Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 31 - The Walls Come Tumbling Down . . .

My favorite people!

Well there goes another week and i can't believe that i'm already sitting here again trying to figure out what to share! This past week was awesome:] 
Tuesday night was probably the first time that i have ever actually felt frustrated with Combs.  We were getting ready to go to dinner and i asked her ok what do you feel like sharing with the family and she paused and said well i don't know.. ahh i was so tired and i was hoping she would have something she wanted to share but... no haha so i whipped something out and then when we got home we had to get ready for exchanges. I was feeling pretty excited for exchanges cuz in my head i was thinking woo hoo! i'm gonna be with the sister training leader, i get a day to just let her take the lead, i can just take a breather.... haha oh oh good one. So i get with Sister Morris and we start doing a little planning for the next day... she talked for an hour and a half. i was so tired that i just crawled into bed and passed out. The next day ALL the appointments that they had planned fell through.. so ya know what we did?! it's probably my most favorite thing to do as a missionary... we tracted. ALL DAY. But it wasn't just that we were tracting it was the fact that as we started out Sister Morris made the comment it usually takes me awhile to warm up to people. So instead of getting the day break that i was planning on getting, i ended up working my butt off in somebody else's area and found them a couple potential investigators. When we got back to our church to swap back me and combs were SO excited to see each other! hahaha my heart got all happy and you would have thought we hadn't seen each other for 5 years or something. I read during studies Alma 29:3 which basically says we need to be grateful for the things which the Lord has given us instead of just wanting something better all the time. Thank you exchanges for truly making me so so grateful for a companion that laughs at my jokes, that keeps me laughing even when we wanna punch something, that has my back at all times, and who is truly someone that i can rely on. I've realized that having a good companion really can make or break missionary work.  It affects everything haha so maybe president should just let us pick our own companions from now on right?:]
We've been doing service at an Alzheimer's place here in Katy and freak can i just tell you how much i love it!! The first time i was kinda nervous not really knowing what to expect and the ladies basically took us to the people and said have at it. The first time we just sat and talked with different people and the second time we taught a painting class hahaha aka we painted circles with them. It literally was the greatest thing i have ever done. You talk to one of them and la la la within 5 minutes you are reintroducing yourself and they are telling you how pretty you are for the 17th time. They are so precious and i love going over there. The only crappy part is that they don't allow us to take pictures:/ cuz seriously i would love you guys to see Edna and Jackie haha Jackie is hilarious and ALWAYS has bright red lipstick. she's always excited to see you.. over and over again. They really do put a smile on your face.
Me and combs have this inside joke where we say mmm we don't work hard we walk hard. Which is probably the truest statement i have ever said. We walk the streets of Katy like no one's business i don't think i have ever walked so much in my gosh dang life. One day we had to walk to other side of China to try and track down a less active lady just to find out that she didn't even live there... one thing's for sure i will not be gaining one gosh dang pound while i am serving here, not even one:]
We had dinner with a family in the ward this past week whose son is hilarious he's i think 12 or 13 and sarcasm is his finest trait. At one point during dinner the dad said Braden will you pass the rolls, i'm gonna eat one? and he responded with oh no way dad i thought you were gonna put it in your wallet! haha me and combs were busting a gut the whole time even though i think at times it annoyed the parents. Ah, i love people who can make me laugh. 
That night after dinner we got back to our apartment and low and behold ricardo was walking to his mailbox. He made the statement I swear i keep running into you guys for a reason and you bet your bottom we jumped all over that! of course you keep running into us ricardo! Heavenly Father is clearly trying to get your attention! We had a really really awesome lesson with him about the word of wisdom and we were asking questions to try and get a feel for where his testimony was at. He said that he believe the Book of Mormon to be true! So i feel like this was not all in vain! We fasted for him sunday to go to church... well he did go to church just not ours. haha but hey we ended up getting him over there last night for a tour and it was a really neat experience. I think he really is starting to get excited about the church and the impact that it could have on his life. At one point he asked if he would be able to do what me and combs do and it completely caught me off guard. I asked him why he was thinking about it and he said that he just wants to impact other people that way that we have impacted him. He also made the comment Sister Bowden i don't think you realize how influential you really are.. the way you say things and the way you act towards people really does leave a lasting impact on them. I'm not really sure what that even means but hey if something i said clicked with Ricardo then by golly i just moved a mountain people!
Yesterday was probably one of the best sundays i have had as a missionary. We had decided to fast because we needed a little extra help to get something going with the ward (which i'll be honest fasting for me and combs is a miracle in itself) but i know that the Lord is so aware of the sacrifices we make for others around us. Even if it is skipping out on a couple meals. When we got to church the Hansen family had brought their neighbors who they found out were a part member family! During Sacrament meeting a recent convert got up and shared his story of how he and his family became interested in the church and how they had made the decision to get baptized! It was so awesome and their family had become interested all because of another family in the ward! I'm telling you the big secret to missionary work is the members! but anyways it was a really powerful talk and he gave us a couple shout outs which was awesome. Then Sister Hancock prayed for me and Sister Combs over the pulpit. WHOA. uhmm is this the Katy 2 ward?? Me and Combs had also been asked to teach the Sunday School lesson because it was on member missionary work. we had been planning on sharing Elder Ballard's talk Put Your Trust In the Lord but due to technical difficulties we ended up winging it! It honestly was my Alma and Amulek moment with Combs. ah man. We just went for it and it was so cool to look out and not only see the women crying but to see most of the men getting teary eyed as well. When we started i made the statement that i hoped that the Holy Ghost would be the teacher here and that he would be able to direct us all individually and as a whole and i think that set it off on the right note. We finished up with about 15 or so minutes left so the regular teacher jumped at the opportunity and asked me and Combs 2 questions. 1: What made us decide to serve a mission? and 2: What is one experience from your mission that you will always keep with you? I can't even really tell you everything i said, but it was from my heart. When i answered the second question i wasn't really sure what to say i mean heck, one experience?? i could go on ALL THE DAYS about what i'm gonna keep with me. But i decided to open up to them, i shared with them that i was wanting to go home when a specific member of their ward had us over for dinner and even though we had gone into her house to teach her, she had taught me. She had helped me in more ways than she will ever know. I told them that while we are here to serve them and do all we can, at times i feel like they influence and impact our lives more than they realize. The spirit was soo strong in the room. As we were walking out i had a couple people stop me and say that what i had shared really touched them and that they hadn't felt the spirit like that in months. You don't realize this but people want to try to be better around you, you have this feeling you give off that makes us just want to be more. WOO! I love being a missionary. Who even am i?? and who would have ever thought that i would stand in a room in front of all these adults and be able to inspire them?? It's all because of that great big man upstairs, and i really can't wait for the day when i can give him a high 5 and say oh my gosh, do you remember that one time when i was in Katy and me and Sister Combs finally brought down the walls between us and the ward?? It was one of the best experiences i have had. 
I really just want to be a force for good. I just so badly want people to feel what i have in my heart and to know that they have so much to look forward to. The key to the challenges facing us and to the success of this work is the faith of those who call themselves Latter Day Saints. I know that a huge barrier between our success was moved yesterday:] i know that the members of the ward are starting to feel the love for missionary work, and i'm very very grateful to be a part of it. I know that this is His work, and while most the time i try to make it MY work, i just keep falling on my face. Hey i'm a work in progress and have been since my birth haha i love our Savior and i'm so grateful for the patience and love that he has towards me. 
Oh ps. so this is a picture of my mailbox... and it's the weirdest thing! i keep getting packages and letters from Arizona and yet... i haven't gotten something from Utah in months...:] it's just SO weird...
I love you all and hope that this week is a good one! you guys are number one and i'm sure i'll be talking to you sooner then i realize! Ps transfers are this week (already) but me and Combs are of course still together:]

Love, Sister Bowden

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