Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 41 - In Need of DIVINE Help!

Wengapo family:]

Well I feel that the longer I'm out here the more lazy I feel towards emailing everybody about my week so I just wanna share a couple quick experiences!
When I was set apart as a missionary in my blessing I was told that as I served with all my heart that I would be forgiven of all my previous sins. Now I've kinda been holding onto that line because if anybody could use some extra forgiveness it definitely is this girl right here. Well as I was doing personal study, I came across 3 Nephi 22:4 and I completely felt this overwhelming feeling of relief. That I didn't have to sit here and beat myself up for some of the wrong decisions that I made before choosing to serve a mission. I don't need to be ashamed for the things that I have done while in my youth. And I got to thinking of all the changes that really have occurred while I have been out here.   Haha let's just look at me last year... and then look at the way I am now and while that process hasn't been easy, it's definitely been worth it.  After studying we got to attend a talk by Sherry Dew who is seriously one the coolest ladies I have heard speak.  She made a statement that really stood out to me "Are you going to continue walking by yourself with your own puny talent.. or will you be willing to humble yourself and let our Father and ALL the power that He has help you?" Man how true is that?  We can either continue walking this life on our own thinking that we can handle it.. OR we can choose Him.  He has literally given us so many things to help us out, are we really taking advantage of them?  Sister Dew made the comment that when she was in the General Relief Society they had this I.D. card that she never really thought to use.  On the day before she was released she put it up to a card reader and the door next to it unlocked.  Unfortunately by the time she realized she had this sweet card that could unlock almost any of the doors in the church buildings it was too late.. she was released and the card was deactivated.  So basically are we taken for granted the things that we have right in our pocket?  Heavenly Father is there.. are we asking Him for his help?
We also did have a baptism! hah it will probably be my one and only in Katy... Julia and Angelina LaRocco:] Their parents were just recently baptized in June and their dad Louis got to baptize them.  We planned the whole thing and it actually went really smoothly. Holla!  There was a really cool moment though right before Louis was going to baptize angelina where he looked over at me and he had tears in his eyes. He knew that what he was doing was so special and it was a privilege to me that I got to be a part of it.  I love life changing moments.  I really really do.

The next day in ward council we decided that we were going to be bold... mmm not that I haven't been bold this whole stinkin time but hey we were gonna try again.  As they turned the time over to us I asked them who in the room can say that they sincerely pray for the missionaries and for opportunities to share the gospel everyday.. I got a whole lot of silence.  I asked a couple other questions and what did i get?  More silence.  I then asked, pleaded and begged for their help and then the subject was changed. WILL I EVER GET THROUGH TO THESE PEOPLE?!  Am i speaking Hebrew?  During sacrament meeting I just felt the weight of the world on my heart.  I broke down at the end of it and got surrounded by some really sweet ladies in the ward.  I hate crying in front of people especially when I'm supposed to be that happy cheerful excited missionary.. but I broke haha and it seemed like once the floods started they couldn't stop.  Sweet mercy.  It's just gotten to the point where I really have NO idea why I am serving here in Katy?  Seriously can someone please tell me the point to all of this?  We didn't even go to our Sunday school class we just went and sat in the back of primary cuz heck.  There's no better feeling than a flock of children running up to you and saying how much they love you and due to the fact that we were having such a craptastic day we went over to the Soods, aka my favorite family here in Katy and low and behold being at their house really made my day a lot better.  They have become like our little go-to family and I don't think I ever realized how much of blessing that is to have as a missionary. Just a family that at any time you could call up and say hey can we just come over real quick?  They mean so much to me. 
Well low and behold that's pretty much it! Just hangin in there and trying to just do what's right!  I love you ALL and I hope this week is so great for everyone!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 40 - A Little Piece of My Mind

So i could sit here and tell you guys all our wonder stories of this past week! we got new investigators! We had some straight up miracles! we also have a baptism this coming saturday so man:] my life has dramatically changed over the past 2 weeks but... i'm feelin pretty lazy so here's the top 30 things that I feel like sharing that I have learned:

1: There is a huge difference between satisfying the Lord and pleasing Him.
2: You can't change the past and you can't control the future but right now you can choose who you are, what you'll do, and how you feel.
3: That's what she said jokes are well... a million times funnier as a missionary.
4: One person can really really make a difference.
5: Most single less active ladies are hoarders..
6: Everybody is watching you so you might as well give them a good show:]
7: As a leader it's good to sometimes show your weak moments.
8: The rules weren't made to hold you back, they were made to help you become better.
9: Our God is a 4th watch kind of God, trust in Him.
10: Riding a bike in a skirt and knocking on strangers doors will never be something that I am comfortable with.
11: Talking with God is the best form of therapy:]
12: The more you are willing to give, the more He will be willing to give.
13: Mission goggles make even the trees look good...
14: Be humble enough to ask for help... even from people that you wouldn't want to ask.
15: I have been more blessed throughout my life than i ever realized.
16: Curb hopping on a bike can end up being quite painful and embarrassing!
17: Be honest, be honest, be honest.
18: At times I think i'm being stood up now for all the times I stood people up before the mish..
19: Heavenly father is constant and i feel like I am constantly changing.
20: I never realized how many people truly struggle with being confident in their own skin. 
21:The Book of Mormon is true and it can help you in ANY situation. sometimes I feel like the grandpa off of my big fat greek wedding "give me yo problem any problem and I will tell you how this book can fix it:] hahaha.
22: Heavenly Father knows me and while I know this life is a test, I also know that he sees our full capability.
23: Being happy truly is a choice!
24: The atonement: use it, love it, embrace it, and come to understand it on a daily basis.
25: It's a NECESSITY for me to be around people that are willing to laugh with me not just laugh at me. If not, I wanna kill someone.
26: I think for once I've finally been able to stand on my own 2 feet (of course with the Lord) but really I've had to just stick to my own guns.
27: The more you bike, the less you have to worry about what you eat!
28: You should always do things out of love, it truly is the greatest motivation.
29: Cotton garments are the way to go in the south!!
and 30: I know that God loves us and He is so aware of us, He knows what's best. Definitely not what's easiest but yes, what's best. I know that He asked me to serve a mission because it was literally the only way i would ever have a sure foundation of the Gospel and our Savior. How grateful I am for Him! Everyday I try to show Him my love and appreciation and everyday i am blessed for it, I can't keep up!
It was a process to get me out on a mission, it's been a process to get me to stay, and now I worry it might be a process to get me to come home:] haha i know that when that comes I'll be putting to test all the things that I have learned and shared out here:] 
love ya long time!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, January 13, 2014

week 39 - All This Time I've Been Converting Myself

Ohlo family!!

This past week was let's just say SO much better than last week and I once again am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and is constantly trying to get me to be better!
So last Monday night I got to eat dinner with the Maiava's from Fairfield and it was probably the best dinner I have had in such a long time. Sa was so excited to see me and when we got there I found out that she had put the whole thing together just so that she could see me. I felt so so grateful for their family, it was a good reminder for me that I really have had an impact on certain people while i've been out here. 
Tuesday! haha ok so we got permission to go with some of the alzheimer's patients we work with and take them to the butterfly museum downtown. It was such a good time. When you first walk in there are all these signs that say don't touch the butterflies la la la, well when we got in one of my favorite ladies betty started going buckwild and was trying to chase all them down. hahaha I wasn't really sure what to do because sometimes alzheimer's patients act like 5 year old kids, but we managed to get things under control and it ended up being a really good time for us.

At our ward correlation meeting this past week I finally brought down the iron fist. I explained to them how it was time to start changing things and how the past 3 months I have felt like I haven't done anything in this area. I was honest and sincere and told them how much I really needed their help or nothing was ever going to happen. I think that I have been pretty passive the past three months just telling everyone oh you're so great.. Oh you guys just keep it up, we sure do appreciate you! Ya know just trying to be that cheerful missionary that never seems to be down, but I just reached my limit. I need to have the support of this ward and I should have had it since day one. Well that got things cooking which made me pretty happy. The ward missionaries seem to be on board with us, as we were walking out one of my favorite guys Brother Meldrum came up to me and said I like your style Sister Bowden. I laughed and said I'm not sure what you mean... and He just went on to say You just really know how to get people inspired. I like the way you do things. While the past couple months have been pretty tough for me I have come to realize something. My own personal conversion has grown immensely. I know that faith isn't something that is handed to us. It isn't just waking up in the morning and saying Heavenly Father, give me somebody to teach and expecting it to happen. A part of faith is accepting His timing, It's knowing that He will let things happen at the right time and until then, you just have to keep being obedient and keep doing what you know is right. Patience is holding out til the end:]
We also have a new investigator!! Emily Wilson is 20 years old has been less active for about 4 years and is pregnant with twins! She wants to raise her sons in the church so her and her husband have agreed to listening to the discussions! ah I'm so excited:] When we met with charlene this past week, she told us that she wasn't sure if she should keep meeting with us. She said that if she didn't feel right about the church after a year and half maybe it just isn't the thing for her. Before I could let all my hopes be crushed a pulled out a scripture that I had been wanting to share with her for the past 3 weeks. As i had her read it she started tearing up and I know that she felt the spirit. I know that it was an answer to her prayers, but right as she finished it and the spirit was right there, her husband walked in slammed the door and all the kids went buckwild:/ ahhh I just can't win!?! When we left though I felt at peace because I know that I did everything that i could. Now it's just up to her and whatever circumstances she is placed in.   Karen Foreman's lesson went really well.. it just kinda irritates me that all these miracles have happened in her life and she'll still say "well I'm just not an every Sunday kinda person" mmm well I think you need to be and I know you know it. Ah the weirdest thing happened though. We were talking about prayer during her lesson and she struggles with saying real prayers and taking the time to kneel down. I don't know why I said it but all of the sudden I'm promising this lady that if she said her prayers and asked heavenly father to share the gospel with her family that it would happen. UH I can't promise her that?! heck oh heck as soon as it came out of my mouth I just felt like haha mmm I hope you back that up Heavenly Father. So I guess we'll see if she said her prayers right?:]
We had zone meeting this past week and for a part of it we got with another set of Elders and were practice teaching one of our lessons. The elders went first and it was so interesting to see how differently they taught then me! not in a bad way or anything.. just different. They go la la la we give them feedback and then we went. When we finished it my friend Elder Cornwall looked at me and said well, I think I need to go re-evaluate my life because you guys just put us to shame. hahaha. Teaching the gospel has seriously become something that I really love to do, now if I could just actually find some people to teach all my problems would be solved:]
We had ward council yesterday and I literally wanted to junk punch our bishop.... mm sorry that was probably uncalled for. but seriously all of ward council he's talking about things that really aren't even that important... and then at the end he started talking about this year's goals. He's planning on having five baptisms this year... 5?!?! no I'm sorry but no this ward can do SO much more than that. At the end I tried to get my two cents in, I talked about how before we can even begin to have new people coming to church this needs to be a ward that Heavenly Father can trust. So long story short, we're coming down hard on this ward and I'm so so grateful to have Sister Newhouse here to back me up. She's really good at just sticking to her guns and not letting things go until we really have made our point. 
But that basically sums up my life for now:] I love you guys so much! I hope that everybody is doing well and that the start of the year has just set the tone for 2014. I love being a missionary and it's been awesome to see how the challenges that I have been facing really have helped me grow and learn. 

Love Sister Bowden

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 38 - But You Sure Do Suffer For It!

Wengapo family:]

Well heck, i'm not even sure where to start this bad boy. It seems that a mission tends to be a constant up hill battle and sometimes I really just wanna take a break for a minute haha but I guess I don't really have time for that. 
Transfers!! My new comp is Sister Newhouse which is awesome because for once in my life I am NOT training! it has been a huge blessing to me not to have to explain everything and also to have someone who has her own ideas and thoughts to toss in. The only problem that I now have is that after her I will have basically served with every cool sister in our mission.. haha tau, combs, and newhouse. Sooo that's a good sign:] we're actually getting along just great and she has the funniest sense of humor. 
Michelle Henke called me this past week and asked if I would be her escort in the Salt Lake Temple December 20, 2014:] to say that I am excited would not even do it justice!!
So what else happened this week? oh just a whole lot of disappointment for this sister missionary. Caroline's parents told us that no they won't let us teach her, another part member family told us no they don't want to take the lessons, every person we seemed to talk to on the street or in the parks all said NO. Can we just throw it out there that I'm living in disappointment city right now? It's just been a real struggle in this area and so a lot of my thoughts have been on faith. I woke up so many mornings and I told myself ok Heavenly Father today I will find a new investigator, and then I'd go out do all that I could and still come home with nothing. I'd wake up pray say the same thing and still once again come home and nobody to teach. It's starting to wear on me and that's the honest truth. I can't even say how many times this past week I've thought what is the point of me even being here? This isn't making any sense. But I do know that things will start coming together haha I just gotta figure out how.
We've been teaching a less active lady named Regina Kim and she is a powerhouse. I love her so much. She has a severely autistic son and has gone through so so much with divorce. As we were at her house on Saturday she made the comment This was never in the young women's manual! No one ever told me that things were going to be like this and my reply was and that's exactly why they need someone like you in the YW, so that you can have an influence on them and they will see that life doesn't really go the way we plan it too. That caught her by surprise and she then promised us that she'd come to church:] awesome awesome! Made my whole week.
We get to help teach mission prep every sunday morning and I have really come to love doing that. No matter what you share even if it isn't the greatest all the kids in their think it's gold, they are all so eager to learn so that's been an awesome teaching experience for me. They really are like sponges just wanting to know how to teach, my favorite thing is to throw them a question right while they're teaching and see them kinda panic. haha they don't need to at all. I think the best thing you can do while teaching is teach to them like they are your best friend, that way when you share your testimony you really do mean it and they can feel it.
During sacrament meeting yesterday I was sitting their kind of in my own thoughts just thinking about a million different things and the thought came into my head open the scriptures. haha so I did, just popped them open to D&C 6 and dang. Heavenly Father sure does answer us. I think it's in verse 15? that it talks about how you have been enlightened by the spirit because that's how you got to where you are right now. Man, He does answer us. I know that specifically in my life Heavenly Father has led, and even drug me to do what is right. I just want to do that, I want to be diligent in my efforts but man it's so hard when you don't see the fruit of your labors. 
I know that a part of me serving in Katy is to get this ward moving. I have some pretty good ideas circling about in my brain and i'm gonna start putting them together. I think I've just been waiting for someone to show they care about the work here, but they aren't going to until I show how important it really is. We had a break the fast for our ward yesterday and I was reminded just how much I really do love the members that I am serving. I got to go around from table to table and just make people laugh and talk. I think that's one of the coolest things about serving a mission, I've been able to meet so many different people and see how much the gospel really does help our families. 
My sweet companion showed me a quote that literally explains to me a T. "You are so good. So good, you're always feeling so much. And sometimes it feels like you're gonna bust wide open from all the feeling don't it? People like you are the best in the world, but you sure do suffer for it." That just explains how I feel. I care so much, I want so badly just get things moving here but i feel like i'm fighting for something that no one even really cares about. I love the gospel and I know that when others find the truth it can help them in more ways than they even realized when they decided to enter the waters of baptism. The fight continues and I'm not quitting just yet:]
I love ya all and hope that things are just getting started for this new year.

Love, Sister Bowden