Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 19 - As Long As You Say Big EYES and Not Big THIGHS We're Good!

Well wowzers have i got some news for you! This week was oh just ya know great as ever:] but really, it was pretty good.
On Tuesday we "attempted" to make cookies so that as we were visiting less actives they would feel more inclined to either let us in or at least be nice but the cookies ended up being an epic fail so instead we just drew on all the paper plates and stuck them to the people's doors. haha the best one was we decided to put some on mama blattman's cuz she was having a rough day. i think it added a little bit of cheer to her life, so it was worth it:]
 Wednesday so ya know our typical go to the ranch day except this week we witnessed a small girl get trampled!! it was TERRIBLE. i have never seen someone become a such a rag doll in a matter of seconds, she was bruised up pretty badly but it wasn't anything too serious... luckily. 
I had some divine revelation for the fairfield ward that day and it was awesome! As we were studying i finally figured how we were gonna start getting some new investigators! So just listen, the people of fairfield are pretty prosperous right? they have their cars, they have their nice houses, no one is really "searching" for anything. They have good lives, but i know that every human being has the desire to be wanted and needed. Everyone wants to feel like they made a difference in some way or another so we're switching our perspective. Instead of thinking they need church, they need the gospel, we're trying to find ways of how the gospel needs them. why our ward needs this person, we think of their strengths and then invite them to do something for us! It's actually started working. Mama blattman's neighbor nicole loves us, loves us, loves us. But hasn't been to interested in coming to church, so we've been asking her to give us rides to appointments. She's all about helping us, so on the way to our lessons we'll discuss with her what we're planning on teaching that person. She pretty much gets the lesson without even realizing she's getting the lesson. We're just asking people to help us, which is weird for me. All the time i'm trying to be the hero that comes in and saves the day, but that isn't what people really want.
We went to the old people's house to sing again and this time was actually a really neat experience. We sang a song or two and then we're just talking to Angela and Ms. Dubea, when i just decided to ask them What do you guys feel when we come over? They we're quiet for a second and the Ms. Dubea looked at me and said Well i feel like i'm with God. Whoa. The spirit was so present there, we started reading the book of mormon with them and she said I've never felt this way It's like i almost want to cry. SO SO cool. By small and simple things:]
We didn't have too much luck getting in and teaching lessons this past week and by Saturday i was feeling kinda like well crap we've done nothing. So that night i decided to say a little prayer, i said Heavenly Father please let someone in our ward bring people for us to meet tomorrow. Ya know, nothing miraculous just a simple request. We had 10 investigators at church! It was awesome. A family brought a couple for us to start teaching and another family has a foreign exchange student for Ukraine living with them this year. The Ukraine girl's name is Victoria and she came right up to me and start talking. She's gorgeous and had a LOT of questions about church so i'm excited to see if we can start teaching her or what:]
The other night we were out biking like usual and we always pass by this group of guys playing basketball, well since the first time there's always one that yells stuff like Hey baby girl, Ride over here sweet thing. bleh just all this stuff that makes me feel somewhat like a piece of meat. Well finally i decided to stop. I stopped and i said what's your name? He said Jamal. (ha typical i know) Well jamal, i'll make you a deal. Let's play 1 game of horse if you win, you can keep calling me whatever you want and i'll leave with something really special to me. If i win, you have to call me sister bowden and let me tell you why we bike past you guys so much. He said deal, and I hate to admit this but the spirit didn't take over and i didn't become Michael Jordan. BUT i did leave him with a book of mormon and i hope that maybe just a dumb game of horse changed their perspective on missionaries:] As we were leaving he yelled hey sister bowden! i turned and said what's up? He said you have really nice big eyes. hahahha i just laughed and said well, as long as you say big eyes and not big thighs, we're good. His whole little gang started laughing and then me and Tau just got back to it.
I realized something this week though, because of the success me and Tau have had while serving here in fairfield especially because we whitewashed the area a lot of Elders will ask us what our secret is. Haha i've always kinda laughed because there is no super awesome hidden secret. I've just felt that we just work. But i realized that even though teaching lessons and this and that is important, of even greater importance is who we are. Plain and simple. There is no secret thing that me and Tau do, it's just the girls and missionaries that we are. It's the in-between things that make it count. Ya know thinking outside of the regular missionary things. That's what shows people that you really care about THEM. Leaving notes on their cars when you leave, stopping and playing basketball with their kids, just simply being myself has given me greater success than anything.
I love the gospel, Todd Henke is now talking about WHEN he is going to be baptized and WHEN he will be able to receive the priesthood and WHEN his family can be sealed. There is no more IF. I'm just so truly grateful for the spirit and how you can seriously watch people's outlook on things change because of it. We went over there yesterday and as we were talking about the priesthood he started tearing up and said It just holds men to a higher standard. Yes, it should. All priesthood holders should realize that they have this amazing sacred privilege and that yes Heavenly Father does expect you to strive to remain worthy of it.

When we got home last night the Grovers wanted to play a game and I got to pick CLUE! ah it totally ended my day on the best note ever. Back at home me and stac face and bri had our designated Clue Club and every so often we would invite somebody else to come play, haha they had one chance to win and if they didn't they weren't allowed to be a part of our club. haha it totally took me back to it and i told Tau that if she wanted to be in my club she had to win. First guess and she got it right. haha i was so freakin ticked. This dang tongan has seriously become one of my favorite girls in the whole world:] She has no idea the example that she has been to me these past 3 months.

But yep, that's pretty much the happenings of the week. Just causing trouble and breakin hearts! I feel truly blessed to be serving here in fairfield! Transfers are this thursday and i have a terrible feeling me and Tau will no longer be serving together. As prez would put it "we gotta spread the good around" haha we'll see. I'm not really looking forward to it but hey it's the mish life:]
I love you all more than the flowers love the rain.. hahahaha oh woof. ok love ya lots, miss ya more. I hope that everything is so great for y'all. (That's right i said it) I'll talk to you guys next week! Thank you for all the love and support, it means more than you know:]
Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 18 - It's Not So Much The Words We Say . . . .

Hi, hey, well hello there!
So another week bites the dust and i can honestly say i think in the real world it is nearly impossible to learn all the things that i have learned this past week. It blows my mind how much is jam packed into one day and how i can go to bed a totally different person than who i was when i woke up.
So we had exchanges this week and Sister Allred the sister training leader came into our area and hung out with me for a day! We had an awesome time doing a little service at the ranch... well it was almost awesome. They got a couple new horses and one of them is named sampson. Sampson is HUGE and i don't know, he's a good horse. but anyways, i was taking good old sampson out of the pasture and putting him into his stall as i stopped right in front of his stall he did too... haha as he stopped he placed his front hoof on my foot. I instantly thought well that's alright i have really strong feet la la la, but as he stepped forward into his stall i felt a little crunch. Ah yeah, my teeny baby toe got smashed by sampson! I didn't wanna make a big deal out of it, so i just kinda hobbled away.. haha a couple minutes later though it was black and blue and ya know all that great stuff. The rest of the day was awesome and I was happy that i had the chance to show Sister Allred that contrary to popular belief me and Tau really do have a lot of work going on in Fairfield.
We got to go to the temple this past Friday so that was pretty neat. It's always so calming to just sit in the celestial room, say a little prayer and just feel that special spirit that is there. Afterwards we had a lesson with David! We taught him about Obedience and following the prophet. We put on this little clip that's called words of the prophets, which goes through each prophet from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson and shares a little bit of their testimonies. At the end we each shared our testimonies with him and it was SO sweet, to hear David talk of how important prophets are in the world today. I shared with him that my favorite prophet (believe it or not) is Spencer W. Kimball and how if we would all just "lengthen our stride" i think we would be amazed at the things we each individually can do! As he said the closing prayer he said Heavenly Father please help me to lengthen my stride and to be ready to be baptized. I can't tell you guys how exciting it is to know that what you shared with your investigator really sunk in. It's those moments where you just wanna stand up on the table and do a little fist pump! haha but really it's been such a privilege to teach David, and i know that the missionaries up in college station are gonna take good care of him... Well that and i told them that if they didn't i would come up there myself and put them both in headlocks. 
SATURDAY! my teeny baby henke boys got baptized!!! and it. was. incredible. Their dad mister lutheran man gave a talk on both baptism and the holy ghost and i was just blown away. He was up there quoting joseph fielding smith and talking like he had been a member his whole life. Can i just say that seeing their family 3 months ago to where they are now is incredible?? Heavenly Father truly can soften even the hardest of hearts, and i have witnessed that for myself. As i walked into the room saturday to go shake his hand i could just see him light up, he's starting to feel it! and i know that as me and Tau continue to go over there he's going to be baptized soon:] 
We had dinner with the Sorenson's last night and they also are a new family that moved in about a month ago. During sacrament meeting their kids tend to be a little noisy and i had always wondered why they seemed to scream more than the other floods of children in fairfield. Last night though i finally got to know why. Their 4 year old son kyler was born with a cleft palate and has a strong form of autism. As we were eating dinner i watched as she patiently would try to get him to eat, it started with Kyler eat a strawberry. He'd scream and cry and say he would rather not, She then would say ok kyler can you stab your strawberry? He'd fight but then he got the strawberry on his fork. She then said Ok can you put the strawberry to your lips? Just let it touch your lips. He quickly let it touch his lips and then he hurried and screamed that he didn't like it. Patiently she said Ok kyler, can you put the strawberry on your teeth? Again the same thing. Ok kyler, can you put the strawberry on your tongue? Just patient, patient, patient. She did this with 3 strawberries and seriously at this point i just thought wow, this woman has more patience than anyone i've ever met. Throughout dinner, we got to know them a little bit better and things were good! We started sharing our message with them, which we put on the mormon message Moments that Matter Most. Afterwards i don't know what the heck got a hold of me but i started crying as i bore my testimony to them. I know that there is such a sweet spirit in their home. I know that every effort that her and her husband make is recognized by Heavenly Father and that they are the only two that could raise their son Kyler. I haven't cried in a lesson really while i've been out here on a mission and as we were walking home last night i thought, oh crap. They're breaking me. They got to me, the people in fairfield have really opened me up. I love them, and not my everyday oh hey love ya sorta thing, like i sincerely care about what is happening in these people's lives. I really do want to help them in whatever way possible. The ward mission leader said the other day, Utah if i had known you were this funny the first week we would have been off to even a better start. haha well the same goes to them, if i had known the first week of being here that i would come to love them this much i would have not hesitated in the slightest. If i have learned anything this past week it's that loving someone can purify you. As you give of yourself without hesitation without guarding yourself, it actually makes you a better person. And i just don't like that, especially because transfers are whaddayaknow, next freakin week! haha of course. But dang this ward, for making me care. haha i'm just kidding, it's honestly been just a week full of learning. 
Mama Blattman texted us yesterday and said i just had thee worst dream ever. I asked her what happened? and she said that in her dream it was decided that because me and Tau are so dang great together they decided to keep us together but just move us to a new area. Mama Blattman i guess woke up crying and super upset, she said i guess i didn't realize just how much i do need you two. Man, people need me out here on a mission. I couldn't help but think of just how selfish it would be of me to say Kick rocks texas i'm going home! This week was awesome:] One more week and than it's transfers time yet again,, it comes to quick. But I want you to know that i love you all. I think about you guys often.... well as often as i can, and i pray for you nightly. Heavenly Father makes all the time in the world for us, i think it's good to make just a little bit of time for him. Have a great week, drink 3 mucho mangos, go skinny dipping in the pool, and know that texas is the other side of hell:]
Much love!
-Sister Bowden


Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 17 - No Burden's too Heavy If We ALL Lift.

Hello Jello:]
Well here i am back at the computer writing about another ridiculously hot week in texas! Can i just say that when the temperature is 105 it feels like it's actually 153! haha There's an old man in our ward who we call grandpa savage. he's the kinda crazy old guy who has NO filter, whatever is on his mind is coming out of his mouth. Well we were biking one day and we were just joking around with him and He said man i should call your president and tell him you two can't be on bikes in this heat, Me and Tau laughed and just joked some more... but... he really did call President Pingree... haha the next day we got a call from president and Instantly i start panicking... thinking what did we do? I don't think we've broken any of the rules... we've been doing good haha just like when the bishop calls you into talk, that whole sorta feeling. Well President says hey sisters are you guys doing ok? Uh.. yeah of course we are! he says oh well i just got a call from an andy savage... hahaha oh boy. needless to say our members are looking out for us. 
So this past Tuesday we had a "splits" night aka send out the young men to all the less actives to see why they don't come. Me ,Tau and Mama Blattman got our couple of names and went on the hunt. As we were pulling up to a ladies house they had just gotten home themselves. She didn't look too happy and instantly Mama Blattman says oh crap, oh crap. I had been talking ALL night so i turned to Tau and said you got this one? haha she looked at me like i was crazy and instantly i thought, of course. So we walk up to her and i just say Hey! are you alice wilson? The lady looks super mad and says it's mccord now.. haha oh crap. Well hey we're the sister missionaries and we were just stopping by to see how you are and what's been going on. She starts walking towards me and raises her arm.. I had no idea what was happening, i thought this woman was coming to hit me or something. But all of the sudden she starts hugging me and crying. She said that tonight wasn't a good night but to please come back. It was a little strange that this woman who i have never seen before and at one point i thought was going to attack me was now hugging me and crying. I told her we'd stop by another night, but we have yet to get in contact with her since. It's crazy to think that you never know the Lord's timing. ever. 
David is doing SO great! our lessons with him have been incredible! and it has honestly been the greatest experience ever. Yesterday as we were teaching him, me and Tau were sharing our testimonies and the spirit was so strong! He said that he loves the feeling he gets, and later that night he texted us talking about how grateful he was to be able to feel the spirit every time he reads. he also went on to say that he knows that he needed me and Tau specifically because the things that we share always strike to his heart. He's getting baptized September 21 and we couldn't be more excited for him! he's actually moving up to college station in a week so we're gonna have to pass him on, but hey, we did our part and it's been awesome to see his testimony just ingnite!
CAMERON AND JOEL HENKE are getting baptized this saturday:] but the best part is that their dad, ya know the hardcore lutheran, is speaking at it. He's going to talk at the baptism. Can i just say it has been soo soo incredible to see the huge change that has happened in this man from the first time we entered their house. To go from questioning literally everything me and Tau would say, to starting to answer our questions in lessons, to giving us hugs when we leave. ah people! the gospel is such an incredible blessing. it can change people's hearts. i've seen it:]
We also had dinner with the Freeman family this past week, they moved into our ward mmm i think about 2 weeks ago! Well anyways we get there and this family has 6 kids all under the age of 12 haha it was INSANE. The mom came up to me and said So this morning when i told the boys that the sister missionaries were coming over their son Parker said Is that the blonde one? Cuz she is so pretty, i bet all the boys love her! hahahahahaha. oh my, well thank you! i'm glad to know that if all else fails i can get a 10 year old boy, during dinner he sat next to me and as i was eating my pizza he put his face really close to mine and started making little kissy noises. haha ah ya little crazy boy! it was really funny and the mom was really embarrassed, but it's fine. Boys will be boys? Oh and the Grovers this past weekend had their son Benjamin and his family visiting they have the cutest little boy ever! his name is Hyrum and he's this little red headed cutie! we'll be doing our studies and he'll just come kick open our door and say crazy stuff like Why haven't you guys come down to play with me?! i love him, and i'm pretty sure if i have a slightly red headed child it will end up looking like him. BUT HE"S CUTE GUYS!

So it's been 4 months! 4 months since i've been in utah just doing the same old same old. I'm so so grateful to be on a mission. ah it kills me how time has been flying! i feel like i should still be sitting in that same chair at the mtc. This whole experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone, it takes everything you are and flips it on you. It's weird because a mission isn't about you, it isn't but in a round about way i feel that i'm getting more out of it than anybody else. It's just the craziest thing:] I'm SO grateful for the book of mormon. Ya know, i didn't sail with the brother of jared across some crazy seas to settle a new land. i've never been commanded to build a boat when clearly i know nothing about boats. I didn't hear King Benjamin's amazing sermon. I didn't go out with Alma and Amulek and i didn't witness the fiery death of all those innocent believers. I wasn't among the nephite crowd who touched the wounds of our resurrected Lord. And i didn't weep with Moroni over the destruction of his people, But the testimony i have is just as binding as theirs. I know Christ lives. I know he suffered for me. The only chance i have of living with my Heavenly Father is because of Him. I have made sacrifices to be here, and everyday i make more. I'll do it though. Because of my love for Him, i'll do it. I love you all and i hope this week is better than the last! haha i find that just smiling can work wonders:] Stay strong, preach on.

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 16 - It's All Coming Together :]

Well well well my family, we meet again.
haha ok so is everyone ready for the scoop on how my past week was, cuz it was terribly hard and good... like always.
Monday, just another p-day EXCEPT we finally met david! and we basically spent the time getting to know him and his situation. It was so so neat to see the spirit working through me and Sister Tau, as we were discussing what he should do with his parents and making this decision all these scriptures kept coming to me and Sister Tau. It was a very inspired lesson, and it was cool to leave him with some scriptures to read, we told him to pray about it and that we would see him soon.
Tuesday, we had zone conference which was so so good. It's always a good time getting to be surrounded by other missionaries, at times you feel that it's just you and your companion against the world haha but then you go to one of those and you're reminded oh.. right, you guys are all here too. The whole theme of it was missionaries and their impressions on their ward, during it Sister Pingree had emailed all of our bishops asking how we were doing in our areas. As we were going through the paper i hurried and skimmed through it looking for the one that was about me and tau. "Our current missionaries have quickly bonded with ward members and are gaining their trust. They are doing this through hard work. Members report that they see them on their bikes all over the ward and they've been systematically visiting less active and part-member families. When they visit a member's home they always leave a spiritual thought and invite the Spirit in the home" woo woo! i'm glad at least someone has noticed us out there:] One thing that i learned from the conference is that love is our greatest motivation. I think that's why the #2 advice i got was just love the people. I know that's so key. If you love the people it makes you wanna work. If i'm learning anything right now it's to FINALLY put other people before myself. Those of you that know me best know that i have rarely done this in my life. But i've dedicated myself to doing it here and now. I know that as you put someone before yourself it truly shows them how much you care about them, they are more willing to trust you, and that can move mountains with missionary work.
Wednesday, i had to say goodbye to Elder Hardy:// which was SO sad. haha heck, i HATE that part of the mission, it brings these super awesome great people into your life, and then in almost a cruel way rips them right out again. I know this was against the rules but the past 2 transfers Hardy is CONSTANTLY talking smack, ooh i'm a big bad wrestler.. ooh i'm a 3 time state champion haha so naturally i had to put him in a headlock as my way of saying goodbye:] ya know,, i'm just breakin him in for when he goes home!
I also got a "box of sunshine" from aunt Tosha!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! haha i seriously loved it. it's always so good to hear from family back home and to know that they are still thinking about ya! BUT i do have 1 request. So since me and Tau have been together she's gotten 1 letter from tonga, one. and her parents haven't even emailed her. SO could someone please send my dear best most favorite companion a package?? She loves, kit kats anything sour she loves the color green. haha she loves string cheese, i think it would be so neat for her to get a package. seriously.
Oh and that night we had an awesome night with Raechel Britto, she told us that after her mother-in-law left she realized that the church and her are not the same thing. she said that a huge wall that was blocking her from the church is now gone! that's so great! It's too bad though that for so long she put those two together, her mother-in-law (bless her heart) it just kinda crazy overboard. She seems very forceful in how she teaches her kids and ultimately it has pushed them away. I know mom's put a lot on themselves in trying to raise their children the right way, but i think the best way to do it is by example. Actions will always always speak so much louder than words.I'm pretty sure i bore my testimony to about 5364968 doors this past week, haha when we went tracting NO one would answer, so after awhile Tau just started bearing her testimony to the door. It made me laugh the first time but honestly it was kinda therapy for us. Hey we may not have changed a person's life but daaaang, that door will never be the same:] Cameron and Joel Henke are going to be baptized on August 17!!!! Can we all just have a little victory dance? Todd talked to the bishop and he said "The sisters have a way of making me feel a lot more comfortable with all of this" mmm it's not us my friend, that would be the spirit:] On Sunday it was seriously convert testimony day. All the adult converts in our ward got up and shared their testimonies which was so so awesome! John Maiva was there and i think the whole day was directed to him, which was neat because we had been fasting for him.  Anyways, in relief society they also had time to bear their testimonies and every woman that got up just talked about missionary work and the influence that we have had in their ward. My mind was blown, because seriously at times i feel like i don't even do anything. I think it's in words of mormon... verse 7 or 8 where it talks about how "i don't really know anything, but the spirit worketh in me" That's the best way i can describe it. It's sometimes weird to have people just thanking us and thanking us, it in a way almost feels wrong to accept their gratitude? I really don't do anything, i'm just a body that bikes around and occasionally people let me into their house. It's all the Lord. During relief society though mama blattman turned to me and whispered "You still wondering why you're here" haha no, i'm not wondering anymore. After church me and Tau felt impressed to go see the Maiva's we called them up and they said yeah come over. haha so we did our personal study and when it came time to do companion study Tau looked at me and said Denny (weird nickname i know haha) i can't stop thinking that we need to invite him to be baptized today. Which was SO weird, because during my study time that thought jumped into my head and i thought.. no no, we haven't even really taught him yet, but then it kept coming back and i finally just said ok fine, even if sister tau isn't expecting it i will invite him to be baptized. TALK ABOUT COMPANIONSHIP UNITY. It's cool to see that the spirit is prompting both me and Tau on the same things. So we had an awesome first discussion with John Maiva and we invited him to be baptized. The spirit was so strong and i'm excited for the work me and Tau have started up here in Fairfield.
I just feel.... good. haha it's not easy, it really isn't but there are moments that i can't even express the joy i feel in my heart. With missionary work, hard work and effort will always pay off. You keep trying even when you don't want to. You keep going even when the last thing you wanna do is get on a bike.  I love the gospel, i love the atonement, i love the changes that i have been able to witness in others and myself. I'm so grateful to be serving here in hell:] it truly humbles me everyday which let's be honest... i probably need:] i love you all and miss you all the days! Keep fighting the good fight!
Love, Sister Bowden