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