Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 45 - Bear with Patience

Well hello gorgeous!

This past week has been pretty crazy with so many ups and downs! I can't even say it enough, Heavenly Father is SO good to me. He truly is:]
We helped Rori VanHook clean out her kitchen and as we were leaving she said hey I hope you two know that I'm not just expecting you to clean my house and that's it.. WE'RE gonna start teaching her this next week and I'm pretty excited especially to get her inactive husband involved as well.  Things seem to just be rolling right along.  
As we were walking to check our mail that day there was a lady parked outside so I started talking to her about the church, I pulled out the Book of Mormon and was telling her all about it and out of nowhere this young guy comes walking up to me, cuts in front of the woman, is right up close to my face and says, "What do you think you know about God and Jesus Christ?"  I just smiled at him, took a step back and explained to Him that God loves each of us and that through Jesus Christ we can return to Him.  He... simply just walked away.   Haha I have no idea what happened or what will come of that but I just thought it was really interesting.  Right when you're about to do something good that is going to benefit others there always seems to be a curve ball thrown your way.
We had an AWESOME first lesson with our friend Jose from Walgreens. He just seemed to soak it all up so we're hopeful for him and seeing him progress. We also met with Karen again.. she is struggling to come to church and it has been pretty frustrating.  When we went over there we kept bringing up the importance of attending church.  I told her that it was like she's doing all the work and practice (reading and praying) and then she never shows up for the big game.  She started opening up to us and told us that every Sunday she has this inner battle with going to church or spending time with her husband.  She said it's hard to tell someone you love and that has always been number one in your life that suddenly God needs to be number one.  She started crying and called us "Bullies with Badges."  Hahaha I quite enjoy that.  I shared my testimony that when we are having to choose between something or someone that we REALLY do love and what the Lord is asking us to do, that He does provide comfort and blessings that outweigh the sacrifices we make.
I've started the Book of Mormon over... again... and this time I really noticed how Nephi no matter what the circumstances never complained.   Lehi did, Sariah did, and we all know about his brothers and yet Nephi never complained.  He was diligent and kept doing what the Lord asked.  I'm trying to apply that to myself.  The first time I actually felt the scriptures were answering me was in High School.  I wasn't accepted to the U's ballet program and I felt SO down on myself I came across Alma 26:27, bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success.  That verse brought me comfort then, it still brings me comfort now.  Am I really bearing with patience?  The promises given in the Book of Mormon are promises that still apply to us today:]
The bishop's wife had some exciting news for us too.  She told us that she had been fasting for missionary work and prayed asking Heavenly Father who she should talk to about sharing the gospel.  Well, He answered, she has a FAMILY for us to teach and they are really excited about the gospel.  Haha ya wanna know the funny part.. they are going on vacation.. and they won't be back till March 22.. aka the last day of the transfer.  How in the world did I get so lucky??  But, it's all good:] I am just so grateful for the experiences that she is going to have because of her desire to take on our challenge.
We had Stake Conference this past week and it was all focused on Hastening the Work.  It's been really exciting to see our members really take it on and talk to their neighbors and friends.  A lot of them have come up and said hey will you pray for la la la I'm gonna talk to them this week about the gospel.  AH! they are starting to get it:] It's only taken 5 months.  But hey, here's to whatever lies ahead.  I truly am so so grateful to be serving right now.  I've never been more reliant on the Lord.  I love Him and everyday I'm trying to be better.  I love you all and miss you ALL the days:] 

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 44 - It's the Sound of a New Start

Well hey there my sweet family:]
So.. so much has happened this past week and I wish that I was patient enough to take the time and write you guys about all the neat things that I have learned but I'll just throw down a couple and let ya get back to your crazy lives!
Over the past couple weeks I have been really praying to know how Heavenly Father speaks to me. I feel like all the time people will say you need to pray about it and la la la well I pray all the time and I would still feel like I was on my own.. so I decided to ask the Big Man upstairs to teach me how he speaks to me.. and aw man. Some of the experiences that I have had were SO sweet:] I know that Heavenly Father speaks to me through other people. Which I guess if you look back on my life.. that's pretty dang obvious but hey sometimes it takes us awhile to open our eyes and really see that he was there all the time.  It reminds me of the scripture in Alma 10:5-6, I think he really does call us many times but it's up to us whether or not we really hear.  One night as we were with some members all of the sudden they started talking about marriage and how their daughter has gone through some really hard things because of who she choose to marry, and as they were speaking it was like the spirit was smacking me in the face.  I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father's love for each of us and that he truly does answer all our prayers:]

We also got to help out with a youth activity which was super great! They held this little carnival of life thing, where the games were either worldly or spiritual. Well haha we picked to be in charge of the nerf gun one.. duh:] As kids were coming up to play, the other set of missionaries would try to get them to go play the spiritual games.. as if. I found it so interesting to see how easy it was to be "satan" and just distract everybody from the things they really should have been spending their time on. Gosh, it is so easy for us to get distracted and I couldn't help but feel bad for the other missionaries who everytime they would say something one of the teenage boys would kinda roll his eyes at them and then I'd hurry and say you should just keep playing this game it's so fun:] haha simply put, in the big picture are we focusing on things that really are going to give us that lasting happiness or are we merely just being entertained for a moment? 

We also got to go walk the temple grounds with Karen Foreman which was an incredible experience. As we were talking to her about the importance of entering the temple and how that's what all of us are working towards she started getting emotional. She does see the importance of it and she made the comment, "I don't regret the decisions I have made so far but I can't help but wonder what things I've missed in not being able to go in there." Long story short she is working towards getting her recommend and we should be going and doing baptisms with her soon! I'm pretty excited about it!
Valentine's day... we all know how much I love this stinkin holiday... Welp we were stood up by one of our potential investigators.. so my life hasn't changed much since last year! haha but seriously. I don't think I have ever worked harder and been so unsuccessful. At times it gets pretty discouraging, they'll be days where me and noobhouse will  get on our knees and just cry. I'm not even sure what to do anymore because I feel like I've tried everything.   I'm doing all that i can and yet I still haven't had one solid investigator in the past 5 months.  It can be pretty upsetting.  But that's ok, I'll keep trusting in the Lord and I'll keep doing what I know is right.  Can I just say how much I hate when people say "don't get discouraged.. you're planting seeds everywhere you go"   ew. save that for the relief society.  I didn't come out here to just plant a couple seeds and call it good! HELLO, I am Sister Bowden.  I work my butt off and miracles happen... haha they just haven't happened yet.  
Well, I love you guys so so much! I hope that you're week is so great and that you do the incredible:] 

Love, Sister Bowden
Ps.. I realize that in these pictures I looked like the most tired girl in texas.. and well.. that's probably because Katy is sucking the life out of me and I am tired. all. the. time.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 43 - This Is What you GET to go Through

Well HELLO there my great family:]

Ah well wait the week is already gone? how did that even happen? Well this past week was literally so good! We went over to Rori VanHooks to help her clean and we ended up having the neatest experience! As we were taking a break to eat lunch newhouse asked her a simple question and I don't even know what happened but all of the sudden we were teaching her about the restoration, about living prophets, about the plan of salvation, but most importantly we just kept telling her over and over again that Heavenly Father loved her. That he loved her so much and he was aware of her.  She started tearing up at one point and I was so grateful for that moment.  It was all just so casual and meaningful. She was engaged and we were teaching her the simple truths of the gospel.  It helped me realize that some people just need to be told that someone loves them.  That God is aware of them, and I think at times I disregard that knowledge on a daily basis.  We have a lot of hope for Rori and i'm excited to go back this week:]

One of my really good friends out here has actually decided to go home this week.  Sister Cardona has been struggling with depression and anxiety and has decided it would be best for her to get home and figure everything out.  So I came out with her and we were best friends in the MTC and it kills me to see her going home so soon.  As she was talking to me about it earlier this week, she just started crying and saying that all she really wants to be is happy.  I would do anything for this girl, I even asked her if we could talk to President about us being companions so that I could get her up and going again.  But, unfortunately, president said no.  He did say though, something that kinda hit me, "Sister Cardona we each have our own challenges and this is what you GET to go through".  That really hit me, because it's true.  Trials suck! but I know that before, after and during every trial Heavenly Father is right there helping us become better.  WE GET to go through this life.. isn't that a huge blessing in itself?  Missions are really hard and I can't even imagine trying to serve one while suffering from depression.  She told me that every day everyone has a 5 lb weight strapped to them as they're going around but for her it feels like a 50 lb weight just to get up and go every day.  She truly has been such a good missionary and I'm hoping that things work out when she gets home.  Coming home early has probably have to be one of the hardest most intimidating things a person can go through.  I just hope that when she gets there that her family and friends will receive her well and just show their love for her.  That is seriously the thing that she needs most. 

Regina Kim came to church yesterday and I was SO excited that she came:] and ya wanna know the best part of the whole thing?  She brought her son Logan with her and he was so good!  He has severe autism and he was a champ!  He made it through all of sacrament without freaking out once.   AH, so so sweet.  So she told us that she'd be back next week and it really was an answer to my prayer.  I love getting the opportunity to see people change their lives, or just the affirmation that this lady came to church today because you invited her to.  You were the one that told her she was needed.  You helped her come closer to Christ.  Seriously nothing is more gratifying than these small and simple moments:]

Well another transfer has come and gone.. and I can't even believe it. Time just seems to be flying past me and I really wish I could just stop it all!  Me and my little noobhouse are still together, and I feel so hopeful for this coming transfer! Great things are just right ahead:] I can feel it in my bones!  Hahaha ok not really, but I'm excited.  Life is SO good, and I hope this next week something meaningful happens for each of you! I love you all!!

Love, Sister Bowden

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 42 - Be Where Your Feet Are

Well hey there my fantastic family!!

Ah shucks, well here we are again, and I have to admit this past week has been a pretty interesting one! Me and Casa nueva (newhouse) have just really been hitting it off! Lately we've been spending a lot of time with the VanHook family. The husband is inactive, and the wife was raised Jewish.. aka she doesn't know anything about what she believes. Well they are boarder line hoarders and we offered to help them get control of their house again. It has been incredible! Each time we have gone over there we have been able to build our relationship with Rory and she has been asking us a lot of questions about Christ. It's been interesting to ask her certain questions about judaism and she'll answer.. pause.. and then say but that doesn't really make any sense. haha how can people go through life claiming to be a part of something that doesn't even make sense to them? Tradition! (like off of fiddler on the roof) But anyways they are super great and I have become a super organizer! 

We got to go to the temple this Friday and ah man! it was so sweet! I had my little family name to do and it made it SO incredible:] I had to do her initiatory before the endowment and man, I forget just how neat that is! Ah, we have been given so so much! but this past week I had been praying about a lot of things and it was incredible to receive certain impressions while being in the house of the Lord. I feel so blessed to be serving so close to a temple:]

and are you ready for this..... 

WE GOT A NEW WARD MISSION LEADER!!!!! oohh yeah:] as we were sitting in sacrament meeting they were going through releases and i heard them mention Brother Allen so I perked up because he is one of my favorite guys in the ward... then they released the current ward mission leader.. .and Wa-La! my prayers were answered!! We have this new fantastic awesome ward mission leader who is pumped about getting things going! ah he's number one and I felt so much more motivation to get out to do work, because now somebody actually cares! we're moving mountains my friends:]

I woke up sunday morning for some reason thinking you should get a blessing.. so I followed that prompting and asked Brother Meldrum if he'd be willing to do it. After church we went into a classroom and he asked me Do you want to tell me what's going on or should we just go off of inspiration? I said we're going off inspiration here and he just smiled. Priesthood blessings are so real. He said I would remind you to be wise and aware of all the distractions that are currently around you, even those that are dear to your heart. The most interesting part about that is that that was exactly what I was looking for. I want to be where my feet are. I want to be here in every way that I can. I don't have much longer and there are certain things that have definitely been pulling my thoughts else where. No more distractions, it's time once again for me to reach a new level of conversion and let some things go. I truly am grateful for brother meldrum, and all others who hold the priesthood worthily:]

OH last night for dinner we got to eat with the Willis family and ah! they have thee cutest girls in the world!! seriously. Well i was standing there when all of the sudden their little girl Serena comes from behind and jumps on me... I wasn't really expecting it so I think we can all guess what's about to happen... I started falling backwards and yep:/ I crushed little Serena's head with my bony butt! it. was. the. worst. all of my weight just boom right on the teeny girl. She cried for soo long! and it took awhile for her to warm up and be my friend again! ah haha it was terrible. Then their other daughter Jane, sprained her ankle when she was running up to us.. and then later split her dang chin open! let's just say next time I go over there I'm wrapping their children in bubble wrap!!

But anyways this week was one full of learning for this girl:] Next week is transfers all over again! can you even believe that?! but I'm 93% sure I'll do one more here with casa nueva:] I love her! Seriously it has been the best getting to serve with this girl:] I love the gospel, I love the opportunity I have to share it, I know that Heavenly Father certainly is aware of us. He sometimes just asks us to be more aware of Him! Have a great week, sorry the superbowl sucked so much:]

Love, Sister Bowden