Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Week 7 - The Ups and Downs of Sweaty Station!

Well hello fam bam!
The library was closed yesterday so we're taking a little time today to write everyone!
This week was crazy good to say the least:]
We entered into Sister Shimshack's house!! haha and i have to say it wasn't nearly as bad as i thought it was going to be. I think that woman has saved every piece of paper she has received since the 5th grade, so we've done a lot of sorting and throwing away. She just likes junk... but i think slowly we'll be able to clean out all her boxes.  By the end of the night you could kind of see some floor space so that was good!
OH something else pretty neat happened, we have been teaching this less active family the Condons, we went over there and in the middle of the lesson the mom turned to me and said "so i heard something about you at church yesterday". I was just like oh great what did you hear? All of the sudden this lady starts crying and says "I heard you were a pretty good dancer but kinda gave it up to come out here, I just wanna thank you because i think that says a lot about the type of person you are".  I really had no idea what to say or anything especially now because this lady was crying haha but it was just a neat experience to think that i really am an instrument in the lord's hands.  He has put me through certain things maybe not even for myself but for other people as well.
Alright so last Wednesday i was having a rough day, to sum it up i really just didn't want to be a missionary that day. I was super frustrated with Priddis, i just wanted to fetchin take a nap, or sit under that tree, or i don't know.... breathe. So most of the day i was being a little punk, but it's fine.  Well we went to go follow up on Mark Jones, we left this firefighter with a book of mormon about a month ago and he accepted it. Well we went back and he's read over half of it, he was so excited to see us and just kept saying thank you for changing my life forever, this book doesn't take away from anything that i already believe it just adds more.  I seriously had to pinch myself to make sure i wasn't dreaming. He then goes on to say that a couple days before we had showed up he had been praying, a lot of his close friends (firefighters) have passed away recently and in his prayer he said 'Lord if i am missing something please just let me know" and dun dun dun! a couple days later we showed up:] After talking to him and sharing our testimonies i felt like the worst person ever. Haha all day i had been being a brat and not wanting to be a missionary, and this incredible man ends up thanking me for changing his life. I realized that night that I only have 18.. well now almost 16 months to be Sister Bowden, after that it just goes back to who knows what. So i'm trying every day to make the most out of where i am. I know this gospel can change peoples lives.
We're also teaching Coach Graves, this man gives me a headache every time we enter his house. He is very set on his bible and basically condemned me and Priddis to hell last time for perverting the ways of the lord. haha i laugh because I left him with a chapter of the Book of Mormon to read. 2 Nephi 29..... and if you don't know what that one talks about i invite you to read it. We're going back this afternoon and i'm nervous/excited to see what happens.
The Mendiola family is doing so great! Her kids everytime they see me will run up and say Sister! Sister! and give me a huge hug. Her daughter Luleisha always grabs my face and says i love you sister. I can't even tell you guys how much i love this family. Her baptismal date is set for June 8th and I can't wait:] We've also started teaching her son Jayvon so he might be getting baptized soon as well! Everytime we go over there her kids ask what my real name is and I told them that when i leave I'll tell them, transfers are next week and i'm crossing my fingers that they keep me here. I'm 87% sure they will unless President feels the need to put me on a bike. And actually i just found out that Priddis is getting transferred.... so it looks like i'll be training... haha oh woof. MAKE SURE TO PRAY EXTRA HARD FOR ME.
Church on Sunday was AWESOME! we had a lot of less active members and investigators come.  I ended up sitting in the back row crammed between an asian man with super bad b.o. and 2 ex- drug dealers. As weird as this sounds i loved it. The whole time i couldn't stop smiling because how neat is our church! Anyone and everyone is invited to come join, regardless of your background, race, gender, we just want everybody to come be a part of it. It was actually a privilege to be crammed in the back row of the College Station 2nd ward.
Oh woof, i actually have another story haha i know i have a lot but everyday SO much happens, so we finally got a hold of a less active member Connie Colley, and her actual name is consuelo haha sweet huh. Well we went into her apartment and i kid you not i thought i was going to throw up with how terrible it smelled. She has like 7 cats, 4 turtles, and a plethora of fish. I'm not sure if she realizes that it smells like someone is dying in there, but man she needs some lysol or something. To make it better she had a fan blowing right at me and Priddis so every 20 seconds i would just get this great wonderful wiff of kitty litter. She's actually a pretty solid woman though, she has a super strong testimony it's just hard to come to church because of her work schedule. That's the thing that i think people take for granted in Utah, in utah everything kind of shuts down on sundays, but in other states that isn't necessarily the case. And it's kinda hard to tell someone to find another job so they can come to church. Hopefully we find some way to help her!
It's getting pretty dang hot here in texas. Actually though we had some huge storms this past week, and when it rains here it pours. We're actually going to ask President today if we can go help Oklahoma for a day or two i guess things are looking pretty bad over there? haha you guys probably know better than me though, i'm pretty isolated from the world as of lately. But yes it's hot, and i have decided College Station's new name is Sweaty Station. I'm constantly disgusting, and i think people are constantly taking pity on me haha but hey we sure do get into a lot of houses this way!
One day between appointments we went knocking and we knocked into a college student named Austin.  He's single so of course we have to give him to the Elders to teach, but i guess when the Elders went back they knocked on his door and said hey we're missionaries la la la. Basically Austin wasn't interested in the gospel so much as he was interested in me and Priddis. hahaha hey flirt to convert ya know?! He seemed way interested when we were there, but i guess he told the elders he was catholic, not interested, and shut the door in their faces.
Well that was basically the jist of my week! It's been so great and i'm learning so much all the time! I love what i'm doing out here and the blessings that i get to witness on a daily basis! The church is true people, the church is true:] I love you all and love hearing about the craziness of things back home! Keep doing what you're doing, i know the lord is mindful of each of us.
-Sister Bowden
Picture so you won't forget my face!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 6 - They really expect me to just go back to dating after this??


Ok so this week has just been so great i'm not even sure where to begin! So on Monday we went to the Blue bell creamery, if you didn't know this Texas LOVES their ice cream and blue bell is like their pride and joy so that was neat and i felt like a fatty afterwards but whatevs. (and no i have not gained ANY weight) haha.

Tuesday we had exchanges and oh my heck. It was probably the funniest experience of my life! So i got to sent to Magnolia with Sister Merrill, at the mtc me and this girl didn't really hit it off so well, so i was not looking forward to it at all.  Well i get in their car and we start driving, find out she went to bonneville and la la la. Her best friend was Jaclyn's husband!! Weird right? so we had all these crazy connections and it was awesome! she's actually gone to UVU for the past 3 years so i don't know how the heck we haven't been friends. Well anyways we get out there and they are whitewashing the area, so we decide to go to the Relief Society activity and meet ward members.  We rode with the Relief Society president and after like a half hour we kinda felt worthless, so i turn to merrill and say let's go knock some doors or something.  We tell the president were gonna leave but we'd be back when she was ready to go. So we go knock and everybody's turning us down well finally we get in this older couples house and we start teaching them the restoration, it's sweet we're feelin the spirit everything's golden. So we get out and it's like 9:05 and it's dark outside. haha Merrill checks her phone and the relief society president had tried calling her like 20 times. We start walking back to the house we were at for the activity when all of the sudden a truck starts pulling up to us, he gets pretty close and starts flashing his lights haha it was a police officer. So turns out the relief society had a panic attack, they called the cops and all the male presidencies of the ward and sent a out a man search for us. hahahahaha oh my gosh. let me remind you it was 9:05... so me and merrill get in the presidents car and she is still just having her anxiety attack. I was dying trying not to laugh. I feel like if it had been elders no one would have even said anything until they needed someone to clean up the chairs. haha but we're sisters so everyone is super concerned about our well being.

We were teaching a less active family on wednesday night and we decided to share the mormon message with them called the Will of God. well during it there were 2 quotes that really stood out to me. "I know what i want you to be" and "thank you lord for loving me enough to cut me down" In my interview with Pres. Pingree he had told me he really like my initiative and confidence. I told him that i just had sacrificed way too much not to give this everything i got. and he said Ya know sister bowden the cool thing about that is that one day they won't seem like they were sacrifices at all.  I thought it was kinda funny but anyways, these 2 quotes were said and it just hit me.  Heavenly father loves me so much. He knows what i am capable of, he sees my FULL potential, and he knows what he wants me to do.  That's why things happened the way they did. If i had stayed home i never would have a testimony of the book of mormon, while i wasn't necessarily doing bad things or living a bad life, he knew there was so much more in me. and that's why he asked me to serve a mission. He loves me enough to cut me down and lead me in the right path. I'm so grateful for that.

We had lunch with a member on friday named Eva Beasly, she's from the phillipines and lived in Jordan for 24 years. She now lives in an RV in texas and has lived quite a life.  She told us that a church she doesn't have many friends because once people find out she lives in an RV they think she's trash.  I cried when she told us of how hurt some members have made her feel, but the coolest thing was what she said after.  She said I don't go to church because of the people, i go to church because of God. I would hope that more people would strive to be like her, don't let others get in the way of your feelings towards the church.

Robert was baptized on saturday!! It was awesome, man the spirit was so strong. Afterwards we went to a youth stake dance for special needs, I can't tell you how great of an experience it was to see really pretty girls asking boys with special needs to dance. My heart was softened and i could only wish that i had been more like that in high school. unfortunately, i was more worried about dance and what boy i was going to hanging out with to think about others. The people here blow me away at how selfless they are. We went over to see Sister Shimshack and we got her to pay her tithing!! That means she is one step closer to getting back to the temple! we made it a goal that before we left we would go do a session with her and i know that if she continues what she's doing it will happen!! i love that woman so much.

Oh Sharlynn Mendiola!! She's doing so great! We've been teaching her and she asked if her kids could start getting the lessons as well! Which duh! we would only love that!! Last night we went over to the Kema's house because they had invited her and her family over for dinner. She brought all of her kids and her husband James! At first James was really awkward and you could tell he felt out of place being there, but after dinner brother kema shared some thoughts, we watched Moments that matter most and at the end he asked James his thoughts.  James said I feel like this is fate. He could feel the spirit and we're gonna start teaching him too! THEIR WHOLE FAMILY is going to start coming to church:] i couldn't be more excited for them.

So that's exactly my thoughts... how can they even expect me to go back to dating after this? My weekends out here are so much more gratifying than any date i've ever been on.  Life is busy, overwhelming, stressful, but so good:] I'm grateful to be in college station texas.


-Sister Bowden



Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 5 - God Has Given Me the Ability to Do What I Set Out to Do

Barbara Moore's Baptism

Well Hey fam!

Long time no talk.. haha oh wait. Yesterday was so good getting to see you guys!! You're just so great and i miss you guys mucho! Brother Teetor was asking me all sorts of questions afterwards, he's the "tough" guy that likes to joke and tease but I guarantee before i leave he's gonna tell me i'm the coolest sister missionary he's ever met! He's the man and his family is just awesome! Ok so this week was kinda crazy but I loved it.

On monday we were teaching Robert, when we teach guys we usually have to do it outside just for safety purposes but anyways, we were sitting out on the stairs of his apartment and things just started off wrong. He was shaking really bad from his withdrawals from smoking and then his neighbors upstairs decided to start smoking weed above us. It was kinda a weird feeling and I didn't know how to really handle it, but then Priddis asked Robert why he wants to get baptized. He said I don't know just something's got a hold of me and he started clutching his heart. It really hit me how strong he is. I'm so excited for this saturday! Just cross your fingers that i'll do alright singing! In the middle of his lesson a guy walked up to us and said I need Jesus in my life. So we got his info and went and saw him later in the week, when we got to his house we knocked on his door and he invited us in. We told him that we actually needed to stay outside and that we could talk on the porch, he got super offended and said if we didn't trust him there was no way he could trust us. I was just kinda surprised by how angry he was, I looked behind him and there was porn just covering his walls. I'm SOO glad we have that rule, if we had walked into his apartment i would have felt so uncomfortable. anyways yeah he didn't really want us to come over and i was kinda bummed but hey it's his salvation!

We also knocked into a guy named Kay Graves! He's pretty dang old and man i had my first bible bashing experience. haha i guess it wasn't really bashing just more of discussing. There was one cool thing though, he believes that there was no life before earth, that we just are born and that's the beginning. When he said that i showed him Jerimiah 1:5 and it was so sweet! he just sat there and was said hmm.. i guess i have some things to think about! YES YOU DO!! it's so hard to teach people down here because they are so set with their bible. And everytime they say it's all i need i just wanna whip out 2 Nephi 29..? i think that's the one, but I think it might be a little harsh.

We're also teaching a girl named Sarah and I have no idea what to do about her. She doesn't believe in Christ, she compares him to Santa Claus and says that it's just something we tell ourselves to feel better about life. How do you help someone realize just how real christ is? We'll see what happens there cuz as of right now, i have no idea. Oh and I'm not sure if i've told you guys about Pat Shimshack, but i love this lady! she's less active and she's a hoarder. and i mean she's a real life hoarder!! She has had a really rough life and has a hard time with the word "love" she hates saying, using it, reading it. BUT she came to church yesterday and i sat next to her, then last night we called her to see how she liked it and she told us she loved us! hahaha i don't know if i have ever been happier to hear someone say they love me! Tonight we're going to go over there and help her start clearing out her house! I'm pretty excited/disgusted by what we're going to find.

On friday night we went over to an old rest home to do some service. They were having a mother's day tea party and there was quite the turn out. I don't know if this was wrong of me, but i ended up serving old ladies tea for an hour and half.. haha is that against the rules? It felt pretty dang ironic, but hey whatever helps. It's so funny because like i said yesterday we'll be so busy then all of the sudden it hits me Oh yeah it's friday night.. So this is how i spend my friday nights now:] Pretty dang cool if ya ask me!

We have interviews with the President tomorrow and i'm not really sure what to expect! I really am praying that he keeps me and Priddis together for at least another transfer here. Things have just been solid, we're working hard, and just doing our best. But i feel like because i have a good thing going it's about to be taken and i'll probably be put in a rough place or something. haha i guess we'll see. This i know, God has given me the ability to do what i set out to do. I set out to go on a mission, to be obedient but still be myself. I set out to find those that need the gospel in their lives, and to not quit searching until they are found. I set out to forget about myself and for once think of those around me. I set out to help others come unto Christ and while doing so come closer also. I feel so blessed and i know Heavenly Father is going to help me achieve these things, for they really are the desires of my heart.

I love you guys so much. You have no idea how incredibly blessed i feel to have you as a family. I pray for you each night and hope only the best for you. OH and if you have a minute seriously send some "uplifting" cd's to houston! haha uplifting as in: Justin Timberlake, the lumineers, mumford and sons. haha ok just kidding. send some efy or christian ish music, cuz as of lately that's what i jam too:] I love you guys, have a good week!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 4 - Don't get too close to the cowboys!

Well Ollo family!!

Today is such a fetchin great day! and NO it hasn't been super hot in texas. It's actually been like perfect weather not humid just very nice. Ok so I figured I'd start this bad boy out with the bad/weird experiences of the week! Cuz ya know there always has to be some of those.  Wednesday was the worst day ever, and i'm being so serious. So we started off the day by going over to some investigators house to help them in their yard. Cool right? wrong. So Jim and Cindy Johnson have been taught for over a year now by the missionaries and we showed up with the plan that we would help them in the yard and then do a lesson.  Well we get there and we seriously dug trees out of their backyard for 3 hours, remember how i hate yard work? ok yep so i'm dying and just thinking the whole time, how the heck is me doing this bringing them closer to christ? so we're needing to leave and we ask so have you guys decided or talked about getting baptized on the 18? Cindy just turns to me and says well I don't know we haven't discussed it yet, we'll see.  I was so irritated. So then we had a little down time and decide to go tracting, we knock on this door and a tall white guy with the whole cowboy hat, buckle, and boots comes out.  We start it off and before I could even finish "from the church of Jesus Christ" he spits a HUGE wad of his chewing tobacco on my face. MY FACE. I seriously felt my blood boiling, i wanted to cry right there. My comp was just standing there in complete shock, i wiped off what i could and we just walked away.  Never in my life have i felt so... hurt? angry? I really don't even know how to describe the feeling, just a word of advice. Keep a decent amount of space between you and cowboys especially if you see a huge bulge by their lower lip.  Then to end the night on a good note we went over to see some less active members, we go in and they seem super cool, we're talking about his sweet cars and adventures. So Priddis asks if she can leave them with a short scripture, it was about christ and just a nice one we thought would be good to share.  Well haha she says it and the guy says "I'm actually Buddhist, so you talking about Christ in my home is very offensive and I'm going to ask you to leave right now" it was so awkward.  That day was just all over the place awful but hey it happens right?
So THE GOOD STUFF:] I committed Sirleen Mendiola to baptism on June 1! she's so awesome and makes the best food:] I'm so excited and she's actually gonna let us start teaching her 12 year old son too! We have another baptism set for May 18 for Robert and things are going solid with him as well! BUT i had my first baptism this past saturday! Barbara Moore is now a member of our church and she is the bomb! She used to race her 67 mustang, she was in the army, she's just an incredible woman over all. She asked me and Priddis to sing at her baptism and it actually wasn't that bad. Haha I don't know but ever since the MTC suddenly people think i can sing and i appreciate it.  I couldn't stop smiling the entire time! I'm so grateful i decided to go on a mission.  I seriously am seeing miracles happen on a daily basis and can not believe how much our gospel can help people.  I used to always say "I do what makes me happy", but i think i'm learning to do more of what makes the lord happy, because when you do that you'll find more happiness than you've previously known.  I'm so grateful for the ward that i'm in as well! I wish everyone could experience being a mormon outside of utah because it's a whole different life.  I am constantly learning and growing, i know this mission is going to set me up to be a better version of Macall. It's going to shape the rest of my life.  I would recommend every girl serving a mission. I really would. 
We actually meet with A LOT of less active people and it's been really neat to hear their stories. Sometimes i refer to myself as a missionary therapist because 83% of the time i just listen to people's problems and then share a scripture with them.  We met with Michael and Karen Ray and these two are awesome! They are working towards going to the temple again and i hope so bad that i get to see them do it! they've had a crazy life with their kids and everything but we just hit it off so well. I told them that when i get home they have to come see me and we'll go to temple square, man, that would be so sweet if it really happened! I feel like i'm doing something right when people feel that they can trust me with some of their struggles.  It's also awesome to know just how blessed i have been with the family i have.  I think i took it for granted how great my mom and dad are.  You guys are seriously top notch and i don't know how i got so lucky.  I just got thank you for being the perfect parents for me, and letting me learn things for myself. 
Well you guys are great and i love you and miss you! I GET TO CALL YOU NEXT SUNDAY!!! or we can skype? I'll probably be calling around 2? so just be ready:] i can't wait to hear from you all!! Much love!
-Sister Bowden