Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 69 - The Mexico of My Mission

Hello Jello:]

Well I hope this email finds everyone happy! The past week has been one full of many stresses and many great miracles from the Lord!

So Yessica's family have totally been putting up a road block on us! Her dad has started taking her to work early every morning and then in the afternoon her mom will take her to work with her so basically this past week was SO frustrating in trying to have a lesson with Yessica!  BUT we did not give up and saturday night we were able to see her!  I was so excited because literally that was the first week since June that i had not seen Yessica! She is doing well, we talked about her family issues and all the drama that has been going on, she still has the desire to get baptized:]  So Tuesday, Aug 19 Yessica will be getting baptized:]] and yes, we most likely will be hiding it from her parents.. which I
Hello Jello:]

We had our leadership council throughout the mission and it was SO incredible. I can't say enough how much I admire President Mortenson and all the changes that he is making in our mission.  I just love the way he works, the way he teaches, and just all the inspiration that he gives me. Granted he told me that he expects to send me home in the ambulance . . . but hey it's all for the work right? haha speaking of going home in an ambulance, I seriously have been SO tired lately!  I don't know if it's just everything coming round circle but man, I have never worked harder and I have never seen so many miracles:]

I got to teach this past week during zone meeting and it. was. awesome!   Ah, teaching missionaries is the hands down the best thing.  Just to be able to flip open the scriptures, ask a simple question and then let them receive their own revelation is such an incredible thing!  I have been very grateful for this opportunity to serve as STL, even though I wasn't too excited about it at first.  It has been pretty challenging and stressful, but it has also pushed me to keep stepping up my game and continue in growing and learning in the gospel.

We were able to find a family of 5 this past week! A FAMILY OF 5!! It was a dream come true, and the neatest thing was that the first time we had left them with the restoration pamphlet and when we came back the father told us that they had studied it, prayed about it as a family, and they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I. just. about. died.

I also got to go to the temple with my golden child David!!  He's still just as great as he was a year ago and is now preparing to go on a mission himself:]  As we were leaving the temple He shared some things that I had taught him during the lessons that had made all the difference in his decision to be baptized.  It was just an incredible heartfelt moment, where it really made me feel like man, I have made a difference out here.  Ah, it was just incredible and I know whole heartedly that David is going to be an incredible missionary:]

I got the awesome opportunity of speaking yesterday (which I love so so much) and I'll share a little something something from the talk:]

There once was a girl
quite a lot like you,
she had worked very hard
hoping her dreams would come true.
She worked and she pushed
and she worked even more,
then after some time
her dreams started to soar.
And then came a shift
a quick rapid change,
nothing made sense
it all seemed so strange.
Impressions and promptings
were pounding on the door,
the more she ignored them
the more they struck her core.
Fighting and clenching
and turning away,
Then came her breaking point
she finally said ok.
She questioned and doubted
kept wondering why,
it just doesn't fit
this dream isn't mine.
A call from the Lord 
an invitation to serve,
her path wasn't broken
it just had a curve.
And little did she know 
this path was a new beginning,
A step on the right path
a time to quit sinning.
And now she can see
with her eyes full of light,
That it's been nothing but a privilege
to serve the lord with all her might:]

I truly have been so incredibly blessed and i can feel the spirit so strongly.  I love my savior, I am so grateful for the mighty change he has brought about in my heart.  I will never be able to say or do enough that will show that gratitude that I have.  Missions are just unlike anything you could ever expect.  They can be so hard, so so hard, at times you feel like this was the worst idea you've ever had. You feel weak, vulnerable, and worthless . . . but then through all the trials and challenges you find renewed faith in the Lord. You find confidence in Him and that His ways are so much better than your own.  I love you all. I know that God is so mindful of each of you.  I hope that this week is just filled with incredible experiences, I can't wait to hear about all of them:]

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 68 - Imperfect People

Well hello my dear family!

This past week has been full of learning moments for Sister Bowden and I can't wait to share some of the things that the Lord has blessed me with!

So last monday when we got home I could just tell that Sister Diaz was struggling or something was going on. She was looking through this adjusting to missionary life textbook and I decided to ask her about how she was feeling.  She started opening up to me and sharing with me some personal experiences and challenges that she was facing and I realized that my companion is facing some major depression right now.  We talked a lot that night, she cried a lot that night, I felt like a jerk a lot that night . . . and then we started making a plan to work on things.  I know that the Lord is going to help Sister Diaz with whatever challenges she may be facing right now.
I also, for the very first time in my entire mission, got sick.  AHHHHH!  Are you kidding me?  Friday morning I woke up and wasn't feeling too great, we went to our district meeting and I just felt completely out of it.  By the time we got home I had a really high fever and just wanted to sleep . . .  but unfortunately my conscience wouldn't let me.  As I laid on the floor while Diaz ate lunch I kept thinking, "You can stay and sleep, it's no big deal" and then another thought "don't waste your time now" Ahhhhhh fine!  As we were walking out our door I kinda told Heavenly Father, "K mister . . .  I'm going out right now and I really don't feel like it, so you better have something good happen."  And He did:]  We went knocking and the second door that answered a girl let us right in. She told us that her brother had been living a bad life, had been in prison for drugs, but then when he got out the mormon missionaries started visiting with him.  She said that he changed his whole life around and she wanted to know what it is that made our religion SO special?  . . .  Heavenly Father is WAY too good to me. So yes that is Shay and we will be teaching her again this week:] 

In me getting sick it also proved to be another softening of the heart moment for me.  I was finally put in a position where I REALLY needed Diaz.  Dang my pride for always getting in the way, but previously I haven't really felt that strong a need for her.  My mindset was I'm Sister Bowden and you can either jump on board or get left behind . . . How terrible is that?  Sister Diaz was there trying to help me feel better and I really appreciated it.  For all the missionaries who have REALLY gotten sick while serving, I am so sorry.  That probably was the worst thing ever!  But I just thought the whole situation was interesting because i have been praying for a month that my heart would be softened towards my companion . . . and it was.  So things are slowly but surely getting better.  I'm very grateful for the patience that Heavenly Father has with me. 

One day we were out with a member trying to track down a couple names on our giant ward list.  One of the addresses took us out to no man's land Montgomery and we ended up going on this long dirt path out in the woods.  As I was driving I just kept thinking great . . . this member is gonna feel like I'm wasting their time. We found this little hidden collection of houses . . . but there was no way to tell what one was the one we were looking for.  As we got out of the car I just kept thinking, the Lord is gonna provide someone for you to teach. He will provide someone . . . and right as we were about to give up and get back in the car a random man showed up on his golf cart.  Haha!  He knew we were mormon missionaries and he invited us right in for a drink.  He went on to tell us that he had been to Utah and around temple square . . . unfortunately his feelings had been hurt because a security guard told him he wasn't worthy to enter the temple.  He did however, take a Book of Mormon and committed to reading and praying about it.  I hope we see him soon!! 

Later as we were also trying to find another family we had an interesting experience.  We were walking up the driveway and right away the mom called her daughters inside . . . so we were left to talk to the dad who was working on his shed.  We go up and introduce ourselves and I ask him about the church la la la... he straight up lied to me.  He told me that he had no idea who we were and that he had always been baptist.  I told him that was weird cuz his name was on our church records saying that he was baptized when he was 14 and sealed to his mom . . . he got super awkward and then quickly said, "I told you I've been a baptist my whole life!"  At that point I felt weird so I just said alright,  "Well if you ever need anything we'll just leave you with our number!"  He took our card and we left, but as I was driving away I started thinking of how I would respond if missionaries came knocking on my door . . . and that is my question to each one of you.  How would you respond if the missionaries were trying to reach out to you?  Would you be pleasant and welcome them in..? Or would you tell them you wanted nothing to do with them?  I super hope it's the first one!!

I have just come to realize that we are all imperfect people.  So imperfect and yet we are everything in God's perfect plan.  He is so full of love and compassion . . . Oh do I wish that I could be that way!  It's been interesting because the past week it's all become so real that i am going home . . . and I don't like it.  I really just want to focus on the things and people here . . . but yet I can't help but think of the decisions that I'm gonna need to start making! AHHH the struggle!  Haha I really just want to lay it all out before I go home.  I have learned so much and I want to really strive to push through til the very end!  Haha and that seems to be quite challenging!!  I love you all so much and want you to know that you are in my prayers every day! I hope that you are having a good time and working hard!  Never, never, never forgot of the perfect love that Heavenly Father has for each of you!!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 67 - His Eyes, My Heart!

Well hello hello my family:]

This past week has just been one full of great and challenging things!

After spending some time in the temple I got to go on exchanges with my girl Sister Laws again!  Ah, it was so so good and it felt incredible to be able to get out and just work!  As we went out to contact our 25 people it was incredible to see how easy it was to invite people when we were united.  I'm striving and praying to find a way to do that same thing with Diaz.  Things are getting better and I know that this next transfer will be one full of great things!

We took a member out this week and the night before I had said a little special prayer asking for this member to have a spiritual experience while she came out with us.  I really do want every member to have good experiences with us so that they feel that fire of missionary work.  Well, we got into our lesson and Stephanie was kinda not happy.  She started crying and said that she didn't want to get baptized into our church if she had to get married first la la la, thankfully the spirit was able to calm things down.  We got her back on board and as we left, I asked the member if she would say the closing prayer.  When she looked at me she had tears in her eyes so my first thought was man... maybe I shouldn't have asked her, but she said yes and we left. When we got into her car she told us that she has never felt the spirit so strong during a lesson.  In fact, the only time she has felt the spirit like that was while she has been in the temple.  AH! I was so so glad! I was so happy to know that Heavenly Father heard my prayer and gave this wonderful member exactly what I was hoping for! 

It was also very interesting this past week to feel the spirit completely working through me during some of our unplanned lessons.  In fact, I think that's when the spirit works best. 

We had the opportunity to teach a guy named Pedro. Pedro has had some really tough challenges lately and is a little lost.  He agreed to sit down and meet with us and when we asked, I really was expecting him to say no. But we sat down and I just started asking some questions, trying to understand his circumstances a little bit better and then just jumped into the plan of salvation!  It was SO sweet to be able to connect the things that he had shared with us to the truths that we know.  At the end, I was able to bear a really strong witness to him about the plan of salvation and ah it was the best feeling ever.  There is nothing that compares to feeling the spirit. Not one thing:] 

This past week has been one of a lot of reflection.  I really took the time to sit and think about the people that I am serving. Throughout the week I felt this little glimmer of how Heavenly Father probably sees each one of us.  While receiving this glimmer, I felt in my heart my love for each one of them grow.  I especially felt it for my companion.  While things have been challenging, I'm so grateful the Heavenly Father is able to change us from the inside out.  I know that people are always placed in our path for a reason.  Our circumstances do not determine our happiness, we do. 

I truly am so grateful for the gospel . . . I can't even say it enough.  I'm so grateful for our Savior who made ALL of this possible.  There is nothing that will ever bring as much happiness and light into my life as serving a mission has. 

I love you all and I hope you have an incredible week!!  You will be seeing me WAY TOO SOON!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 66 - Resisting No More


Well this week was definitely insane!! It proved to be one of the most challenging weeks of my mission so far, and i'll just leave it at that.

So since Sister Bonner has left, I have felt completely on my own.  I know I have a companion and yada yada yada, but in all seriousness I have felt so much weight on my shoulders to really strive to keep things up and going.  On Thursday we were doing our personal study when Sister Diaz says "Sister my side is hurting me."  I start asking her questions to figure out what's going on and she explains that she feels that her appendix is hurting.  I really didn't feel like anything drastic was happening so I tell her,  "Hey let's do our weekly planning and if you're still feeling sick, we'll call the mission doctor."  We finish up and she says that she is still in a lot of pain . . . Aahhh so somehow we end up in the emergency room for 4 hours. . . A nurse came up to me and was asking if I was with Sister Diaz and I say "Yep! So is anything wrong?"  The nurse responds . . . "Oh no she's completely fine."  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Nothing, not one thing. not a fever, not a bump or bruise.  We literally just wasted the whole day . . .for nothing.  Great.

Friday we had interviews with our mission president and IT WAS SO GOOD!  I felt so pumped and inspired by him.  We talked about how happiness is a choice regardless of our circumstances and it was just a great little visit.  He told me to just give everything I have and to stop resisting the spirit:]  So afterwards we had exchanges and I was pretty stoked cuz I was feelin the spirit and I was ready to just get out there and give it everything.  We go finding all night and then the next morning all their appointments fell through . . . soooo it looks like it was tracting time:]  As we start heading out Sister Diaz calls me to tell me that our car has a flat tire and that she's not going to our lessons because their safety is in danger and that she will take the car to the shop.  I tell her that the car is fine, it's tire is low but I promise that she can still get some work done.  She disagrees and hangs up the phone, and I started feeling pretty ticked off.  I take Sister Andersen and we just start knocking away.  While we're out I got bit by freakin Toto!!  We were approaching a house and two little, yappy dogs start coming towards us.  Haha I didn't really think anything of it since I've come in contact with plenty of dogs but the dang thing totally bit my leg!  I was about to drop kick it across the yard when a girl came out and apologized and told us we could come back and share a message with her family:]  We keep knocking and as we're about to come up to another house a little lady comes out her front door.  She comes rampaging towards me and puts her finger right in front of my nose and yells "WE ARE ATHEIST HERE, WE DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD, WE DON'T BELIEVE IN JESUS, AND WE HATE YOU!"  I'm kinda in a state of shock not knowing what is going on and she keeps going, "I HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU!  QUIT KNOCKING ON OUR DOORS!" My senses come about me and I finally just tell her, "Look lady I know that God is real.  I'm sorry if you're upset but we will not quit knocking on peoples doors.  There are people who are searching for truth and I have seen far too many miracles to stop now."  Haha well . . . that just fired her up even more and I probably should have just walked away but I couldn't!  We went back and forth for a minute until finally she picked up her dog and walked back into her house.  I was fuming.  I was so upset, but I kept trying to give myself a little pep talk to keep going.

We get to the church for Jordan's baptism and sweet, sweet Diaz texts us to say that they are still at the shop and will try to make it to the baptism...WHAT? you'll "TRY" to make it to the baptism?  Umm . . . This is our investigator here?!  I have no idea what she was thinking but man, it really took everything for me to keep it together! 

JORDAN PERRY did indeed get baptized, and it was incredible and I'm so so happy for her:]  She is awesome and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for her.

We got home and I finally just let it all out. I told Diaz how disappointed I was in the way that she had been acting all week.  I told her that I wasn't going to waste anymore time . . . that these people are far too precious to just toss to the curb.  I told her that today she truly showed me how little she cared about missionary work and that I didn't trust her with our investigators or anything else. and . . . she gave me the silent treatment . . .AWESOME!

Finally on Sunday she broke down.  She told me how she was super unhappy here, that she didn't like being in Montgomery, that she didn't love these people or care about them.  She said that she really doesn't care that Jordan got baptized and none of it matters.  I was in shock. wait wait . . . You don't care?  Let me get this straight . . . You. don't. care?  Well then why the flip are we doing this?!  AHH. I have never been so frustrated in my whole life.  I'm sure that all the ward members know we're not getting along but seriously there is so little that I can do! I just keep praying that Heavenly Father will soften her heart, my heart, and provide a way for us to teach. 

I guess I should also just throw this out there . . . I will be coming home September 10:]  September 10, not a day earlier not a day later.  I will come home then.  I have one more transfer to just bust my little butt and give the Lord all that I have! 

I'm so grateful for all the challenges that I am facing and I know that things are going to work out! The gospel is so good and miracles are waiting just around the corner!

I hope you all have an incredible week and see how much Heavenly Father loves you!!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 65 - Many Mighty Miracles!!

Well I'm not even sure where to start this bad boy off but man, let me just say how good the Lord is when you keep persevering:]
So at the beginning of this week we taught Jordan the law of chastity... and I had been praying for so long about this lesson because due to family situations, Jordan has moved in with her boyfriend Brian into Derrick and Chera's house.  As it says in PMG we are not allowed to baptize anyone who is living with someone of the opposite sex unless they are married... as I started explaining this to Jordan she caught on to what I was telling her.  Instantly she just started bawling and saying "So i can't get baptized??"  It broke my heart to see how disappointed she was.  I promised her that the Lord would provide a way for her to get baptized and that she can't let this ruin all the feelings and experiences that she had previously had.  It seemed like after we left all hell was breaking loose.  Jordan was super mad and upset, Brian said he didn't wanna be a mormon if she couldn't get baptized, Chera was gonna take her down to the flippin cowboy church where they'd baptize her on the spot.  It was a mess!!  We went home and I got on my knees and for who knows how long I just plead with the Lord to provide a way for this girl to be baptized on the 19th.  The next day we were leaving a lesson and Derrick calls us up and invites us over cuz he has something to show us.  My stomach dropped and I started thinking crap, he went online, he saw a bunch of anti garbage and now we're gonna lose Derrick as well.  We walk inside and he pulls up "The District" and there's an episode where a couple are living together and the guy is still able to get baptized because they are living with the parents.  Jordan comes bouncing in and says "LOOK I CAN GET BAPTIZED!"  I was a little hesitant so I say ok ok hold on, let me call our mission president and get his input and we'll see what we can do.  I called up President Mortenson, talked to him about the situation and he asked "Well Sister Bowden... Do you feel that Jordan is fully prepared to make and keep this covenant?"  Absolutely:]  He gave us the go ahead and now this Saturday Jordan Perry with be entering the waters of baptism!! It was one of the greatest things to see.  From one day of things just falling apart, to the next where the Lord put it back together.  I am very grateful that He answers our prayers at the right moment:]

We had a lot of incredible experiences this past week.. i guess i'll throw down a few.  We were out tracting for a power hour and weren't having much success at all.  The hour was over and I was starving so we started walking back to our car and as we were walking down a different road I looked at a house and just got the thought, try one more.  I turned to Diaz and say "Hey we gotta do one more door." Haha I thought she might punch me but I kept walking towards the house anyways.  We knock, and this little lady comes and answers, she let us right in!  We talked to her a little bit, taught the restoration and she said she would love to hear more! We're gonna follow up with her tomorrow and see how things go:]  So keep Josephine in your prayers, I know the Lord is softening her heart as we speak! As we walked out of her house and back to the car Diaz turned to me and said, "Sister Bowden I have something to share with you."  Haha I instantly start thinking oh great, let's whip out the list of reasons why I'm such a crappy person.... but she went on and started apologizing to me.  She said that she felt really bad for judging me and has been happier this past transfer than with any other companion!  Haha she said, "You are a very hard worker and i love that you're always smiling."  There can be miracles!! It's been a really humbling opportunity to see the spirit start uniting us.  I'm very grateful to see that people's views can be changed:]

Oh and Jeanine Scott!!  Ahh so awesome!  So we met this lady back on memorial day (i'm not sure if I have talked about her or not) but anyways we had a lesson with her this past week.  We get inside and I started stating our purpose as missionaries "...So eventually I want you to know Jeanine, that we will invite you to be baptized..." Jeanine says, "Oh well let me just tell you I'm a baptist, I've always been a baptist, and I'll probably die a baptist, I just think you girls are really sweet so i'm willing to listen"  Haha I was kinda intimidated by her response cuz she definitely threw it down with the baptist thing... but we just kept going with teaching her the restoration.  For the Joseph Smith part we had decided that we would put on the 20 min video, i put it on and didn't look at her the whole time.  I just sat in the corner and was praying PLEASE! Heavenly Father let her feel the spirit or something or this just might be a disaster! PLEASE! The movie ends and I still was feeling nervous to look over when all of the sudden I heard a little sniffle... I look over and Jeanine is just sobbing!  We sat there quietly for a moment and her first comment is "Ah dang it, now i'm probably gonna be a mormon!"  Haha i started laughing and said, "Well why do you feel that way Jeanine? "  And she goes on to say how for the longest time she felt exactly like Joseph Smith but that she had just buried those feelings and kept with the baptist church cuz that's all she knew.  "Now I'm gonna have to read this dang book!"  I'm so grateful for the truthfulness of our message, and that the when we push through our awkward moments that the spirit will start kicking in and do his part.  It was such a tender mercy from the Lord to go from "I'm baptist la la la!" to "I'm probably gonna end up a mormon!"

Things have still been challenging though, our ward mission leader is struggling with cancer so we've felt super disconnected from the ward.  At times I feel like there is so much on my shoulders and that I'm trying to keep tract of 39851936 people.   I'm just a 22 year old girl, Give me a break!!!  But every night I just get on my knees and pray for the strength and energy that will be required for the next day!

I know with my whole heart and soul that the message we share is true and holds so much value! It is one that can change our lives for the better. I've thought a lot the past week on conversion vs testimony and I absolutely feel like my mission has helped my conversion a million times over.  A testimony is a great knowledge and declaration of belief, but conversion, conversion is your testimony in action.  It's more of acting on the things you know to be true.  I have felt the spirit just burning in my heart the past week and it has a brought a whole new level of happiness to my life!  I will forever be grateful for the many challenges and successes that a mission brings.  

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 64 - I've Never Cared!

Well hey there familia!!

There went another week and man oh man, the mission life never ceases to amaze me!

We have a super wide variety of investigators right now! we could start with Jack Flannery who has met with missionaries on and off for over 20 years, or we talk about Stephanie Hernandez who is another miracle lady in my life! We were out tracting one day and naturally were not having a ton of success.  We started walking up a hill and I turned to Sister Diaz and said this next house we knock on will have a family searching for the gospel!  As we got closer a family walked out the front door and started getting in their car.  Haha I hurried and walked up to the mom and said Hey! I know you guys are leaving but we're missionaries and we have an incredible message about God and how families can be together forever.  She looked at me and said "Oh yeah, I've been looking for a church for us to go to... Can you guys come back later?" BOO YAH!! Stephanie is so awesome, things are going very well and I'm excited to see where the lessons take us:]  I know wholeheartedly that Heavenly Father does place people in our path. He is just way too good! After the first lesson I invited Stephanie to be baptized and she said "Ya know, ever since you guys came by I have been thinking that that's something that I need to do."  Haha are you kidding me?  She's awesome.
The 4th of July... hahaha well... none of the members here invited us over... and none of our investigators wanted to see us.... so ya know what we did... we tracted for 4 hours!!!!  Ah! Can I just tell you how worthless you feel after tracting for just 1 hour on a holiday... it. was. the. worst. but don't even worry, I got to light off some sparklers and do my firework thing:] so we ended the night on a good note thanks to the Harbin family:]

We got a new mission president and I really like him! I think he is going to do great things for our mission and I look forward to see how differently he does things! We had some training with him this past week and I was just totally immersed in the insights he was sharing. That's one thing that I've really enjoyed on my mission, just learning:]

Lately things have been pretty tough in the missionary life of Sister Bowden.  I feel a lot of pressure to keep things going like they were when Bonner was here... but it's just not working.  Things have been tough with my companion, but I really am striving to just keep working at it!  It's been a little frustrating and one night when we got home she said, "Sister.. you talk to much in our lessons..."  AH! THE ONLY REASON I TALK IS BECAUSE I CAN RELATE TO THESE PEOPLE!  Haha I feel like I'm just about at my rope's end, but I know that the Lord will always be there to give me a couple more inches.  I'm so so grateful for this challenge.  I have honestly never cared so much about other people.  I've never cared so much about the decisions that others make, and it has never hurt so badly to watch people make the wrong ones.  I've never cared whether or not people took the time to read their scriptures or come to church, but I know that it's the small daily decisions that can have lasting effects on our lives.  I've just never cared so much about anything.  I love missionary work.  I love these people and I would go to just about any length to get them to see and feel that love:]  I know the Lord is with us!

I love you all and hope that this week is one full of tender mercies from the Lord! Miss you all the days!!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 63 - Who YOU Are.

Well hello jello:]

Oh my goodness I don't even know where to start.  SO many incredible things have happened this past week, I hope that this email will do it justice!

We got the incredible opportunity this week to have a training session in the temple with the temple president and President Pingree.  My mind was blown.  I have been praying over the past 4 months asking Heavenly Father to teach, remind or show me who I was before I came to this earth.  Please just help me understand the person I was before so that I can stay true to it.  Well, we get dressed and as we're sitting in the chapel the temple president walks in and says, "My objective in you coming to the temple today is to remind you of the person that you truly are."  My heart started pounding and I instantly knew that Heavenly Father was answering my prayer.  The revelation that I received that day has changed my life forever.  I now know of the reality of God.  He is so real and so aware of each one of us.  I can feel it as I pray, my relationship with Him has changed forever and I'm so very grateful for that experience!

I should also talk about one of my all time favorite investigators: Jordan Perry.  So we met Jordan through Derrick and Chera (our recent converts) and Oh My Goodness.  I think she just might be one of the most prepared girls I have ever taught.  Just from last week to this one there is such an apparent change in her it blows me away.  During one of our lessons I was leaning over just kinda doing my thing and she said Sister Bowden... I look at over and say "yeah?" ... (still just kinda not thinking)... Well, I did what you asked me to do... I prayed about it.  All of the sudden I realized what was going on so I stop and look at her and ask, "Did you pray about being baptized?"  She smiled at me and said "Yes!"  She got her answer and she's ready to do it! AHHHH!!!  And the crowds go wild!!  I WAS DYING!  Is this not the exact moment that all our hard work goes towards?!  I think I started tearing up haha and just told her how much that decision was going to change her life.  How much that decision was also going to impact my life.  She's just incredible.  During our lessons the spirit tends to flow right through me to her.  I've never really experienced anything quite like it.  I love her very dearly and I'm counting down the days til her baptism on July 19:]  It will be great.

I've felt a little bit of weight with this whole STL thing going on.  We had a leadership meeting this week and during it one of the assistants says "a call to leadership is a call to have your weaknesses exposed."  Hahaha Oh well, if that isn't comforting I'm not really sure what is... I'm doing my very best to step up my game but man.. I was hoping to just coast on through til September.  Ironically enough this past week we came in contact with four promising Spanish speaking families.  We don't have any Spanish missionaries that cover our area cuz it's too hard on their miles​ so basically Sister Diaz and I have become a zebra companionship.  Haha I'm gonna have to talk to the new president about it but yes, I've been trying to pick up some espanol for my companions sake:]  It's tough, and there is no way that I'm gonna be fluent in 3 months but hey, it's a new challenge and i'll do what I can!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE BIRTHDAY PACKAGE!! I absolutely loved the balloons!  Haha of course halfway through I realized that all of your guys' lips had been on them, but hey we're family right?  My birthday was a great one:]  I'm feelin 22!! and welp I still basically feel the same!

Heavenly Father has been so incredibly good to me.  He blesses me each and every day and I'm so grateful for the opportunities he has given me to strengthen my faith in Him.  I feel like I may be getting this missionary stuff figured out, it's just diligent effort.  I love my Savior, I love this gospel, and I'm so honored to have this time to strive and share that love with others!!


Love, Sister Bowden