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