Had several experiences this week where I KNOW that transfers are by revelation.   It is such a beautiful thing to know that Heavenly Father plans for each of us so individually.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles

Monday August 20, 2012: Elder Bowles--I don't want to leave Whittier

Dear Mom and Dad,
Well the big and sad news is that I am being transferred.  I wanted to stay.   I loved the area so much and wanted to stay.  The members are really awesome and I love this area.  I am getting transferred to Fountain Valley tomorrow so that should be fun.  I have to get packing.  Mine new companion will be Elder Harper.   I don't know anything about him so I will tell you next week.  These last 2-3 weeks my stomach has not been feeling good at all. The past two to 3 weeks I have thrown up at least 7 times.  I also threw up this morning.  Not normal.  Sometimes I will be at a member's home eating this really good meal then I will ask them if I can use the restroom, then I  go  in and I throw up really quietly.  The members don't know that I threw up but I do.  I don't know what's wrong with me I will eat food but it does not settle in my stomach very well, I don't know what is going on.  So I called our mission doctor and she told me to get Pepto Bismol, (the pink stuff) and that should settle your stomach and you should start feeling better. So I hope my stomach starts feeling better.  It has been a struggle. 
No spiritual experiences this week.  I  have been reflecting my time serving in Whittier California.  I served here for 6 months.  I remember all the experiences that I have had here, and it has been really fun and I loved the area, loved the people in the ward, and do not want to leave.  I loved Whitter the most on my mission.  It has been a slow week I am sorry.  I forgot to bring my camera to send pictures my bed. 
Yes I got my hearing aide fixed and all done so I can hear louder on my hearing aide.  I am sorry there's not much to say except that I don't want to leave the area.  I loved the members and the experiences that I have had-- I will always remember. 
 love ya mom and dad

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hermana Bowles --picture

Ida's Baptism!

Monday August 11, 2012: Hermana Bowles

Hola Padrecitos.
Woohoo for finally getting a picture sent. 
The only package I got had my card in it and I also got a letter from Garrett.....hmm...Elder Bowles....which made my week.  He was so cute and even mentioned how he knows his handwriting has gotten better--it truly has!  HAha...there are still miracles going on.. 
What would you say if I wanted to permanently straighten my hair here?  Hahah....speak now or forever hold your peace.
Such a wonderful night Saturday and morning because Hermana Ida (Erick's mom) was baptized and confirmed.  She arrived at the chapel 40 minutes before everyone else.  When she put on her baptism suit it was nearly all we could do to take a few pictures with her before because she wanted to get in ''la piscina'' (the pool).  I`ll never be able to get the image out of my head when we were in the hall waiting for her to change.  We`re standing there chatting and she comes out, sees her son, and they have the biggest hug of all time. She walked towards us and kept patting her suit down and smiling as she walked towards us.  Hermana Ida is such an example to me.  What an experience knowing her family.
lots of love.
Hermana Bowles

Monday August 11, 2012: Elder Bowles

Dear Mom and Dad:
Yes I felt the Earthquake.  It was so awesome!!!   We were in our companionship study and all of the sudden our room rocks back and forth really quick.  It lasted 2-3 seconds but so cool --it was the first one that I had experinced.  Totally cool.  This week I was sick because I ate this big huge burrito called the giant.  It is really good and big and then a day later I got sick.
This week me and Elder West have been preparing for the funuel of our recont convert's brother who died at the hospital and we were also preparing for the baptism on Saturday the 11th.  First the funeral.  I called her on Monday and asked if she needed help.  She was like yea so we went and helped her out with the program.  We got to go to the funeral and it was on Thursday around 11:00am.  It was really good.  Me and Elder West had the opputunity to go see the viewing but I thought about it first and said no I won't go to the viewing and see him, that's for mostly family and close friends.  I just saw him when he died and that is good enough.  So we waited.  Right before the funeral started the family member who's son died walks in the chapel then right behind the casket.  I will never forget this moment.  It was held at an LDS building and most of the people were nonmembers of our church.   We were glad to help them out with the funeral.  It was a really good and spiritual moment.  The opening song was "oh my father" then a member of the ward who sings acappella, a really good singer, sang for the family Amazing Grace.  It was super good.  After that, the recent convert went up and told about the man and the wonderful life that he lived.   Then the Bisop went up and taought the plan of salvation, and the purpose of life.  He spoke straight from the bible only and used bible scriptures it was all correct doctrine.  It was really good, I was impressed.  Then when it was over everyone sang God Be With You Till We Meet Again.  Then everyone stood up and paid their respects to this person who died.  They walked out and headed for the burial site.  It was really good.  A good spiritual day.
The happy news is our investigator Nicole got baptized last Saturday and got the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday.  It was so good.  She has been with missionaries for like 2 years and it had finally come.  She has made that step and it was such a good baptism.  The church will continue to go forward and forward. It was really good.  Busy week yes, spiritual week yes, and a good week yes.  Thank you mom and dad.  I love you.  That is what happened this week and my spiritual experience was the funeral-- that there is a purpose in life. We don't come to earth and live for 80 plus years with out any purpose. There is a purpose and it is to live with our Heavenly Father some day.
 Love Elder Bowles
I would like a basketball or a soccer ball for my birthday.  Something to play during sports.  Thanks.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday August 6, 2012: Elder Bowles--Baptism on Saturday

Dear Mom and Dad:
First answer to your question-- Yes I got my debit card on Saturday and the journal came on Friday, I thought that was funny.  Do you have to activate the card first before I use the new one?   What do I do.  It has been a slow week not much happened. Still recovering from that experience last week.  The family is doing well and and they are still recovering from their loss, but everything is going well.  Good news is our investigator is getting baptized this Saturday!!!!!  She has been waiting for this for a long time and it is finally here.  Mostly we are just focusing on her and prepare for the baptism.  It is going to be a really good day this Saturday.
These are one of the weeks where nothing has happened sorry.  But that recent convert she bore a powerful testimony yesterday.  It was a really good fast and testimony meeting . I enjoyed it.  There are lot's of good people out there lot's of good members who do good things. That's what I learned this week. Sorry not much to say.  More updates next week.
Love you mom and dad and yes I am doing well-- eating well and yes I wash my sheets.  Some Elders never wash their sheets that's why they are a little stinky ha ha

 Love you bye

Monday August 6, 2012: Hermana Bowles--Saludos de Morales

Hola Padrecitos Mios:
Today is my favorite monday of the month.............BECAUSE it is the monday after the zone leaders go to Lima and they`ll have any packages and letters that were in the offices in Lima!!!  Que feliz :)  Cross your fingers that my card is there :)
Here`s hola to a rainy monday.  It hasn`t rained in a few days and sitting here hearing it pound on the pavement and on the tin roof above is quite refreshing.  I love how we can FEEL when it is going to rain.  It`s a different kind of heat in the hours before and the clouds clump together differently.  You can hear the drops starting off in the jungle as it approaches city limits.  My favorite sound are the giant palm leaves swishing together in the wind.  Swish swish, shooka shooka....their leafy sides swipe into a kind of rain-stick effect.  It`s soothing to the soul.  The rain cuts down the dirt from the motokars and kills the mosquitoes, so it is welcome any day in my book. 
It`s kind of funny hearing about the Olympics.  Friday we at lunch at a family`s house and they had their television on to the London Olympics.  As we were sitting there eating Lomosoltado, Michael Phelps won the gold in some swimming event....I guess his domination continues.  It was so strange to hear the announcer and the crowd start screaming because something like the olympics seems so far away and foreign right now.  It was the weirdest experience.
Thank you for the news about all the marriages and mckenzie`s baby......how cute she must be.  Felicitactiones!
That's neat that you`re in 3 Nefi.  I remember about my second day en el CCM with my first latina companion. We were studying outside and read that chapter out loud and it was this weird dejavu moment of "wow...that took place around here."
Hermana Vasquez is absolutely fantastic.  We love our new apartment, although it bakes in the sun.  We get two fans going but can still only feel hot air.  I open the bedroom window at the side of my bed when we get home at night.  I`m afraid to leave it open longer or sleep with it open longer for fear of a cat jumping in or something.   After the month in the other house in Fonavi and hearing the cats fighting on the roofs every night, that`s all I think of when see rooftops and the last thing I want is a stray cat trapped in the house.  Mejor...I don`t open the window and sweat it out a little more.
The marriage is coming along....it`s only a little wait now until their papers get here in September.
Hermana Ida continues to amaze Hermana Vasquez and I....especially since she and her sons bought their motorcycle this week "so she can come to church on Sunday." Ida will be baptized this Saturday and Sunday when she receives the Holy Ghost, her son, will get the priesthood!!  Fantastico!!  It really is so amazing to see people converting and giving up their coffee, time, and will to change and come unto Christ.  Ida is so sweet and when we teach her in a member`s house, she always brings some refreshment. Normally, she brings "sachapapa" which is a cousin to the sweet potatoe that she sells en el mercado.  The ladies in the branch are always asking us when her appointments are so that they can come, too.
Hermana Gladys, who was baptized in June is happily teaching in young women. It is so sweet to see her come early and stick her pictures and diagrams on the wall.  I admire her example so much.
I cannot believe that it is August....weren`t we just in June?  Every day it seems like the months fly faster and faster.
The work continues here in Morales.   I`m grateful for the branch I`m in and the district I have because there is lots of love.  It`s about so much more than numbers and baptisms, but really loving everyone like the children of God they are.  The members take care of us like their children, the investigators, too.
Love always,
Hermana Bowles