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

Monday Oct. 15, 2012: Hermana Bowles--Coming home December 17

Hola Mom and Dad:
Well....I sent my decision about my end date to President Blunck and decided the following.................I`LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!  My official end date is December 17th, but I`m not sure if that means I`ll be home on the 17th or 18th.  Mom, you can breathe free and easy now that I`ll be home for the holidays.  That means that I have  1 transfer and four weeks left since I`ll be going home mid-transfer in December.  No.....I don`t know if I`ll end with Hermana Vasquez because they aren`t announcing transfers until after internet is up......boohoo, that`s always how it is.
Haha...glad you liked the picture of "Charito" the boa.  She weighed a ton.  The zoo has two boas, but only this one (the shorter one) was available because the other was shedding its skin.  Crazy crazy crazy.  When the skin touched my neck I about had a panic attack, but held it in long enough to take the picture.
Well...another week has flown by.  We officially have 2 weeks in Iquitos now.  I guess I should explain a little more about my area.
We have 2 "areas" that make up the ward "Mi Peru."  One side is the city side of Mi Peru.  It has regular houses and pavement and is pretty city-like. The church is on one of the main roads and we live above the Relief Society President and her family.  The other half is called "Versalles" and is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  I always thought of Iquitos with houses built on little sticks and that is EXACTLY what Versalles is like.  It is basically built in the middle of the river.   In January when the water comes in every year the entire Versalles floods over.  Right now the river is dry and so we walk in the river bed with these little houses suspended on little sticks above us in the air.  It is SO cool to see.  Normally when the flooding comes every year, the houses are high enough that they raise the house up a little more and they walk around on little bridges.  Last year, however, the flooding was so bad and rose so high that the majority of the houses were covered in half by water.  All the wood now shows water marks covering doors and windows.  Lucky for us, we can still work over there because the water hasn`t come in yet.  I think that`s one of the difficulties with Versalles because only half of the year missionries can pass by.  I`ll try to take pictures this week.
It is always funny that the families that want to get married seem to be the only ones who have problems with their papers.  Their birth certificates are nowhere to be found.  This one family who came to conference and again yesterday have that problem.  But Hermana Vasquez and I are praying so hard to find the last birth certificate because it is the ONLY thing they lack to marry and baptize this month.  I guess that`s what will make their baptism so so sweet is because we have worked so hard for it.
This week, Hermana Vasquez taught the Relief Society in their weekly activity.  She taught how to make wallets out of Frugo boxes and now all the ladies are thrilled with their recyclable new wallets. Haha  we tried to use it to get references, too, becuse we instructed all of the sisters that they had to call us whenever someone asked them where they bought their new wallet.  Haha....we actually had a reference the other day funny enough!
I think it`s time to end this letter because I am sweating so hard that my fingers are slipping on the keys.
Hermana Bowles

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oct. 8, 2012: Pictures of Hermana Bowles

I'm not so sure about this!

Our little nature lover!

Monday Oct. 8, 2012: Hermana Bowles--Conference was absolutely amazing!

Hola Mom and Dad.......we went to quistakoacha and ate live surri (this giant caterpillar thing) because the Elders said it was the Iquitos initiatory experience for everyone.  Sickest thing of my entire life!!!!! So gross....once you ripped off the head and started chewing, it was like hard plastic with sick liquid spilling out.   gross gross gross gross........

Made a lot of progress this week with lots of people we are teaching in the ward.  The little family that accepted a marriage and baptism date came to conference this week and it was so cute.

Conference was absolutely amazing!  We missed half of a saturday session for the rain that stole the signal, but it was still wonderful.  I love it because after they announced every speaker everyone would look up at the screen and write down the foreign names in their notebooks.

wonderful week.
Hermana Bowles

Monday Oct. 8, 2012: Elder Bowles--Conference was amazing

The "Wild, Wild, West"

Well a new week and a new transfer.  Elder Otis is my new companion.  Elder Otis is from Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  Elder Otis has been on his mission for a long time...... a really long time....
he has 8 more weeks left till he is done with his mission.  When he is done he will go to BYU Idaho where he will go to school.  Elder Otis and another Elder in this mision will be roommates in idaho.  I thought that was a good idea, they were companions on the mission and they will have no problems as roommates.   By the time Elder Otis knows the people down here he will be going home-- done with his mission.  This week was a slow week.   Last week I got the shoes and before I put them on I grabbed the wrong size.  I had 2 boxes beside me and I grabbed the wrong box a size too small.  I went back to the store just to exchange the boxes that night around 8:00pm.   I was going to put them on because my feet hurt really bad, then I noticed in the shoe box that there were two left shoes.  I was like what the heck who did this?   I took it back to the store and told them my story.   I still had the receipts and they laughed and thought it was funny two left shoes.   On that day they didin't have any in my size so I just asked for my money back.  I got my money back.  I was mad because it was such a good deal.   The orginal price was 75 dollars I got it for 38 bucks it was really good.  That's my story on shoes.
Sorry I just thought I would send home my name tag-- I still love ya anyway even if I didn't write a letter.  This week we had an experience where we were walking down the street and saw this man watering his lawn.  I didn't feel like talking religion to him-- all I said was "Hi sir is there any service that you need-- any help that you need?"  After talking for a while we found out he did not have money to hire a gardner and also in that same conversation he is allergic.  We offered our help and he accepted.   In that conversation again he said that 2 years ago his wife died and his mom died when he was 10 years old.   It will be good to share the plan of salvation.  He said,  "Normally I would not talk to you guys but felt I should.   It was really good he is one of those prepared people.   2 days later we were able to do service and help him out, we asked if we can come by another time and do more service and share our message.  He said he would be interested.   So can't wait to teach him--I'm really excited.  It was fun doing yard work-- we were there for 2 hours,  it was fun.
General conference was amazing.  I was so shocked by President Monson's big announcement for the missionary age.  Now a lot more missionaries will be going out, expecially the sister missionaries.  It was good.   I really enjoyed the first speaker Elder Cook, Elder Holland was amazing, he taught the scriptures, he definitely expounded them.   I liked the one by the seventy with the sergeant yelling at everyone and when he came to this specific soldier he said is this your Book of Mormon yes sir!!!   It was a good talk, he definitely did stand alone.  I like when they shared their own personal experiences. I don't remember all the conference talks but will re-read them.  I am excited for that and can't wait.   I felt the spirit and do remember that I enjoyed hearing the council and direction that they were giving us.  I enjoyed conference, the apostles were a lot more bold and I liked that they are saying listen!!!  
BYU whoooo hoo!  Oh next week when you watch BYU football look for the last name of fuga number 96 or 98.  His family lives in the ward where I am serving, and they are huge BYU  fans so I talk to them about BYU and they are getting me a shirt with his signature on it, I am excited for that. 
Sorry not much,  just a slow week and this week will be better because we are both experienced and the work will increase a lot faster, everything will go well.
Thanks mom I love ya.   Thank you Mom and Dad for all you have done for me.   I am really enjoying my mission.
Love Elder Bowles

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Oct. 1, 2012: Hermana Bowles--IQUITOS!

Hola Familia.

It`s a pretty funny thing.......the week normally goes speeding by and I barely feel like seven days have past, but this last week was just the opposite and went on and on and on.  Maybe it`s the lack of sleep and traveling all packed into one week, but it sure has been hectic around here. I am so grateful that Hermana Vasquez and I can still be together.

Sunday night, 9:36, after we got the call from President Blunck, we started packing EVERYTHING.  Washed clothes, went through was a mess.Finally got everything together after internet Monday morning and were in the airport by 4:00 that afternoon.  As we waited for the flight to Lima, members from the branch started was sad though, because a bunch of them got there after we had to pass through security and we had to wait in the "glassed-off room".  Tears started flooding down my cheeks because all of our "moms" came to say goodbye.  They squeezed into a giant group against the glass and waved and waved when we went to leave. We passed notes back and forth through a crack in the window panes until it came time to go.  Walked out of the airport onto the turf and when we climbed up the stairs to go into the plane, we looked back and saw that everyone was in the cafeteria section above, pressed up against the glass, and waving.

The sister conference was AMAZING!!!  First of all, all of us coming from the jungle got to stayin this hotel around the corner from the mission offices called "Hotel Ginebra." It was so beautiful and had HOT water!!!!  I think I nearly spent 30 minutes showering in love with the steam.....President and Sister Blunck trained us a lot on being more direct and being good "planters."  We practiced on getting to "the point" (baptism) when we teach.  You could feel so much love from President and Sister Blunck it was incredible.  I love being a sister mssionary.

The members have been so wonderful at helping us get to know the area. Really, it`s kind of small comparing it to the areas I had in Moyo and Morales.  We are busy almost starting from new but it seems like here, the people acept baptism here a whole lot easier.

Love always,
Hermana Bowles