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