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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 61 - Ask God not GOOGLE!

​Well i can't believe that here we are again! Another week just slippin right by:] This past week was quite a challenging one, but i am very grateful for the things that i was able to learn throughout it!

Tuesday morning in the middle of personal study we got a little knock on the door. I went to answer it and it was one of our neighbors! He handed me a folded up piece of paper and said I've had some questions and I just wanted to get your thoughts on them, I ask him if we could come stop by sometime to discuss his questions and he says absolutely! I close the door open the paper and just thought... oh great... His questions were things like "Do you believe you'll have your own planet one day with your mormon family? and "Was Joseph Smith a mason?"  Just really lame questions that you know aren't because he's searching for truth... I feel like this was just a little heads up for the rest of the week.

One night we had some extra time on our hands so Sister Bonner wanted to try and contact a  potential investigator. We get to this house and he wasn't home but his mom wanted to talk to us. Turns out that she has spent months researching our faith, and man she has read A LOT of books and with that I mean a lot of anti-books.  I'm pretty sure she knew more about Joseph Smith's life than I did.  She was going off and it was mind blowing to me how much effort this lady had put in to proving that Joseph Smith was not a prophet.  I got the opportunity to bear my testimony to her on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and that it has only strengthened my faith in the Savior.  Sister Bonner then asked her if she had ever prayed about the things she had read and she hadn't!!! Through all her studying and searching not once did she get on her knees and ask God.  He is the one with all truth and yet she completely disregarded his thoughts on the subject.  My advice for everyone is to do as the scriptures indicate ASK OF GOD, not google. In the end it's His opinion that is going to count anyways.

This whole experience though had me thinking on the power of words. "By His word the world was created" and I know that by His word it could also be destroyed. We are His children so do you think that possibly we possess that same power?  "Death and Life are in the power of the tongue."  That's a pretty hefty scripture... I mention all of this because the things that that lady said potentially had the power to kill my faith and testimony.  She literally was out to destroy my beliefs.. I feel that all of us should be mindful of the words we use, and just be aware that they have the ability to give life and encourage or they can do the exact opposite.

As we were out driving around Martin Luther King Dr (aka the ghetto of our area) we saw a group of kids playing basketball! And some of them were members of our ward, we hopped out and decided to join in. We split up into teams and basically it was 2 pretty dang good black kids... and then me and Bonner.  One of them kept saying "Oh call me Kevin Durant! call me Kevin!!"  They thought they owned the place haha so Bonner looks at me and says "They must be humbled!"  Hahaha oh it was so great:]  We beat them. I BEAT KEVIN DURANT AT BASKETBALL!!  How sweet is that?  And the best part is that one of them ended up coming to church yesterday! SO sick:]

We had some incredible teaching moments this past week and I have really felt so grateful for the restoration in my life! The gospel is so good, yes we have some ups and downs in life but I know that we can find renewed strength and support from its teachings!

Oh sad news... Me and Bonner will no longer be companions:/  She is getting transferred tomorrow.  The killer B's are no more:/  I'm actually pretty bummer about it, we saw it coming but it still sucks.  The work that we have been able to accomplish this past transfer has been awesome!.. and i'm slightly concerned that I won't be able to keep that pace on my own.  Things will work out though right?  Ah the only constant in our lives is change. woof.

I hope that you guys have an incredible incredible week!! I love you all and miss you dearly!! Stay strong:]
Love, Sister Bowden

Week - 62 Its A State of Mind

Well hello hello my dear family:]
It's crazy to me to think how drastically my life can change all in a matter of days as a missionary. haha the only things that's constant is change.
Sooo... Transfers...
I was called to serve as a Sister Training Leader!! haha yay?  Ok . . . No actually I asked president to NOT put me as an STL.  I've been with Bonner for the past 3 months so trust me, i got a nice taste of what it's like.  I was hoping that i'd just be able to die out easy...  Haha looks like that's not the plan.  He's gonna squeeze every last ounce of energy and commitment that I have!!  When the assistants called Monday night to ask me if i'd be willing to do it my response was  "Is president feeling well? or are we just getting that desperate?"  Haha the assistants didn't really know how to respond but Ahhh!! There are soo many other sisters that i think should have been called! and I am completely content with not being in leadership, actually I would prefer to not be in leadership cuz then no one can have that high expectation of me!  But, such is life right! I figured ok if he's calling me to be STL then he HAS to give me a super great companion! . . . . 
I am now serving with Sister Suoamy Estafania Diaz Varela haha and if that isn't a mouthful I don't know what is! She is from Honduras (so yes she's learning english) and has been out on her mission for 7 months. She's got a bit of that latin fire in her and as I saw her name on the transfer paper next to mine I just thought... what is this world coming to?  Haha we get back to our apartment to do personal study and she says Sister... I must tell you something (in a thick Honduran accent) I say alrighty what's up?  She pulls out her white handbook starts waving it in the air and says I have heard plenty of you and I want you to know that we will be following this book for as long as we be companions.   I literally felt my blood start boiling under my skin (so.. really good first impression:])  It took everything I had to just nod my head and say "You're right sister Diaz."  Haha so you could definitely say that my stress level instantly went through the roof!!  We went to a couple lessons and it. was. almost. disastrous.  I'm not sure if it's just a Honduran thing . . . or maybe a language barrier.... but Sister Diaz is super blunt. kind of harshly blunt.  During our lessons some of our investigators would look at me with this "what-is-this-girl-talking-about" sorta look and I wanted to cry!

I have come to the conclusion that I literally can't control anything. Not. one. thing. EXCEPT, my attitude which for a couple days was definitely not the best. Yesterday in church though a guy gave a really good analogy on trusting in the lord. When you grow cotton all summer long you water it and nourish it and then right in the dead heat of summer, you deprive the plant of water.  Why?  Because if it keeps getting watered it will just grow big and green, it won't produce the fruit that it's designed too so you take the water from it for a few weeks, then wa-la you have the perfect cotton plant and you can return to watering it.  I think this applies to each one of our lives.  We can be going along doing what's right being nurtured and growing and WHAM!! we get flippin blindsided and for a couple weeks are struggling to understand what in the world is going on!!  But, I know that for us to fulfill our purposes on earth we have to be put in situations that don't always seem ideal.
I will keep trusting in the lord and try to understand what it is that Sister Diaz and I are supposed to accomplish together:]  The week did get better as time went on and I know that the transfer will get better as time goes on.  But yes, i miss Sister Bonner like you wouldn't believe!  I know that a lot of this will come down to me and my attitude.  What an incredible experience this will be to get to spend a couple months with a girl from Honduras, how neat is it to know that the gospel is the same throughout the world, and hey, I just might get a little bit better at my espanol:]

Things are just as busy as ever though, lots of investigators, lots of people to try and keep in contact with:]  I absolutely love it and feel so blessed to be serving in an area like Montgomery.  Heavenly Father has been so good to me and I just need to keep trusting in Him.

OH hey and can you even believe that I turn 22 in 2 days?!  Haha "Oh no, my eggs are dying!"  Crazy, crazy, I still feel the same.  Make sure to light off some sparklers in memorial of the birth of one of the greatest girls to ever walk the earth:]
I love you all and miss ya like crazy!! I hope you have an awesome week! You are in my thoughts and prayers:]
Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 60 - OH Happy Day!

​Well hello there strangers:]

It's just been another blessed week here in Montgomery Texas and I just feel super grateful to be out in the heat serving the Lord:]
*drum roll*
CHERA HARBIN has been baptized!!! It was an absolutely incredible moment.  I got to stand there and watch her husband Derek baptize and just seeing how happy they both were just made the whole experience so worthwhile!  At the end of the program Chera had agree to sharing her testimony.  She goes up and says ,"I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be saying up here"... and in my mind I'm thinking oh crap.. this is about to get buckwild... but then she continues to say ,"I know that this is where I'm supposed to be, I know that this church is true." BOOM! are you kidding me?  My cheeks were killing from smiling so much!  It was just such a good moment and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that I had to be a part of it.  Chera is a prime example of the atonement.  To see the changes that have happened over the past 8 months is so incredible.  I know that anyone can change with the help of our savior.  Anyone.

I got to spend some time with my best friend Sista Combs again:]  Haha . . . I literally have never felt as close to someone as I do with her.  She is just simply my best friend and I can completely be myself around her. Haha . . . I can't even say how dang excited I am for the adventures that we will have once we get off our missions.  She is #1.

After church yesterday we had an incredible teaching moment.  Awhile back we were having dinner with one of our members and their inactive son had a bunch of friends outside having a bonfire, Sister Bonner had gone out there to share a scripture with them and la la la fast forward... one of those friends came to our ward activity this past Wednesday!  I was down in Conroe but Bonnie invited him to take the lessons.  We show up Sunday and we weren't too sure if he was actually going to be there BUT he was!!  As we went through the restoration (for the bazillionth time) there was an incredible spirit in the room.  We asked him, "Why do you think this message that we share would be significant in your life?"  His response:  "Well.. if it's true, that would mean a lot to my eternal well being."  NO WAY!  What 21-year-old guy even says things like that?  It was so smooth and just filled with the spirit.  We invited him to be baptized and he said yes, that if he found it to be true he would:]  OH HAPPY DAY:]  It's interesting to me though that regardless of how many times we may teach the restoration, each time it will go a little differently, each time I learn something new, and each time my faith in the Savior is strengthened.

Heavenly Father is literally SO good all the time.  We continually see his blessing being poured out in our work. I know that as we overcome our own personal fears the Lord will strengthen and bless us:]  While I have never been so tired in my whole life I truly am so grateful for the opportunity of "enduring to the end."  I can't even say how many times I think, "I should just sleep in today.. we should just take it easy."  But nope.  We don't have time for that.  The work that you do today could make all the difference in eternity:]  I know that that is true, it's what's keeping me going.

I love YOU ALL!  Hope this week is just so full of great things that you don't even know what to do:]

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 59 - No Greater Calling!

Well greetings to the coolest family in all the land!!

I hope this past week was an incredible one for all of you!  I just feel very overwhelmed with my heart full of gratitude today and I hope this letter can pick ya up and put a smile on your face:] 

There were some very incredible things that happened this past week, but for some reason I feel like talking about SOME of the investigators we have been focusing on lately, because  don't think I've talked enough about them and how great they all are!

So first and foremost we have Chera Harbin and she is getting baptized this Saturday!!! *fireworks* *guns shooting* *audience applause*  Haha I can't even begin to say how excited I am for her and the step that she is about to  take! It has been a long time coming and if anything, Chera has taught me that your circumstances are not what define you. She has come from a pretty rough background with drugs and prison, but regardless of all these things, Chera still has one of the most caring hearts.  I know that truly through Christ we can be cleansed and we can change ourselves.  While she has been a little stubborn, I know that the Lord has been preparing her for this time.  One of the best parts about the whole thing is that her husband Derrick (who got baptized in March) is going to be the one baptizing her.   This past week I got the incredible opportunity to go to the temple with Derrick for the first time. We went into the baptismal room and as Derrick entered the font my whole heart was just so happy!  As I sat there and watched him do baptisms the scripture entered my mind "greater love hath no man than this . . that a man lay down his life for his friend."  I am so grateful that I have been able to serve a mission.  While I may have made some sacrifices in order to do so, it was so worth it.  I would give it up all over again just so that I could sit and watch Derrick enter the temple.  It's the small, quiet moments like that that truly make your mission worthwhile.

Jade Walles! Another incredible woman who's husband has been inactive for quite some time.  She has been taught the missionary lessons multiple times and the one thing that stops her from being baptized is that she doesn't want to do it alone.  She wants her husband to be right there with her, willing to wake up and come to church.  She wants time with her family.  As me and Bonner were discussing what we could do to get them to church, we decided that clearly we needed to talk to Clint.   Haha the awkward moments never cease as a missionary.  As I called him up at work I don't even know what I said but it was so awkward and I basically told him "Hey... your wife really wants to do this so will you get your act together and come to church?"  He said some decent excuses and after I hung up, I just thought 'well that went awful.'  THE NEXT DAY he sent me the greatest text in all the land:]  Haha and yesterday they made it church!  I was so excited and I could tell that the bishop was too!  Good things are happening in Montgomery.

And yes we still have Marcus... He's coming along.. praying about when he should be baptized.  I think his struggle is just not wanting to lose his family by making this decision. I know though, that the Lord can do incredible things and He will provide a way for Marcus if he wants it.

OH! and Yessica Perez:] So a couple weeks ago Sister Niedert and I went knocking.  We knocked on a house and a young girl came to the door... she didn't look so hot.  She told us that she had been throwing up all day but that we could come back another time. Doesn't sound too promising, huh?  Well, she's actually been coming to church and reading and praying!  It was the last thing that I expected, but I think she just might get baptized at the end of this month:]

I am just so grateful.  So grateful to be serving a full time mission deep in the heart of Texas! It seems that I went from the Europe of Texas to the Mexico of Texas and I'm just trying to keep everybody on the right path.  At times I feel completely exhausted, I'll go to bed thinking there is no way that I'm getting up at 6:30 tomorrow.. but then the alarm goes off and once again my knees are hitting the floor.  I love this work.  It truly has changed my life for the better.  I love Heavenly Father and how willing He is to answer my prayers.  I hope that this week is one full of incredible experiences and that you'll find yourself saying an extra prayer or two!!


-Sister Bowden

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 58 - It was Worth the Miles


Well here we are again:] This past week has been a great one, one filled with moving mountains within myself. I truly am grateful for our Heavenly Father who is so very patient and trusting with me.  Haha, I don't even deserve it.

So I got the opportunity to go on exchanges with Sister Colton (sister Possin's current companion) and at first I was really looking forward to it.  I was excited thinking that I was going to be able to help her and comfort her.  Man, was I wrong.  I hop in the car and for the next 40 minutes she just yells, yells, screams, vents, drives angrily.  I was very happy to get into the apartment.. but oh it didn't end there.  I stayed up til 2 in the morning listening to Sister Colton.  I thought that I struggled with Possin . . . haha she made my transfer with her look like a piece of heaven.  She's really struggling and it seemed like every time I offered advice or comfort, No. she just wanted to be angry.  By noon the next day I just felt like I was being poisoned.  Hate and anger are just some seriously toxic feelings and I wanted to get the heck outta there.  We planned on doing service with their district but all I can say is there was very little service going on.  I was so upset by what the missionaries were doing.  Just hanging out having a good time.  It killed me.  We ended up at a members home and they wanted all of us to take this stress test thing.. haha when I took mine it was through the roof!!!  I was so completely stressed out, I wanted to help, to be a good example to these missionaries, but man.. do I say something? Do I tell them how disappointed I am in all of them?  Or do I just go on like it's no big deal.  This drug out ALL day long and by the end of it I just wanted to go back to bed and start over. 
We had zone conference the next day and the topic was Pleasing Man or God?  Haha . . . how ironic.  I knew what I needed to do.  So the next day during our planning session I just turned to Sister Bonner and said "Hey I need to say something to the missionaries" . . . but I realized I really just needed to talk to one.  An elder who I've been pretty close to my whole mission, he kinda is the leader of the pack.  We drove 50 miles out of our area (and yes we paid the price for it later) I sat him down and had no idea how to go about the situation.  He looked at me and said "Bowden spit it out already!"   And I just blurted Elder Contrys . . . You need to be better!"  Haha and then I kinda cried and then I told him how much I cared about him and that it killed me to see him this miserable.  Ya wanna know the secret to happiness?  Do what you know is right.  Just simply do it and I promise you, you will be happier.  He actually responded better than I planned, we had a little heart to heart and he is working again:]

We got to teach one of our investigators Chera with President Pingree!! It was one of the neatest experiences that I've had!  It wasn't anything incredibly special, just a simple lesson about obedience.  Chera had her baptismal interview that night and should be having her big day on the 7th:]  I'm really so excited for her.  As we were leaving President said "Sisters, you teach so well.  You talk to your investigators as if they were your best friend."    Wait, isn't that what it's supposed to be like? 

OH BUT THE BEST THING OF THIS WEEK!! BARBARA MOORE TOOK OUT HER ENDOWMENT AND IS NOW SEALED:]]]  It was such an amazing experience to watch her go through all of it.  The whole time I just felt like I could die from happiness!  The temple truly is the best place we can spend our time.  As they were being sealed I just felt how incredible of an experience it is.  Ahhhh!!  I couldn't stop smiling and just this big feeling of YOU DID IT:] Haha I'm a missionary and that family is now sealed.  That's what we're aiming for right? Building eternal families.  It's so good:]

But basically things have been incredible. I'm looking forward to the continual changes that come into my life.  I'm so grateful that we can change, that we can become better, and that throughout the whole thing Heavenly Father just loves us.  I'm learning every day and striving to become the person He knows I can be:]


-Sister Bowden

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Week 57 - Must Needs Be An Opposition!

Well hello there my family!

This past week unfortunately proved to be a pretty hard week for Sister Bowden.  It's funny cuz at times I'll think I've been out for over a year . . . I should have things down by now, but oh no, there is ALWAYS something more for us to learn.

It started out with me being pretty dang trunky, and I'm not even sorry! I miss my family and I really can't even say how talking to you guys was so awesome! So there, I was missing you guys, missing being home, missing my sweet lobo.  And it seemed like the next couple of days ALL of our appointments fell through.  We did have some great experiences along the way but my general mood was one of bleh!

We went on a couple exchanges and I have come to find a theme from the sisters that get to be with me, as opposed to when they are with Sister Bonner.   Haha when they go with Bonner they are at their best behavior, doing all they can.. and then when they are with me.. it's like toss everything to the wind!  AHHHH, they start telling me all the problems they have and ya know that's great, I'm glad that they feel comfortable enough to share their struggles with me but heck I'm just a human being!  A little cherry on top is that Sister Possin... YES THAT SISTER POSSIN.. is now serving in our zone.  And ya know, I really thought it's ok, we can be friends, we're not serving together, but it goes back to acting is a lot harder than just speaking.  I feel like I still hold a lot of bitter feelings towards her that I never really had the opportunity to fix, instead I had just shoved them off to the side and got transferred.  Her companion came up to me at stake conference looking like she was about to burst into tears.  She told me that she feels like she's not a good missionary anymore because of the way that Sister Possin acts towards her.  And seeing that I trained Sister Possin, I feel a sense of responsibility for her.  It kills me that Possin is still the same, sucking the life out of one missionary right after the other.  As I was starting to feel a lot of this "weight" on my shoulders I got a little text from Sister Newhouse and it turns out that one of my VERY favorite families back in Katy is falling away.  I loved this family so so much.  The husband and wife both served full time missions, they were super funny when together and all the time my thought would be, "I want to be just like them when I'm married."  They got it figured out!  They are awesome! And I think that's why it shook me so hard.  I had aspired to be these people and now... now what? I was laying in bed thinking about it, having nightmares about it when I decided to hop down and pray.  As I prayed I realized something . . .  my faith has very little to do with their decisions.  I know that Heavenly Father loves me, I know Christ is my savior, and I know that the gospel has been restored.  I can't rely on others decisions to be the foundation of my faith.  While it was a little shaky, I'm so glad for the resolve that I now have.  It's a terrible feeling though to think that there is so many people that need your help and yet there is so very little that you can really do.  I have just felt so helpless this past week and I hate it.  I'm doing all that I can and yet I'm still not doing enough! AHHHH it's a vicious cycle.  At times I feel like maybe my mission is making me become bi-polar.  As I talked about it with my sweet companion she let me read a letter her mom had written her and it brought a lot of peace to me.  Isn't it interesting how in the Book of Mormon the sons of Mosiah felt so much anguish and sorrow for their brethren and yet at other times their joy was so exquisite that it could make them faint?  I feel like maybe I am going through those same type of situations!  I'm so grateful though for the promise given in Alma 31:38 . . . "they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ."  That is the power of the atonement.  All of our afflictions whatever they may be can and will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.  I think that is why when missionaries come home all they seem to talk about are the incredible faith filling moments of their mission.  It's because all of their afflictions are swallowed up in Christ.  The atonement is such an incredible thing, and it is there for all of us who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully.  Isn't that what ALL of us are trying to do?

I love my savior, and this work.  While it may be challenging, heart wrenching, and at times seem like it's too much for me to bear, I am so grateful for it.  I'm grateful for a companion that seems to be able to pull me out of my little fogs and keep me going.  I'm looking forward to this coming week and all the many ups and downs that will be placed in my path, for I know that it will be for my good:]

I love y'all!! Have a fantastic week!!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 56 - Words Don't Do It Justice

Well hello again:]

Even though we did talk just yesterday I guess I'll still throw down some cool stories from the past week as I've heard I've been slacking in that department! Sorry sorry sorry, but like I said, it really is too bad because my mission has never been better!

Over the past week we were able to teach in quite a variety of places . . . from a cat infested house, to a gas station, to a bar, to a trailer, the possibilities are endless here in Montgomery:]

While we were teaching at the gas station a man came up to buy cigarettes, we introduced ourselves and invited him to learn more.  He said no, that he already had beliefs, but that we could meet up with his wife!  He told us to just swing by her work and talk to her there . . . which ended up being a bar.  Hahaha.  It was my first time actually sitting at a bar and I got to do it while being a missionary!  SWEET!!  Well, anyways, Jenna had been meeting with missionaries for a year but when they moved out to this area she lost contact with them!  She basically knows everything, just has never had the courage to ask the big question!  IS IT TRUE?   So we're picking things back up and I'll keep ya posted on how things go:]

We also found ourselves stranded on a far corner of our area one day.  We tried calling members, less actives, even investigators but NO ONE could come to save us.  We ended up hitchhiking to make our way to dinner:]  Haha. . . It's a miracle we haven't been kidnapped out here.

We had a really incredible lesson with MARCUS!  He called us from a pay phone and wanted to meet up.  He opened up to us about his past and how his mom had beat him as a child.  As I sat listening, I just started crying.  A lot of the people we talked to this week came from similar backgrounds of mental, physical, and emotional abuse.  I truly have come to be so so grateful for the home I was raised in.  I think I have taken everything for granted.  I've never been scared to come home.  I've had THEE most loving parents, I've had the gospel at all times, and I can't express enough how grateful I am for the things that I have been blessed with.  Words wouldn't even do it justice so let me just say this . . . I am grateful for the gospel and the blessings that it naturally brings into our lives.  I'm so grateful for my parents who have done more for me than I can ever repay.  And I am SO grateful for our Savior, who provides healing and comfort through the atonement:]

Gosh, I wish I wasn't soo lazy now a days.  My desire to sit and type about all the incredible things that happen during the week has just basically died.  Every night this past week I have gone to bed with the spirit burning in my heart.  Every night I have gone to bed knowing that I literally have done all that I can to fulfill my purpose as a missionary. I love our Heavenly Father and am so grateful for the blessings that He has been pouring into my life.  He truly has placed people in our path and I am SO excited for whatever lies ahead!    THE GOSPEL MUST BE SHARED:]

Haha, I love you all and heck really miss you a lot.  Smile big, stay strong, and know I'm thinking about you!

Love, Sister Bowden