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)