Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 28 - Oh Yeah, It Says A Lot of Things In That Book . . .

Hey my great family:]

I hope that everyone is doing so good and just loving life! This past week i had some really great, funny, weird moments... so typical right?
This past Tuesday we had zone conference which is always a good spiritual boost when you're feeling down. They talked a lot on how we need to get creative in ways of finding people to teach. I'm not gonna give all my good ideas yet, but once things start coming together i'll shed some light on how sometimes ya gotta think outside the box to find people that the lord has prepared! We met with Ricardo 3 times this past week! He's a pretty great guy, haha ok he's kinda a pot head but he does keep meeting with us so i can't be too upset. After our first lesson with him he texted us that night saying thank you. I told him it was what we were there for and he said I really appreciated when you said we all have a purpose and meaning to being here. that really makes a lot of sense to me. Here's the thing with Ricardo, he really is so prepared he'll say things that our gospel has, i'll show him that basically his same thoughts are in the book of mormon, but he's a little confused on God. he thinks that God is some-thing.. not some-one. I know though that as we continue to meet with him it's gonna start clicking. There was a moment when i was sharing my testimony about the book of mormon and he turned to combs and said wow she's pretty serious about this.. YES i am. i love the book of mormon, i know that if you read it it can bring so much peace, happiness, and comfort into your life. 
That night we had dinner with a family in the ward and can i just say i love how awkwardly funny my companion is. hahah we were sitting there eating dinner and the kids were saying something about either being in a play or just sticking to their studies and awkwardly Combs says... just.. listen to your heart. haha it was so cheesy and so awkward and i busted out laughing but the family just sat there in silence. I think it probably was a you had to be there kinda thing. 
oh! so this past week we were coming to our stake center to do some training and the family history ladies were here. i'm just gonna be honest every time i think about family history i think oh woof. i'd rather poke my eyes out. but listen. So the lady starts talking to us about it and showing us the new website la la la. I started just clicking around and looking at things when i came across a name that said all of his temple work wasn't done. I click some more and come to find out all of his is done, so is his wife's but there is one daughter in their family who hasn't had any of her ordinances performed! It was the coolest thing that everyone in their family has their temple work done but not her! So next time we go to the temple i'm taking Mabel Webb's name with me. I'M SO EXCITED! first of all because her name is freakin Mabel! haha (reminds me of a cow) and second of all because now when i go it's gonna have a lot more meaning to me personally. Long story short: family work is pretty neat my friends. So sorry mom for being a knucklehead about indexing... i see now why you were wanting me to do it:]
We got a referral from the church this past week which honestly rarely happens. The lady's name is Ziznedth Kelly... yeah still i can't pronounce her first name. At first she wasn't too excited to see us, but when we told her we'd love to help her with her yard and la la la she warmed right up to us and invited us in. She has a blind weenie dog. haha but yes we're helping sister kelly with her yard and i know that by serving her it's going to open a lot of doors for us:]
SATURDAY! TODD HENKE GOT BAPTIZED:] ah man, it literally put me on cloud 9. Mama blattman came down to pick up me and Combs and as we were driving i just sat and thought man, this feels like home. I got the warmest of welcomes from the ward and a lot of we miss you's! It was incredible. This past week to be honest there were moments when i couldn't help but think what is the point of all of this? Well saturday night was the best reminder of why i do this. It reminded me a lot of ballet actually, on a day to day basis you think things like: freak i hate ballet, my body hurts, the teacher hates me, this is pointless. Then comes performance time and all you remember is why you love it so dang much. I love missionary work. I love that the Henke family is set on the path to be together forever. I love that i got to spend a night with not only mama b but also with TAU! it was an awesome reunion:] the spirit was so strong. Todd got up at the end to share his testimony and he had actually written a poem. who knew he was a closet poet? When we got home that night i went to bed thinking heck, i love my mission.
 How do I begin, where do I start
Fifteen years ago a Mormon woman captured my heart
Little did I know I would be standing here today
Teary eyed, forgiven, wiped clean, the Holy Ghost found a way
Our family began with a little baby boy
Cameron's his name and oh what a joy
Then came a test, a test like no other
a pregnancy cut short for Dad and for Mother
Its time to begin your greatest test on this earth
For today I present you with Joel's miracle birth
Doctors weren't sure if he would live or he would die
But we prayed and prayed that we would not have to say goodbye
Our lives were changed forever that day
The Lord was with us every step of the way
What happens next was for sure a long shot
For we wanted a girl to mix up the pot
Our sweet dear Allyson, what a blessing was she
We thought for sure it was going to be boy number three
A sweet little girl who brings joy to our life
Her smile and her laughter and everything nice
Logan would join us from a life lived before
Little did we know that soon that would be no more
My dear son Logan a child was he
When darkness prevailed our eyes didn't see
That painful memory still haunts us to this day
But with God’s plan of forgiveness, I know his sin can be washed away
Torn was the family from head to toe
That life again as we knew it was starting to go
Mom and Dad, brothers too
Turned their backs on my family without a clue
Still to this day our life is the same
Not one word of I'm sorry too much pain
I felt like an apple thrown out to rot
Everywhere I turned, life seemed to be an empty lot
The church I grew up knowing, learning, and supporting
Seemed a far cry from what Luther taught in his writings
The people seemed cold, distant, and sometimes rude
Not what I expected from a church that I gave my life to
There were many times that Michelle did suggest
That we at least try LDS
I did go a few times but to no ones surprise
You don't get very far only after a few tries
Then along came two sisters on bikes nonetheless
I thought to myself could they have the right address
Bowden and Tau, strong in their convictions
Knowing full well their life changing intentions
They started teaching week after week
The kids actually looked forward to hearing them speak
The gospel restored, Baptism talks
That's when it hit me, the LDS sisters rock
Boys were baptized, the Spirit received
Follow in their footsteps, I believe
With my future secure and the Holy Spirit near
I now know that I have nothing to fear
Thank you to all who have shown us the way
You've given us a path back to Heavenly Father's stay
And to my wife who never lost sight
            We’ll be sealed forever in eternal light.

Im so grateful to be out serving a mission. I'm so so grateful that Heavenly father hears and answers my prayers. It's not always instantaneously, but man it always seems to be right when i need it the most:] Last night when we hopped into the car for dinner the lady said oh by the way my husband isn't a member. Instantly in my mind i'm thinking oh heck what's plan b for our lesson then? We typically have been sharing the same lesson with all the members on missionary work. So all throughout dinner i'm thinking crap, i don't know anything about them really. I said a prayer in my head and just asked Heavenly Father what can i share with this family? Boom, the thought came. That lesson was one of the most inspired moments i've had on my mission. I know that we just need to rely on our Heavenly Father. It's all Him and with the help of the Holy Ghost, man we are set:] 
I love you guys so much! Thank you for all the love and suppport you give me:] oh and freak, have a happy halloween!! i'm so bummed that i can't be there to eat all the candy with you:]

Love, Sister Bowden 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 27 - Anything Helps . . . .


well here we are another week just passing on by, ok i'm gonna be real this past week was pretty dang discouraging... but for some reason or another i can't seem to stay down for too long. I know that things will start coming together as we keep striving to do what is right.
At the beginning of the week we still didn't have a "good" map of our area and the ward list that we had got from the clerk didn't really help us at all.. I had no idea what to do really. We decided to go over to the chamber of commerce in hopes that they of all people would have a good map of Katy.. yeah no. haha it felt like we had walked to egypt and back and basically for nothing. I was starting to get super frustrated but fortunately that night we were able to meet Charlene Taylor. She's a mom of 5 young kids the oldest being 8, she's been investigating the church for over a year now and her husband wants basically nothing to do with it. She was planning on getting baptized in the summer with her daughter but uh... yep that didn't happen. we're trying to get things fired up again but she's canceled on the appointments that we've set. oh yippee. She did come to church though so i can't help but keep a positive outlook on it. I feel that me and Sister Combs might be able to help her out a little more than the previous elders could. 
It rained a ton this week! making it pretty hard to be on bikes. haha it's moments like that though that i'm super grateful to have sister combs for my companion. Regardless of what's happening, we always seem to be laughing at some dumb joke we made. We accidentally trespassed onto a golf course one day oddly enough they were having a tournament that day... hey if anything we were seen by a lot of people and maybe that was why we ended up there. 
On Wednesday night we had mission correlation and low and behold our ward mission leader is still MIA! we were trying to tell the ward missionaries that all we needed was a map of all the street names and a list of less active and part member families. I felt like i was literally speaking hebrew,  Haha no one was understanding what we needed, it always came back to so.. you guys have bikes? and... you guys are being fed right? Oh. my. heavens. YES! i have a dang bike but it's pointless to have unless i have someone to go see. and YES! we're being fed, i could care less about meals i want to teach somebody! it felt like literally for an hour and half we just walked in circles, by the end of it i just sighed and said.. anything helps.  Which has now become an inside joke with me and combs. Haha we'll always say it when something is completely pointless. Seriously i swear i'm trying to get things going but i feel like i just keep banging my head against a brick wall. 
We got to go to the temple this past Friday which is always a good time!  I'm so so grateful that we have a temple in our mission. I have really come to appreciate the peace we can feel when inside. It's also an awesome opportunity to attend it with missionaries you are serving with. I have made some of the greatest friends out here and it's been incredible to see them change along with myself:]
So saturday was probably one of the worst days out on my mission. Me and Combs decided we were gonna hit it hard that day and just try to see and contact as many people as possible seeing that we have a whole whopping almost one investigator. Well we get to a former investigators house and knock on the door and a middle eastern man answered it. I say hey were sister missionaries we share a message of jesus christ, could we share a message with you and your family? He turns around and walks into his living room telling his wife to come talk to us, but... she didn't really want to so she started to get up and walk away. I'm not really sure how it happened but all of the sudden the man was beating his wife. We could hear him hitting her and yelling at her, and her just crying and shrieking. I literally felt the spirit just leave us. I had no idea what to do, we both felt super helpless because really, what do you do? A part of me wanted to bust in there and beat the crap out of this terrible guy, but i just felt frozen. He came back to the door and said sorry maybe come back another time. We just turned around and started walking back home. I think what sucked the most though was that it really hit Combs, for the next 3 hours she wouldn't really say much. No matter what joke i made or what question i would ask, she was just not feeling it. I'm not the greatest comforter in the world, in fact i feel super awkward when people start crying or are sad and i'm just sitting there like heya... please be happy? ah it was the worst. and i never wanna feel like that again. 
Sunday! so we were asked to come into sharing time and just let the primary kids ask us a few questions. Jr primary flew by and was super funny, i swear i love little kids. Then comes the sr primary and after we had finished i just say ok does anybody have any questions for us? big mistake. One of the girl throws her hand up and says Do you like anybody? haha i just start laughing and combs says.. well i like bowden a lot. and then i say yeah we like everybody. The little girl rolls her eyes and says No! like boys! do you like any boys?? haha i was kinda at a loss for words so Combs just says nope, as missionaries we don't like any boys! The girl didn't really like that but we just hurried up and got the heck outta there. After church she came running up to me, grabbed my arm and said PLEASE tell me you found someone you love on your mission? In my mind i'm thinking sheesh little girl what do you know!! haha but i just said no i just love everyone and she looked at me and said. It's ok to be in love and a missionary. oh. my. goodness. who is this little girl?? anyways it was just really funny.
This morning on the way over here a guy at our apartment yelled at us and said hey i've seen you guys out here every morning what are you doing? I just yelled back and said we teach people about Christ! He said wait wait are you mormons?? I said yep we sure are. He told us to wait right there and that he wanted to talk to us. MEGA MIRACLE my friends. Ricardo is super interested in the church and the things we believe so you bet i'll be praying for him a lot this coming week:]
 I love you guys so much! i hope this week is awesome and not too chilly for ya! i miss ya all the days and we'll talk to ya soon:] Preach on.

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 26 - Keep Going, Keep Going, Keep Going

So well,,, haha wow. 

All i can say is seriously this week has been just a whirlwind of big changes. I am now serving in the Katy 2nd ward, i'm training Sister Combs, and whaddayaknow i'm still on bike:] 
Wednesday was probably one of the hardest days of mission so far, it was my last day in Fairfield so we kinda took the afternoon to let me go around and say bye to some of the families and people that i have come to love and care for. It was really hard. Todd Henke had his baptismal interview that afternoon and as i got to bear my testimony to them one last time i really felt this deep bond and connection with their family. If the whole point of my mission was to help the Henke family then heck, i'd feel like i had a successful experience.
BUT now i'm serving with freakin Sister Combs. Guys she's from Roy, Utah. Literally she grew up down the street from me and i love her to pieces!! We have basically the same sense of humor, it's like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone are now mission companions so basically we laugh all day long. It literally has been SUCH a blessing to have her as a companion because let me tell you about the first week here in Katy. So we get dropped off with all our stuff around 3... ish.. and we have no phone... and no keys... The Elders that were here previously had taken it with them. Haha so i had no way of talking or getting a hold of anyone we were basically stranded. awesome. Finally our district leader comes by to see how we're doing (i'll give ya the scoop on my new great great leader in a sec) i tell him that i have no phone or keys or anything. So i borrow his phone and call the assistants. Heavens to betsy let's just say it was a mess and i was just grateful on Friday when we finally had keys to the apartment and the phone for our area. My dear new district leader Elder Chollet.. hahaha i'm not really even sure what to say.. ok this was his first comment to me. "Sister Bowden i was hoping that either you or Sister Follsom would be the ones put down here" Chollet in my kindest way of saying is the sleezeball of the mission. haha he just... tends to prey upon certain sisters and i refuse to be one of them. So everytime he texts i usually don't respond and if he calls i make combs answer it.. he's just so.. awesome. But wait there's more, so white washing, basically i have come to understand this means "the elders weren't really doing anything so i need you to get down there and pick things back up again" We had no maps, no lists of ward members or investigators, literally nothing. All i can say is that opening Fairfield was SO much easier, i didn't realize just how much Elder Vought and Hardy had really done for me. haha they handed me the phone with every number i would ever need in it. They left us with a map that had the whole area broken up. Sheesh. This has definitely been a hastle. Not to mention the Ward Mission Leader just happens to be out of town this week:] all i can say is... typical.
Saturday we got the opportunity of going to the Houston Food Bank and doing a couple hours of service. Just so everyone knows there are no real green apples inside. haha we just went through donated food and threw out what was expired and what was still good. By the end of it i was starving (you know how i get) and ended up eating a whole pizza. hey, just love me alright. that afternoon we were able to meet up with the Bishop to try and figure out whats going on in the ward. He basically said "Katy is a rough area everyone is pretty well off so it makes it hard to do missionary work" Ok did i just hear that from the bishop?? Whoa whoa whoa, hold the phone chief. We do not just throw in the towel because it's a "hard area" that's not gonna fly with me. So right then i knew alright, my purpose here is to build things back up, the bishop has even lost his fire and excitement towards missionary work and he is leading this ward! That night we went to our ward's Chili cook off to try and get to know members and see what's going on. Well we ended up being the judges of this cook off because the Bishop didn't want to do it this year. Haha i felt like the freakin grinch when he has to taste all the food at the hoo party. Seriously wanting to explode and then there's another person cramming there chilli in my face. haha ok but seriously, texans take their cook offs seriously i'm 83% sure we had some pretty ticked off mothers when we left. Great way to get in with the members right?? So by saturday night i'm feeling pretty frustrated. I'm in this new area, wasn't feeling the warmest of welcomes, and i honestly am just here to get work done. Sunday things started to change! We went to ward council and eh, that was alright. I told Combs that honestly what happened this sunday would really show if the ward was supportive of missionaries or wasn't really feeling them yet. As we were walking into sacrament we got asked to say the prayers so i thought, ah yeah there's a little something. Then after the speakers had finished up i looked at the clock and realized oh wow we still have like 15 minutes to kill. The 1st counselor gets up and i can see that he's looking for us, he asks if we'd be willing to bear our testimonies. FREAK YES! of course my heart is pounding and i'm trying to hurry and think of something great to say, but i got up and just was really honest. Combs finished it off and after the meeting a lot of the members were more willing to come and talk to us. A guy in our ward Brother Hancock, said hey you guys need bikes right? I said yeah we've been on the hunt for some and he said well if you can't find any please call me, i'd love to buy bikes for you 2. WHOA. did that just happen? A man in the ward just offered to buy us bikes? So yes, katy 2 is slowly but surely starting to show their true colors and i'm really excited to see what me and Combs will be able to whip out. We found a harp in our apartment and i'm pretty dang sure were gonna use it for the talent show coming up in november. 
The best part of sunday though was last night right before we were getting to bed, i texted mama blattman just to keep up on her and let her know i was thinking about her and i guess that i was brought up in Relief Society or something and this is what one of the member said "I heard one of 3 things from every boy in the ward concerning Sister Bowden: they either 1 wanted to marry her, 2 wanted to marry someone JUST like her, or 3 become a missionary just like her. If she did nothing greater in this area she influenced a generation of young men." I"m gonna be honest i was completely caught off guard by this, i mean sure yeah i had to talk to the young men and tried to be funny but i guess i didn't realize that i really could leave a lasting impression like that. It's all because of Heavenly Father though, everything i am He made me. I will be forever grateful for all the people that i was able to meet in fairfield, and for all the things that i got to experience while i was there. But my mission does have to continue, I have to keep looking forward. don't look for someone to blame, look for someone to help you:] I love ya all the days, do me a favor and watch a scary movie or go to some haunted forest cuz this girl has to miss out on all that this year! Talk to ya soon:]

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 25 - Daily Decisions Determine Destiny

Well Family!! hi, hey, how are ya?:]

Soo general conference.. amazing right?? ok let's be real this is probably the first year of my life where i truly have a GIANT appreciation for modern day prophets and apostles. Just like Monson said this was truly an inspired conference. Earlier this week i was taking a stroll down memory lane and thinking of where i was a year ago as apposed to where i am right now. yikes, yikes, yikes. haha ok so a year ago the night before conference i had stayed up WAY late with stacy (of course) so that saturday we rolled outta bed and decided to get some breakfast at village inn. As we were sitting there we were discussing that tattoo that i was wanting to get and i'm sure talking about the boys that were "so important" in my life during this time. i was wrapped up in school and work and church was definitely on the back burner. we were laughing away when all of the sudden mom calls crying. She states that her and dad's prayers have been answered and that i could serve a mission right then. I remember getting off the phone in shock and then literally laughing at the idea with Stacy. We laughed and i thought wow i can't believe how serious they were... me.. on a mission?? But low and behold it's incredible to see where i am now. I am on a mission. I've been out 6 months and there is literally nothing that has brought me more joy. this year the night before i made a list of 5 questions that i would like to be answered said a prayer and watched the miracle happen in my own life. These men are inspired of God. They are so aware of the things that we each individually are going through. There were a couple themes but the one that really really stood out to me was that we need to follow the first great commandment. To love the Lord with all our soul, heart, might, mind and strength. To make our families a priority. To have faith and exercise it regularly. To not wait anymore, now is the time to act, now is the time to be kinder, now is the time to come and join with us:] My favorite speaker though was Elder Edward Dube. oh man he was SO great!! it just makes me wanna find a black man to teach even more! ( and yes i promise i will fulfill that goal before i come home) "Never look back, look at what you still have to do" I feel that that is seriously where i am right now. I could take a step back and say man, i have done so much. i'm good, but WAIT there is still SO much more for me to do, learn, and experience! Last year during this same time my man Elder Holland gave his talk that changed my life forever. I hope and pray that we each will take the things that were shared this past weekend and put them to action, because i know without a doubt that that is when the blessings come!
Transfers are tomorrow! And...... I"M BEING TRANSFERRED! crazy. crazy. crazy.  i really did think i'd have one more in Fairfield with Possin but i guess there are other things in store for me. The thing that's gonna be the worst is that they switched the days, usually we transfer on Thursdays so all day wednesday you can run around and say bye to everyone... well today is our p-day so i'll have couple hours tonight to try and say bye to everyone. I'm not sure how they'll react,, Kiley Westbrook is getting baptized this coming sunday, Todd Henke is going to be baptized the 26, and the Day girls.... what's gonna happen if i leave? actually i know that answer, the work will continue, the people will progress:] It's never me that's vitally necessary it's the spirit. The past day has just been a whirlwind with finding out that i'm leaving. To add the cherry on top some of my favorite Elders out here are going home this week! I feel like all my favorite people are heading off into the sunset.. haha but i still have work to do.
I know that everytime we put the Lord first he is going to bless us. I can't say enough how incredible the power of the atonement is. Christ came, he died, he rose the 3rd day, everything is an appendage of this one infinite act. I'm grateful to be a missionary during this exciting time. I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me, He knows me. I feel so humbled to know that now instead of just having a testimony of my feelings and my experiences i'm starting to gain a testimony of this gospel and its teachings. You never know when someone is going to feel that spark, when they are going to see that light. I pray everyday that i might be able to help someone come closer to Christ. It's awesome knowing that Fairfield is such a better place now than it was when i first got into the area! The work is about to boom and i can't wait to hear about all the wonderful experiences that take place. I have made lifelong relationships with a lot of the people here and will miss them so much. I wrote on Mama Blattman's chalkboard the last time i was there and when i called to tell her last night that i was being transferred she said I'm never erasing my chalkboard! haha i might sell it, but i won't erase it:] My life is a mystery and it's cool watching how everything plays out. I love you all SO much and miss you all the days. Keep praying for missionary work because it's important dang it!!

Love, Sista Bowden