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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 55 - Lets Do Work!

Hello hello!!
Well I hope this email finds everybody happy and well!! This past week has been just ya know, another week on the mission.

One of the highlights was that Sister Combs and I were REUNITED!!  Haha both of our companions are the sister training leaders, so when they had their meetings we got to be together!  Ah, it was so so so good to be with a best friend!  Man, I have missed her and it was a day that I needed!

So 2 weeks ago we lost contact of Marcus.  He literally just disappeared!  His phone isn't paid for and he wouldn't answer the door so we literally were left in limbo.  It. was. the. worst.  But one night as we were leaving our apartment the thought popped into my head go see Marcus! We pull up to his housing complex and low and behold the gate was closed.. and of course we didn't have the code.. hahaha sooo we climbed the fence:] THE GOSPEL MUST BE SHARED!  But don't worry, we definitely said a prayer before that no one would see us and that we wouldn't get in trouble for breaking the law, prayer works:] Marcus was home and as it turns out, his family has been giving him a lot of trouble for meeting with us.  He basically shut everyone out for a week.. so I guess we'll see if we can get things smoothed out in the next coming weeks.

One night this past week we had dinner with a member who is a counselor and man I felt so awkward!!  Haha, I felt like every time I made a comment she was interpreting it into something completely different!  Ah, stop analyzing me!  I'm just a human being!!  Haha after awhile, I just stopped talking cuz I was sick of having to explain myself in every way possible.  Crazy people!

In the Montgomery ward we have about 455 names on our ward roster and about 115 show up on Sundays . . . so yes you could say we have A LOT of work to do.  The bishop is stinkin awesome!  He used to be in the Navy so he has this kind of "don't mess with me demeanor" but then you start talking to him and he is hilarious:]  It kinda reminds me of dad, and I really love serving with him.  It's been incredible to see the miracles that happened this past week though.  Sister Bonner and I were able to reach out to quite a few of the part member families and start up the lessons with each of them.  We are really hopeful and excited for this next coming transfer:]  While I am talking about this, yes, we are still together in Montgomery which came as quite a shock to both of us honestly.  But we both understand why that is.  Sister Bonner and I are well.. completely opposite in SO many ways, hahaha so, so many ways.  I think that we are being kept together so that we can learn and grow from one another.  While at times that can be kinda difficult, I mean come on, no one ever really likes being told they should do things differently, but I am grateful for this opportunity.  I'm grateful for Sister Bonner's patience with me and all my dang shortcomings.  I'm really looking forward to this next transfer and all the wonderful things that can take place! AND CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE NEXT SUNDAY IS MOTHER'S DAY?!?!  One question: where has the time gone?  Who even am I?  I really can't believe that it's already here again:] 

Well I LOVE YOU ALL THE DAYS! I hope that incredible things happen this week:]  You'll be seeing this sweet face soon!

Love, Sister Bowden