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Dec 25, 2013

Dec 24, 2013 Christmas Eve

This week has been great!
Feliz Navidad from me and my companions!

We had the Primary Program this past Sunday and WOW, I was so filled with the Spirit, and such an exquisite love for the people of Peguche. I love the people, SO much. Even though I may not understand the language very well (Kichwa is hard, it makes NO sense), I LOVE THEMMMMMMM!! And I can understand it better and better every day. In fact, my companion and I learned how to pray in this week (in the challenging Quichua dialect that is not very similar to Spanish).

Nuichanchi howa patcha yaya Dius. Dear Heavenly Father,
Pagi ninchi cayi punja manda. Thank thee for this day...
Jesucristopaj shutipi. In the name of Jesus Christ
Shina capax catchu. AMEN!

We had a miracle of a contact/new investigator this week OH MAN. It was so incredible. We helped a lady (Maryuri) carry her bags to her home on Thursday and introduced ourselves as missionaries. Long story short, she had been praying to find the right church to attend since she barely moved here from Colombia two months ago. She is super open to absolutely everything and she acepto fecha, as well as attended church on Sunday with her two kids (Cori, 6, and MiguelAngelo 9)!!!!! (this is so happy because usually our investigadores are flojos and don't show up for church!) I feel so much joy to invite people to come unto Christ and then them ACCEPT!!! It was crazy because I was preparing to give a capacitacion for our Reunion de Distrito that morning and it was all about finding new investigators. It totally prepared me for that afternoon. The scriptures are sOOOOoooo cool! D&C 123:12 basically states that there are people waiting and willing, but they have been kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it! The Lord truly has people who are prepared and waiting to hear the message of the true and restored gospel. After our first lesson, she shared with us that she had been waiting for that day for a very long time and that it was special to her. We are going to meet her husband this week since he was out of town and they are gonna come to the Christmas program on Jueves.

President asked me and my companion to write the MISSION THEME SONG! It's gonna be so sick, we are way excited. His son mixes music so it's gonna turn out legit. Yay
I ATE COW INTESTINE TWICE THIS WEEK aka TRIPAS. I was brave and tried them. They're actually way wayy good. Theyre called chicle de indigenas becase you sit there chewing for a good 12 minutes. And I had some cow liver too.
IDK if I told y'all or not but we are challenging all the future missionaries and a couple converso recientes to read the Book of Mormon along with our companionship in 90 days. We made the cutest little chart and are scheduled to finish March 19, 2014. I invite all y'all to join in! (CRAZY TO THINK I WILL BE 20 YEARS OLD THIS MARCH, LIKE WHAT). 

The Book of Mormon is sooo absolutely amazing. I find something new every day. Aaaaalso, our Presidente challenged us to memorize El Cristo Viviente (The Living Christ) in 90 days too. We reduced the size and colored it and laminated it all cute and whatnot and are constantly practicing. What a cool document. I invite all yall to read it with y'alls fams before the new year! Or possibly while you're setting goals for next year! (I have fallen in love with goals. chapter 8 in Preach My Gospel.) 

Something I loved from personal study this week was D&C 103, so so powerful. I loved it. Some highlights that I got out of it:
- For whoso layeth down his life for My sake shall find it again.
- Doubt not, fear not. (FAVORITE SCRIPTURE EVER)
- Work like it all depends on you, pray like it all depends on God.
- Choose to be happy. If you arent happy, change your mind. Also, forget about yourself, and go to work. (Gordon B. Hinckley)
- ALL victory and glory is brought to pass unto you THROUGH your DILIGENCE (personal study, companion study, enduring through the hard moments, "its a marathon, not a sprint" -Amy Neely)
- FAITHFULNESS (doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith -Uchtdorf
- Praying in faith, rock hard testimony CENTRADO en Cristo -Hel 5:12, living and practicing what you're preaching)
- PRAYERS OF FAITH (Preach My Gospel p. 93-4)

This passage really inspired me to work hard, and use the Lords time wisely! Personal study time is GOLLLDDDD, I love it so much. The scriptures literally speak to us, yall. ALSO, all of Matthew is awesome. I love reading about Christ and His ministry here on Earth.
Lemme just say that obedience with exactness brings miracles. "Oh be wise, need I say more?!" (Shoutout to the Richeys in Allen 1st ward for engraving that scripture in my mind forever and ever, Love yall) 

AH and the Liahona came!!! GENERAL CONFERENCE EDITION! I love love love general conference edition! ITS LIKE CANDYYYYYYYYYY!!! even though its in Espanol.

The biggest of biggest shoutout to Aunt Lastenia (& fambam) for hookin a sista up with PANCAKE MIX, SYRUP, CHEEEESE, and CHOCOLATE in a care package this week. I love yall so much. You can ask my entire zona, they saw me shed tears of happiness when I saw that it was food. hahahha. Seriously, thank you so much, y'all made my Christmas.



Lots of people are out of town or not at home this past week but we went caroling the past couple nights. What a great way to spread Christmas cheer!! We did a lot of contacting and visited menos activos as well as super old investigators. Music is a marvelous way to feel the Spirit and share our message.

This Sunday a couple who got married in the temple spoke (HASHTAG TRUNKY, lol jk jkjkjk) and oh man, the Spirit was so strong to hear them testify of how incredible a temple marriage is. It was perfect because a couple who recently got civilly married and who are working towards being sealed in the temple was present and they really paid attention, yay! ALSO, familia Campo got SEALED AS A FAMILY IN THE TEMPLE THIS WEEK!!! They have three kids and after 13 years they were able to be sealed for time and all eternity as a family.  What a special time for them. I love the temple. I love the covenants that we can make here on earth. Which reminds me of a talk by someone I can't remember but it's in the Liahona about all of the covenants we can make here- baptism, sealing, etc. etc.
Me and my best friend agua. (I have been sick for a week so I have been chugging every day.)

Thank you all for supporting me out here. I feel y'alls prayers and I am so dang happy that I have the opportunity to be here. Y'all can be missionaries TOO!! You don't need a name tag to share the gospel! I challenge each of y'all to talk about the gospel with one person this week :) Also, shout out to my wittle brudder Michael for baptizing his GF Britney, you rock.
I GET TO SKYPE YALL TOMORRRRROW EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! See you at 3pm Ecuador time. 

Con amor,

Hermana Bowman
PS Santa probly wont visit us tonight :( not because we werent good, but because a guy can't be in a house alone with us sista missionaries (Manual Misional pág. 35). SOO ya, feel free to send me packages ;) heheh

Dec 2, 2013 Where Do I Begin?

Okay WHERE DO I BEGINNNN





This week has been incredible. It flew by! I love it here! HAHA funny things that happened:
-We didn't have water for three days... So that was fun
-The baptismal font FLOODED THE CHURCH, well, the hallway and three classrooms. After Johnathan was baptized on Sunday morning, (YAY, so incedibly happy for him) we emptied the font. I saw it with my own eyes. But the little mocoso travieso children FILLED IT UP AGAIN, and put little boats in it, and apparently forgot about it because when we finished church and were heading over to consejo de barrio, there was a river instead of our hallway. Thank goodness its tile. At least the church is finally clean... ha!
-I counted this morning and I have 126 bug bites. Yep.
-I ate cow stomach. Chewy.
-We contacted like 82 people this week and have a lot of promising investigators! So excited.
-The youth in the ward think that I am a famous singer in the US because my companeras started a rumor hahahah
-Stop signs are a nice red decoration for the streets, I dont think anyone knows what they mean or what they stand for.........
-Christmas IS UPON USSSS! Such amazing teachihng opportunities. 
-I am in constant awe of how powerful the Holy Ghost is, my comp and I are literally guided towards people who want to know about the church.
-It was blazing hot and we got to our mamita´s house for lunch and she gave us a piping hot soup. With chicken feet at the bottom. Deliciousssssssss.
-A DOG LITERALLY ALMOST ATE ME. We were talking with Juan, and these two giant dogs started to fight literally centimeters away from my face. I screamed really loud, ha.
-I WILL HAVE MY MONTH B-DAY OF BEING ON A MISSSSH ON FRIDAY!!!!!





Okay breaking down the week:
MARVELOUS Monday was Pday so we washed clothes and wrote home. Sniff sniff. We also had FHE at a member´s home. I LOVE THE MEMBERS HERE, It feels like I´m at home for an hour. They´re amazing. 
Tuesday- TUKO TUESDAYSSSS, tuko means strong. So we contacted a ton of people. We also had Noche de Hermanamiento, which is like a giant family home evening, that is where I ate cow stomach........ 
Wednesday- I can´t remember. But I do remember visiting a less active family and having one of the most Spirit filled lessons ever. They haven´t been to church in a really long time, but they accepted us, and we were able to have a really effective lesson on faith and perservering to the end.
Thursday- District meeting. Elder Yat our District Leader taught us about how we are the magnifying glass and the sun is all the information, and we need to focus on the needs of our investigators. And keep studying. D&C 11:21 hehe
Friday- I don't remember
Saturday- We went to Quinchuqui to help move tierra and shell beans. It was really fun. I love service projects. Our zone is really close. I love all of them; they are awesome missionaries and great people.


Sunday- Johnathan got baptized! We taught 4 investigators and 3 accepted dates to be baptized. Wooooooo. I handed him my scriptures open to Alma 26:12, and he read it before we started. Then later, when he was bearing his testimony, he mentioned that scripture and how much it helped him. I had no idea, but the Lord knew it was exactly what he needed.

I am so thankful for the Lord´s tender mercies. I was having a tough evening, prayed, and then read Proverbs 3:5-6. Then I saw a BRIGHHHT, giant star, and the thought of my Dad instantly came into my mind. Instacomfort. 
We saw a really pretty rainbow this week too. I know that God is mindful of us and the little things really do count.
Some of my favey scrips this week have been:
Matt 18:12-14
D&C 64:33
D&C 61:36
D&C 10:4
D&C 1:23
Matt 14:27 LOOOVEEEEE
FAITH PRECEDES MIRACLES PEOPLE


I was flipping over my notes from General Conference and loved Sister Gifford Nielson´s talk. Go look it up. I think thats how you spell it, idk. But I know that I have to give ALL of me to the Lord, I am clay in the most talented potter´s hands. I trust in Him and I trust that He knows what He is doing.
Love LOVE love Ecua and its peeps.

Love all yalllll
Hope everything is good in the States.

Cuidateeeeee

Hermana Bowman
PS we were at the offices today a dn Elder Leal got a big package... WHERE IS THE LOVE PEOPLE?!? SHOW ME YOUR LOVE WITH A CHRISTMAS PACKAGE (jk, kinda)
PPS Ppleaaase email me your addresses of your houses because I will reply to emails with handwritten letters since I have very limited time on the computer. LOVE YALL bye

Dec 16, 2013 Well, Well, Well

Hello all. I have 12 minutes to write this email so pardon moi if it´s rushed with horrid spelling and grammar.
HOW ARE Y'ALL?! I am fantastic. I love being a missionary. There is NOTHING else I would rather be doing right meow.

-Christmas is coming! 
-I´m learning more and more quechua and i LOVE it! PAGI TURIGUUU, CAYA CAMA, ALI SHAMUSCHA CAPAI, ALI TUTA, ARI, ÑAÑAGU, WAWA
-Wawa means 'kids' hahahhaha its my fave word.
-I ate something very similar to a Pirhanhahaaaa fish. It was terrifying but delectable.
-I finally rediscovered my sense of humor and am now the Lauren, I mean, Hermana Bowman, all y'all know and love. 
-I saw three pigs get slaughtered next door. I will never eat bacon ever again. 
-I left my notebook with all the cool stuff I wanted to tell yall, at home. oops. next week. 

We got to go to Quito for a Christmas dinna this week. It was a blast. We went caroling, ate AMERICAN FOOD (side note: I was depressed though because I got food poisoning the day before and literally had zero appetite, I couldn´t even down the mashed potatoes), and had an extremely spiritual Christmas program. Ha, the President discovered my voice (thanks to my companions) and made me sing two solos. It was way fun- it really felt like Christmas! I love how centered Christmas is on CHRIST. So incredible. We watched the little movie of the Nativity and the water-works began. I am so thankful for my Saviour, my Redeemer, the Prince of Peace, Christ. Jesus is the Christ, and He was born and died for us. I am eternally grateful, and truly stand all amazed at the love He offers me.

Our area is good. We had a great lesson in our District Meeting about using the Lord´s time wisely. That lesson has really made me think and I have been trying extra hard to aprovechar every moment.  We have SO much responsibility as missionaries. To make sure that the people we speak to understand our message and the importance of it. Teaching with clarity and simplicity is something I have been personally working on. Ah! When we plan out our day, we make lesson plans, with specific scriptures or passages we want to share. That has helped a lot with the effectiveness of our lessons. My companions and I are able to have good planning! La preparacion es la base del exito! (Preparation is the basis for success!)

We had a baptism this week! It was really unexpected. Martha Diaz is pregnant and her delivery date may be pushed up, so she was dispuesta (available) to be baptized yesterday evening! She has been living with a member´s family. She has progressed so much in just the one week we were able to teach her. She was truly prepared by the Lord. Anytime we asked verification questions, she answered them perfectly. I could really see the light of Christ illuminating her life. The simple knowledge that God loves us, is so profound and the Gospel is absolutely universal. It can apply to any and every person. Ah, I love being a missionary!

We also really focused on family prayer this week. Especially with the menos activos. We made prayer charts for them! Hehe, and we went back to check how they´re doing.

Our zona is absolutely incredible. The picture is of us at the Catarata (Waterfall) Taxopamba. We all motivate each other to work hard and the results are great. Navidad Blanca is going to be a great day, I don´t know if I have explained our Navidad Blanca goal to y'all. We are desafiaring (challenging) all our investigators to be baptized on the 21st so we cn have a white Christmas here in Ecuador (get it, because they will all be in white, awwwwww). 

We had scheduled Martha for the 21, (but she got baptized yesterday) and we also had Jimmy. He had such a fire, and such a desire to get baptized last week (I believe he still does) except his family is a desafio (challenge) because his sister doesn´t want him to join the church and his parents aren´t very receptive either. As a 16 year old, we need his parents´permission. So we are fasting and praying for him and his family, as well as all the other people who have fechas (dates).

We had a really cool opportunity to talk to a young man who was on the fence about serving a mission. OH MAN the Spirit was so strong there. I am so thankful I chose to come on a mission, and I was able to explain all the blessings and the true happiness that comes from serving the Lord.

The scriptures truly speak to us in these latter days. Oh my goodness. There is a special peace, power, tranquility, and motivation that comes with being a missionary. It´s crazy because pre-mish life, I read some of the same scriptures I read this week and NEVER understood what I understand now. The scriptures are absolutely incredible! I can´t believe all this amazing advice, knowledge, and comfort has been available all my life and I´m just now discovering it!

I had a ton of amazing scriptures written down that I wanted to share with yall but I left that notebook on my desk. Hashtag Typical Lauren, hah. Next week.

One month picture!!!

I am so grateful to be a part of this work! I feel a looooot more comfortable now, I have gotten over the whole culture shock, and gotten into the missionary groove! Love it!

Take care y'all,
Hermana Bowman

Dec 9, 2013 Navidad

This week was great. 

It was such an awesome opportunity to watch the Christmas Devotional last night. Of course it was dubbed into Spanish but I was literally BAWLING. Such incredible messages from our church leaders. I loved Russell M. Nelson´s talk. AH, it was so so good.  There are a lot of good Christmassy topics in the Liahona this month, wooo. We have been challenging members, investigators, menos activos, actually pretty much everyone we come in contact with, to come up with what they are going to give to Christ this Christmas. Almost exactly like what was talked about in the Devotional, I thought that was way cool! 

A family has made the decision to get sealed in the temple after 13 years, SO awesome. I am so happy for them! They´re going to the Guayaquil temple this month, since there isn´t one in Quito.....yet :). Others are wanting to give more service, read their scriptures, COME TO CHURCH (Hallellujaah, it is so nice to hear that as a goal since most of our area is made up of indigenous people who work in artesanias, they are usually always at the ferias selling their goods on Saturday and Sunday and they don`t make it to church), spend more time with family, have family home evenings more often, pray more, etc. It is such a privilege to see how the light of Christ touches people, especially during this holiday season. 

I personally, was praying in regards to what I should give to my Savior this month. My answer came to me at a way spiritual FHE a couple nights ago, when we were going around the circle. It was crazy because the words just fell out of my mouth. I decided I am going to recommit to putting my whole heart into my mission. I will not pass through my mission, I will let my mission pass through me. I know that The Lord will give me more strength and even more possibilities to touch and change lives, but I need to be obedient with exactness. I need to put forth allllll of my efforts, aaaand I cannot hold anything back. I can try a little harder to be a little better every single day.  I have seen miracles. I have been able to see how Jesus Christ's Atonement has re-shaped lives through His mercy and love. I am so thankful to be a part of this sacred work!
-Soooo, it turns out we had beg bugs. Yay third world countries! Hahahha I was literally throwing up. So nasty. But it is now taken care of. Although I continue to bathe in bug spray. I call it my perfume, ha.
 
-We ate chicken claw again..... I have pics to prove it this time. 

-MOROCHO is the key to my heart, (even though my heart is currently locked and focused on the work, haha) but oh my heavens it is so good. I had it twice this week, because our mamitas found out how much I love it. Its like soup with milk and corn but dang, it is delicious. 

-Tostado is also yumyum as well, it's just the kernels of corn. Kinda like a bigger version of soy nuts.

-Never thought I would say this but, I MISS VEGETABLES. They hardly dont exist here. And the only fruit I can find is in downtown Otavalo, like 15 mins away. We had broccoollllli on Wednesday and I jumped out of my chair with glee.
I´m gonna just write the highlight of each day, because we have so many lessons daily, I get confused.

Monday- We were in Quito all day, and rode back in the dark on a sketchy bus. But it was all good because we stopped at a Columbian store and bought Polaca, THE GREATEST STUFF ON EARTH. Its like yogurt of oatmeal or something. Yall can google it.
 
Tuesday- We visited Jimmy, Armando´s cousin (Armando was the first one we baptized when I got here) and he is SO stoked to learn more about the Gospel. He wants to get baptized, but he´s 16, which means he needs his parent´s permission. (Permission is a big thing here, even if you are over 18, if your husband doesn´t want you to get baptized, you can´t. Like, one of our investigator´s husband´s threatened to kill her if she got baptized. It is very intense) But we have permission to keep teaching him, and we sang Christmas carols to his parents, so I think they´re starting to soften up a bit. Armando is going to talk with them as well. But Jimmy is reading and progressing way well, he gives us these in depth resumenes of his lectura. Noche de Hermanamiento was great. We watched some videos that I remember watching in SemSem (Shoutout to Brother Holt) 

Wednesday- We went and visited Pacha 9 and Dayna 11 (Flower and Earth in Quichua) two sisters who are looking into the church. They are so enthusiastic and they love learning more. They ask questions and they are super cute. They both want to get baptized but their mom is a hardcore Evangelista and their dad is an alcoholic. They always pray for him during lessons, its so tender. We went and visited some other conversos recientes as well. 
Thursday-
Friday-
Saturday- ALL OF OUR CITAS CALLERON. (all our appointments fell through) It was such a hard day. It was really frustrating. But ya gotta have good days and hard days. Doesn´t mean each day doesn´t serve a purpose. We ended up visiting Hermana Sole, whose hubby is in Venezuela for a couple more months. She had been praying for comfort and a friends and then we showed up 2 minutes later. Her little sister, is in the hospital because she attempted suicide and the whole family has been having a really hard time. We were able to just offer her a shoulder to cry on and honestly we just cried along with her, but then we shared some really uplifting scriptures with her, and we were able to help her feel her Heavenly Father´s love. She is a very strong member and has an awesome testimony. Later, we went over to familia Moreta for a FHE, the husband was there but wouldn´t pry his body away from Facebook to have a short lesson with us, and Blanquita, the wife, just started bawling. People here are way open about their business, so she vented. I think she needed it. We adapted out lesson to her needs, and gave her a shoulder to cry on. Then, we sang her her favorite hymns, and gave her some passages of scriptures to read! Along with a couple conference talks. On our way back home, we stopped by the familia Campo, and they invited us in for a FHE as well! We talked about Christmas and what gifts they wanna give. It was awesome. So our Saturday turned out to be not so bad. We were able to be in the right places at the right time. God knows what he´s doing. :) 

Sunday- AHHH THE DEVO WAS SO GOOD. I loved it so much. LEYDI GOT BAPTIZED WOO WOOOOO! She´s a really cute, super shy 16 year old from Colombia, and I honestly had only seen her smile twice before her baptism. But she was literally beaming when she came out of the water. We saw her this morning at the store and she was smiling so big! I am so thankful for the changes people can make in their lives through Christ and His healing Atonement. :)

Monday- Since today was PDAY, our zone went to Toxapamba, which is this dope waterfall. It was quite the hike hahah, and it was pouring rain the whole time, which meant a lot of mud. It was SO dang fun though! Our zone is so awesome. We were singing hymns and stuff. It was great. I didn´t slip and fall into the mud, but a lot of people did hehe. The waterfall was gorgeous! I love Ecuador lalala. 

Dang. I have so many pics I wanna send but this email confuses me and it takes like 3928 minutes to load half of a pic. 
We are excited to have our Christmas dinner at the mission home in Quito this week! YEeeee, we get to hit up the cityyyy! 

Hermana Bowman

Nov 30, 2013

Hello


Hello ALLLLLLL!

Here I am, Hermana Bowman, in Ecuador. I´m in Otovalo, Peguche. (well I´m actually in a sketch internet cafe). I´m at like 8 degrees and 22 degrees?? Idk I saw that on a hostel sign next to our apartment. It´s like a 2 hour bus ride North of Quito. I´m the first white girl (gringa) that has been sent to this sector. It's PURE indigenous people. They all are always wearing their traje tipico, which kinda looks like the Costa Rica one, but a little different. All the guys have long hair in a braid down their back. They´re like pure Lamanite decent. It´s SO cool. Soooo cool. The Spirit of this land is incredibleeeeeee, the Book of Mormon literally comes alive here. I love it. except... THEY ALL SPEAK QUICHUA a language that is NOTHING like Spanish, and the ward is in complete Quichua. Totally. Soooo that´s interesting to say the least............ yeah

We have mamitas, who are members who feed us lunch every day except Pdays, and they LOVE us, and the way they show love is BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG portions. I´m talkin huge. I will confesss that I took a ziploc bag the last 2 days. While they leave the room I scoop half my plate into my backpack hahah, my comps copied me. ITS JUST A LOT OF FOOD- but I´m always thankful, especially since this week is Thanksgiving back home. Speaking of thankful, I am veryyyy thankful for washing machines, a luxury we do not have here in Peguche. 

I catch myself saying chuuuuta a lot (like the word shoot) and doing the little thing with your hand where you hit your pointer finger on your thumb and middle finger, you know, the thing all the RM´s do... hahahaha. 

The roads are dirt and it rains a lot, sooooo I have lots of muddy shoes ha.

Well this week has been a whirlwind. I know that the Lord has a lot of trust in me... Missions are hard. Buuuuuuuut that´s why I´m here, and I know I can do it, through Christ.  It´s interesting that the culture is so different here compared to even Quito (I got to spend three days there, training). I´m embracing it up here though. I have become even closer with my Father in Heaven and Christ the past 5 days. Prayer Prayer pppraaayer, constantly. I can´t do this alone! I feel like I´m on an emotional rollercoaster, but when we are out working, or when I´m studying, I am able to concentrate on others, and that helps a LOTTTTTT. 

Besides all the emotions (I´m such a girl, ugh), the work is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTICCCC. Our 21 year old investigator Armando got baptized on Friday, he has SUCH a strong testimony, I love it so much. He´s leaving for Spain on Thurs so we hope he will keep going to church. We also had a reeeeeeeally incredible experience with Cristina, another investigator who got baptized on Sunday morning. We visited her Saturday night, do give a little lesson and see how she felt about taking that great step the next day. She was very excited about it, and we were happy. When we went to go pick her up the next morning, she wasn´t ready and told us she changed her mind- she didn't feel ready anymore. Hermana Nogales and I talked to her, explaining the importance of baptism, (she didn´t get baptised the last two fechas that were set, and the elders have been tryna dunk her for the past year) and the Spirit was DEFINITELY there, it aws incredible. She decided to go get ready. 10 minutes later, she came back out and had changed her mind again, all of the sudden I felt the Holy Ghost telling me to testify to her. I don´t even remember what I said, because they weren't my words, but I do remember all three of us balwing our eyes out and then feeling so very happy to see her eyes light up and to see her determination to go through with her decision. It was the coolest thing to see her come out of that water, and see how amazingly happy she was after recieving the Holy Ghost. I love this work, I love this Gospel. I love seeing the Atonement work on people. AHHHHHH its so incredible. We are working with this kid Johnathan, a 14 year old, he only has to come to church one more time and then we can baptize hiiiiiim! He´s the cutest, and has a rock hard testimony already. It´s incredible.

The highs are deeeeeeeefintely worth the lows. I feel like I Need Thee Every Hour would be an appropriate theme hymn for this week, hahah. I spend more time praying than not. When I walk, shower, eat, study, alllllllllll day errrry dayyyyyyy.

I got really sunburnt today during personal study outside. haha oops. I´m closer to the sun I guess, 

OHHHH MY GOSH THE TOILETS FLUSH STRAIGHT DOWN HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no swirlies. so tight.

We live across the street from a bar (YAY CONTACTING POSSIBILITISE GALORE! Hhahah word of wisdom pamphlets are getting low)

I literally cried when I saw white tourists yesterday speaking ENGLISH! haha neverr thought I would miss a language. 

I LOVED a broadcast all of South America had this Sunday about La Obra De Salvacion. Our barrio made goals, and a lot of the barrio attended, I was very happy to see that. I know that we can continue to rescue those who may be or feel lost (menos activos and conversos recientes). I´m so thankful!!

I´m learning how to be a missionary slowly but surely. The scriptures are incredible, I love them so much. They are a fountain of love, knowledge, and comfort. 

I can feel yalls prayers, so THANK YOU SO MUCH

Talk to y'all next week!!

Hermana Bowman

ps- Please dont send packages that weigh more than 5 lbs because then i have to pay 100 dollars, and im poor so yeah. also, emails are the best because i´m out in the boonies so we never get mail......... thanks love y'all



Nov 19, 2013

I made itttt!


Hola todos!

I only have 4 minutes to write y'all something real quick. But I just wanted to say that I made it here to Quito safe and sound! My trip was great, I got to talk to three different people about the gospel on the way down here! YAY. President Richardson met me at the airport with a couple other elders. The weather is soooo dang nice down here, literally perfect. We're having training for today and tomorrow and then I get my new comp and assigned area on Thursday.
Anyways, I love you all and I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers, thank you so much!
I'm so thankful I'm a missionary!
#isthisreallife?!
con amor
Hermana Bowman
Welcome meal at the mission home with all the new incoming Sisters and Elders.

These are the Elders who greeted me at the airport.

Newbie training group at the mission home in north Quito.

Nov 12, 2013

Week numba oneee

Okay, so now that I've replied to all 18 of the individual emails I received (shout out to my REAL FRIENDS who actually care and wrote me. ;) hehe) I can do my mass email that will hopefully somehow get posted to my blog and FB. Please excuse any grammar errors or misspellings I'm on a time crunch and my brain gets ahead of my fingers.

Where in the world is Ecuador?!  Oh yes, there it is on the giant map. :)

I arrived safe and sound last Weds! Jack and Terry dropped me off, love love them. When the sweet lady gave me my tag I literally cried! Typical. Anyways, everything seems like a blur. Weeks feel like days and days feel like weeks. The MTC really is a time warp. So I'm assigned to West campus (WEST SIIIIDE, represent!) We always throw up the W. True gangstas, that we are. Es puro espanol por aca. All the kids that are going Spanish speaking are here on this campus.  So every time you pass anyone you're like, "holaaaa!". There's like 500-something on this campus. It's like 5 mins away from the main campus (which has WAAAAY better food, but we have better dorms so HA). 

Companions: Hna Del Valle, me, Hna Medina & Hna Cardenas

I literally forgot how to pray in English, I tried yesterday and I forgot. We always speak in Spanish. I'm the only white gurrrrl in my district. The rest are straight Latinos. Hermana Cardenas from Arizona (going to Raleigh, NC) and Hermana Del Valle from Tampico, Mexico (going to Mesa, AZ) were my companions up until last night, when I got a new one, Hermana Medina from Houston, TX (holla, fellow texan! Elder Metso is Texan too, he went to UNT and has the COOLEST conversion story) and she's headed Monterrey, Mexico we immediately bonded over our past lives and our bubbly personalities. hashtag bffs. Anyways, everyone always asks, "y usted como sabe el espanol?!" since I'm the whitest person ever (my spray tan faded). No but really, all the guys are like from Peru, DR, Mexico, etc. I met a guy headed to Costa RICAAAA! I was so excited. Oh, Elder Ibarra is from the Mormon Colonies in Mexico and he went to La Cacademia  too!! We know lots of the same peeps. OH AND MY DISTRICT PRES IS PRESIDENT CALL, who's mom was besties with Grandma Nellie! And Great Gpa Claudious bought land from his parents down in Dublan, Mexico! Talk about small world.........
My new companion, Hna Medina, and I in front of the Provo Temple.

We leave here on MONDAY. MOOOONDAAAYYYYY, aka I'm more than half way done with my mtc experience. There is a whopping total of 1 people in my travel group, so that's gonna be weird since I'm used to being with mi companera 24/7. I have a layover in ATL, GA at liiiike 11am? So fam, please keep y'alls phones on loud because I'll get to call yall.

It's like EFY on steroids, so cool. Our district is literally like family, we are all so close. Everyone's personal conversion story is so so cool. Really incredible people I have been blessed to learn from. There's like 15 of us. and the new "freshmen" as we like to call them (new missionaries) come in tomorrow. It's craaaay to think that we're SEEEENYAS already here. I cannnot imagine being here at the MTC for 4 or 6 or even 12 weeks.  

AHHHH I saw Ty Cook my homie from Allen. It was crazy because I was having a tough morning so I said a prayer for comfort, and just to know that I could survive the day, and then 2 minutes later when I went to refill my cup with caffeine free diet coke, LO AND BEHOLD THERE HE WAS. It was really cool to see a familiar face. And I saw Josh Ledbetter from EFY! It was soSOSO hard not to hug them. Most enthusiastic handshakes I've ever given, ha. I took pics but they're on my comp's camera aaaaand idk how to get them on this ancient computer soooooo, lo siento
Diet Coke -Yay

K so schedule wise: we have bfast at 6:30 and class from 7am till 10:30am. Study time, lunch, study time for 1 hour, class again, dinner at 4 PM (which is crazy because then we're dying by the time 10pm rolls around), role play, a devotional, (my favorites ever.), zone teaching, meetings, etc, etc etc. Feels like we eat then sit, then eat then sit. Thank goodness for gym time because that BYU Creamery ice cream is like reaaaaalllly good. Every second is planned out, and nap time is not included. 6:30am-10:30pm, without caffeine. Prayers work WAY better than caffeine though. Personal study time is GOLD, because there's literally sosososoooo much to learn with so little time it feels. Except maaaaybe sometimes Personal Study Time sorta kinda turns into "personal study the inside of my eyelids" time. Haha but I love love love any time we get to study.

I literally haven't even cracked open my English scriptures since I got here. And my Spanish ones have post-its sticking out everywhere and 4903 different colors highlighted. I never leave home without them. Before my mish, I wanted to read the BOM in espanol, buuuut i couldn't really understand it very well for some reason, but now, I eat it up! I'm so thankful for a deeper love and understanding for the gospel en espanol. I'm 100% sure that it is the Spirit, so I can't take any credit at all. 

Our maestros (teachers) are so so dope. Hermana Child is our morning teacher and she's such a sweetheart. She doubles as Flor, our progressing investigator who we prepare lessons for and teach every day. Then there's Hermano Larson, who siempre tiene "la razon" hahah, (he's always right) he's Joao, our other investigator from Brazil. PREACH MY GOSPEL IS THE COOLEST BOOK EVER. Well, obviously the Book of Mormon takes the cake, but PMG is suUch an incredible resource and my new best friend. I've learned that without the Spirit, lessons are pretty much pointless. We are truly INSTRUMENTS in God's hands. It is soooo nooooot about me. Nothing at all is about me. Like, this is all Christ and Heavenly Father working through me. Even my study time is devoted to others. 

Miracles happen daily, and my testimony of prayer has skyrocketed. We memorize lots of stuff here. So far I've got the missionary purpose, 1st vision, and a ton of other scriptures down paaaat. We did the whole "write it on the board like scripture mastery friday's and erase one word at a time" thing to learn them. Shoutout to Sister Summerhays for putting up with me in seminary class. Now I appreciate scripture mastery. Especially when you get called on to give a impromptu talk......... yeah, that was really helpful. 

Wow, this is the most English I've spoken/written in soooo long. Dang. I wrote so much stuff down in my journal to include in my email but now my mind is going blank.

"Never postpone a prompting" is probably one of the most prevalent statements in my life right now. SO many blessings come when you just listen to the Spirit. AND The Lord gives you more and more opportunities as you respond to those promptings. Love the gospel, Love IIIttttt. 

I'm learning so much about people, and also the gospel. I'm so thankful I'm here. It's been kinda hard adjusting buuuuut that's expected, right?! I know without a doubt that this is where I'm supposed to be. Selflessness and humility are qualities I am definitely developing. AND PATIENCE OH MY GOODNESS companions are a blessing but they also offer interesting learning experiences, ha. 

It's been real nice with no snow, THANK HEAVENS. We pray all the time. Like before class, during class, after class... before gym, after gym, when we leave the apt, when we wake up, before study, during study. it's sweet. I've learned to truly rely on the Lord for everything. I am so thankful for this gospel and I'm learning new things about it everyday. I cry a lot because the spirit is so strong, and I have felt it SO incredibly strong as I look investigators in the eye and testify of the truth. I don't know much, but I know that this church is true. :)

We get to hear L Tom Perry speak tonight, I'm SOOOOOOOO STOKED. I love that guy so much. Yay. Perks of being at the Provo MTC. WOOO

AH I HAD THE COOLEST EXPERIENCE AT THE TEMPLE TODAY. Ps, I got to add Provo temple to my list of temples visited.

It's so cool to learn from all the people in my district. The Elders are so awesome, they're the biggest gentlemen ever. They open doors, take our trays, are way respectful, and are the sweeeeeeetest guys ever. Latinos hold themselves to a higher standard of caballero-ness. Logan, Michael and Benji, yall better step it up, boys. Our DLs and ZLs are way way dope people, biggest testimonies. I would attach pics but I can't save them to this computer since it's like super lockdown filtered craziness. :( sowee

I already lost one of my nametags, so anyone who bet I wouldn't last a week without doing that is gonna be a few dollars richer, hah.

Oh yeah, and I went cold turkey on caffeine and had to go off campus to hunt some diet coke down today since it's pday... Withdrawals are not a fun thing. HA

OKAY ALSO I FORGOT BOTH MY CAMERA AND IPOD SO I'M VERY DEPRIVED AT THE MOMENT. and I keep getting phantom vibration syndrome. google it, its real...

I pray for all y'all and I miss all y'all. I know for sure that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I am so so blessed.

I'm so so thankful for the gospel, especially for the Restauracion del evangelio y la profeta jose smith. Nosotros hemos enfocado mucho en eso la semana pasada y se con toda mi alma que es la verdad. Tambien se que nosotros tenemos un Padre Celestial que nos ama tanto, y nos conoce perfectamente, mas que nosotros creemos que nos conocemos. Y tambien, se que mi hermano mayor JesuCristo murio por mi, y que solo por medio de El, podemos llegar a regresar al cielo con nuestro amado Padre Celestial. 

I keep going back to what my setting apart blessing said, there was so so much helpful inspired advice. I LOVE my Patriarchal blessing too. 
K times upppppppppppppppppppppppppp
 I forgot a lot of stuff -- but, oh well.

Next time I email, I'll be in ECUAAAa, holler. YA TU SABBBESSSSSS (You already know. Our district motto. You say it in a Puerto Rican accent como el Elder Pagan) the other motto is SI SE PUEDE (YES YOU CAN) we're lame I know.

Write me. About anything. Your lunch, puppies, the weather, I wanna hear from all y'all. 

Con Amor, 

Hermana Bowman 


The Seniors from last week that just left!






Nov 5, 2013

Is this real life!?

Waaaaaaaaaaaait a second... how in the WORLD did we get here?!!!

SOLO ME FALTA 1 DIA. SOLO 1.


ayyyyyyyy yi yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

So I'm basically the Princess and the Pea right now, laying on top of 39 layers of scarves, skirts, shirts, dresses, aaaand mission shoes (aka the pea... I can feel them, does that mean I'm a princess?!). Taking a break from the chaotic-ness of packing... (typical Lauren, packing at 2:43am) Because it's honestly starting to hit me that I'll be set apart as a missionary of the Lord to.day. Like, this is really about to happen.

Loads of people have asked, "What are you feeling? Nervous or excited?" To be honest, I. am. stoked. I get to devote 18 months of my life to my God, with the one and only purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ. What an honor, what a privilege. So yes, to answer your question, I am excited. I'm not going to sit here and tell y'all that I'm expecting it to be sunshine and daisies 24/7, and that every door I'll knock on will magically turn into an investigator, no. But I will testify to y'all that I know that I have God on my side. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) and my personal favorite, ever since I was 8, 

1 Nephi 3:7
will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. 

Keeping a positive outlook is something extremely important to me, and I know that through God, I will be able to accomplish anything He asks of me, and through faith in Him, I will always be able to remember WHY I'm serving. What was that word? Serving. Serv-ice, noun, the action of helping or doing work for someone. Oh, wait, that W word, what was that? Work, noun, activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. The missionary purpose is as follows:

 Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is by no means a "break from life" nor a "vacation". The field is white and ready to harvest. And here I am, Lauren Michelle Bowman, ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

I have already decided that I'm just going to embrace every experience, good or bad. Come what may, and I will (try my hardest) to love it. I'm definitely not saying there won't be hard times, I mean, come on now, leeeeeet's be realistic, missions are one of the most trying yet rewarding time periods in life. "For after much tribulation come the blessings" (D&C 58:2-4) The Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, after a period of great afflictions, "Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." The harder that final mile was to run, the more satisfaction ya feel when you finish (the satisfaction part comes after you pass out, if you're me) We aren't promised freedom from adversity or affliction, heck, that's why we're here on Earth! To be tested. To gain a testimony. To make it back to our Heavenly Father, who is cooooonstantly rooting for us. 

I am already in love with my Ecuadorian people I haven't met yet in this life, although I know that in a previous life, I promised at least one person to go and find them in Ecua, and share this glooorious message with them. I could never imagine doing anything else with my life at this point! I will serve with all my heart, might, and strength. Y'all, my mission is not about me. It's not even my mission! It's all about those who I will have the blessed opportunity to come into contact with. 

I love my Heavenly Father with all my heart. I love Christ with all my heart. I love this Gospel with alllll my heart. I am so very blessed to have this knowledge and I'm positively jumping up and down at the thought of happiness that people will be able to feel as the Lord uses me as an instrument in His hands to bring the world the truth. (weeee are aaaaaaaaaas the armies of Helaman)

I know for a fact that The Book of Mormon is true, I know that Christ died for our sins, I know that families are most definitely eternal, and I know without a doubt that the Atonement is real and it works absolute wonders. I can't imagine my life without the light of this truth.

I honestly cannnnnNOTTTTTT wait to begin this new chapter of life!



haaaaashtag 1 day ;)

Con amor,

Hermana Bowman

Nov 1, 2013

SURPRISE SURPRISE

Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Story time. Let me set the scene, I'm visiting one of my favorite places on earth, Rexburg (the Burg, Sexy Rexy, etc) to see all my amigos one last time before I peace out in 3 weeks. This includes but is not limited to: McDonalds at 2, 3, 4, and 5am, Baja Blast runs to TBell, getting denied entrance to the Hart to go workout because I'm off-track, driving around IF for 58 minutes in the endless search for the one and only Bank of America branch in the tri-state area, awkward encounters with past tinder dates, setting up everything for the Uprising party with my favorite crew on the face of this earth (go look up uprisingevents.com, I promise it's dope), dancing in parking lots, experiencing sunshine, rain, and snow all in a 12 hour period, apartment hopping, heart-to-hearts, jamming, scoring free KFC at random ward parties, purchasing another BYUI camelback water bottle because I've lost my last 4 other ones, meeting new faces, etc. etc...

Oh man, I got to go to the Rexburg temple on Wednesday, oh my heavens, what an amazing place. I'm so thankful for the temple, I am in love with it. It's a little slice of heaven. I love to seeeee theeee templeeeee. (Oh, and I get to cross another temple off my list! So far I've got: SLC, Jordan River, Nauvoo, Dallas, San Jose Costa Rica, and Rexburg)

ANYWAYS, here I am, it's Halloween afternoon, and I'm taking a little snoozeroo with my friend Jhessica since I'm getting old and can't handle all of the festivities that come with being surrounded by my bestest, wildest friends who never seem to sleep (and somehow still make it to class?) We had stayed up way late the night before gabbing into the wee hours of the morn. We talked about lots of things but I remember expressing the following to some of my close girlfriends, "I feel like my mission is a big, sparkling, crystal blue, pool, and I just wanna jump in, like RIGHT NOW. If I could leave tomorrow, I would be there in a heartbeat, no hesitation."

*RING RING* *RRIIIIIGNGNGNNG RING* The following were my sleepy thoughts as I scrambled to find my phone which was miraculously turned on (its hardly ever on these days): "hmm, a random 801 number, please don't be someone off of tinder, please, I deleted that app like 2 months ago, oh my goodness, I really honestly don't need my canteen filled.... like who could this even be..."
"OH HEY PRESIDENT CRANDALL!" One of my top 10 favorite people on the planet. This man is incredible, increeeeedible. So we catch up for a minute, I talk to him about how awesome it was to go through the temple, etc, etc. Then he drops this unexpected GIANT piece of news on me and asks if I'd be down to enter the MTC in 5 days.
WAIT WHAT. UH IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION?!
Apparently there was a misunderstanding of my Spanish capabilities so in order for me to have a district in the MTC and be on track and whatnot, I could enter the Provo MTC (as opposed to the Mexico one) on Wednesday, November 6th. He also gave me the option to leave December 18th, but nooooo waaaaaay man, no way- that's way too far away. So after practically falling down the stairs with excitement, I told Pres. C. that I'd pray about it and get back to him later that day or tomorrow.

After I screamed and jumped and cried with Jhess, and called my momma, I went into my friend Brook's room to pray. I knelt down in front of her window and started just thanking Heavenly Father for everything, for His timing, for blessing me with such awesome people in my life, for trusting me with this opportunity to serve Him and the people of Ecuador, and on. Then I remembered that when you pray in regards to confirmation about a decision, you're supposed to actually make your decision first, and then see if you have peace of mind, or a stupor of thought. So, tears streaming down my face, I decided to enter the MTC early. As I did, the most incredible, brilliant, white light filled my soul, it was almost tangible! I knew without a doubt that this was the right decision. Also, I know for sure that my dad was right there in the room with me, with his hand on my shoulder. It was awesome. Then I got a prompting to go over to Brook's scriptures. (She's leaving to serve in Bolivia in January) I grabbed her Spanish Book of Mormon and plopped and pointed to 3 Nephi 11:32-39ish where it talks all about how this is the Lord's doctrine and how we should believe in Him and be baptized... K so, if that's not a missionary scripture passage, I don't know what is!

Called President Crandall back and shared the glad tidings of great joy. I will be set apart on Tuesday evening! I honestly am the happiest Christmas tree right now. The Lord knows me and my heart better than anyone, I'm thankful He blessed me with the quality of spontaneity/a drop everything attitude. I know it's only 3 weeks early, but at the same time, ITS THREE WEEKS EARLY. Like, maybe this is because the Lord needs to touch someone through me earlier than when I originally was supposed to go. I don't know what the reasons may be, but I will always, always, always, trust in the Lord and His timing.

So yeah, I hitched a ride back to SLC with my dear friends Dan and Becca Swiss this morning, and I am now running around like a crazy person packing, canceling gym memberships and phone contracts, telling my piano teacher muchas gracias for teaching me the only two hymns I will play throughout my entire mission, making a mish music playlist, quitting my jobs, hitting up my Utah fam and telling them to nonchalantly show up at Sacrament meeting tomorrow to hear my impromptu farewell during Fast & Testimony meeting, tailoring skirts, printing out fave Gen Conf talks, and so on and so forth.

PLEASE email me your name or something at lauren.bowman@myldsmail.net so I can keep in touch with all y'all beautiful people.

OkaYyyyy I have to go do my genealogy chart thing, adios amigos.


#4days

Oct 23, 2013

the day is faaaast approaching

It seems like I always get the urge to update my blog at 3:30am, because that's normal, right?... Regardless, here I am. 

WOW, so so so much has happened since I last posted. But, can we just take a moment to acknowledge that I AM LEAVING IN 28 DAYS!?!?!? OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, I literally cannot contain my glee. 

I could most definitely write 93024 different blog posts about what all has transpired in the past couple months, but I'll attempt to keep it short & sweet and just include a ton of picccczzzzz. But y'all know me, I ramble. Anyways, here goes!

Mid-August
I got to go visit 3 states in one week! Got to see my fambam in Missssouruh (Misery). Which was so mucho fun-o. Loved hangin' out with my supersibs. 

Left to right: Michael, Hanna, yours truly, Benji. We all have the same nose... and this was like 5 am, so we were all rocking the sleepy-eyed-bed-head look. 

I got to see Dallas, my twin (but more commonly referred to as my step-cousin) and won't see him for about 3 years since our missions will overlap. 

Went on a swimming/hiking extravaganza with my two seesters. I love my sissies & they love me!!!!!! (maaaybe)

Hanna & I got bored one evening so we pulled an all-nighter creating pinterest crafts, drinking emergen-c, eating chocolate, watching Grey's Anatomy, and giggling the night away.


I got all 92 shots required for my mission, and received this sweet Spiderman sticker in return for my tears. Hashtag shots for daaaaaaaaaays. 
#yellowfever #typhoid #menigiococcal #malaria

Rick, my step-dad, kept trying to convince me to hang out in MO until my report date in November (little did he know, that was never a remote possibility) but in his efforts, he called the local singles ward/institute peeps to see what they were up to. Turns out they had a two day trip to NAUVOO scheduled for the next day. I was SO down. Made a ton of great friends, got to do baptisms in the NAUVOO TEMPLE, went to a little carnival thing, did a waay fun service project, and got to see the awesome pageant! It was such an incredible experience, my testimony of Joseph Smith skyrocketed. Especially after visiting Carthage Jail. The Spirit there is indescribably strong. The pioneers were truly amazing people who I have the utmost respect for. 


Then I got to hit Dallas for a couple days! I love me some Mac-Town!

 The three amiiiigos. Kayla & Kelly are such sweethearts. Loved spending time with my little turtles again, it was like I never left!

These two women are my absolute favorites! Addrianne & Amy were my former dance directors and they are both like second mothers. Such inspirational (& HILARIOUS) ladies!

Said my final goodbyes to my beloved house. (Don't worry, my little casa, I'll come back and buy you when I'm rich and famous)



September 7th
I had the amazing opportunity to go through the West Jordan Temple. Oh. My. Goodness. What a special Saturday evening it was. My momma flew out to Utah to accompany me, as well as a plethora of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I am so so so blessed. The feeling in the celestial room was absolutely indescribable, I'm 100% sure my dad was there! I prayed and prayed, and felt such peace and comfort, as well as a sure confirmation that serving a mission is exactly what God has planned for me in this wonderful season of life. I've gone back to the temple 4 times since then and plan to go at least a couple more times before I leave! Bummer that the closest temple to Quito is all the way down in Guayaquil, because I am in LOVE the feeling there! I am so grateful for all the primary songs, young women leaders, family members, and most importantly, parents who helped pave the way for me to prepare to enter the holy house of the Lord. :) Love it, love it, love it. 

Me and my momma!

I love to see the temple, I we-e-ent there todaaaaay

Dinner afterwards at Mimi's Cafe. Yuuum.

I got to spend some quality time with mi madre. Love this woman more than anything! She's the best. Ever. (I get my duck-face from my momma.)

 "Lauren, let's take more selfies in the car!!!!!!!!" okay mom, okay

October 4, 5, & 6
PERKS OF LIVING IN UTAH- General Conference live and in person. I was so stoked to get tickets to not one, but TWO sessions to #ldsconf on Sunday! Got to see some really good friends but much more importantly, hear some incredible inspired messages and receive modern day revelation from our living prophets. I took notes for daaaays, and managed to take even more notes when I changed my focus from just myself, to the point of view of future investigators. I feel like I got even more out of Conference that way! Loved it. I'll have to write a whole other post on my favorite talks. BUT OH MY GOODNESS I WAS BAWLING DURING CALLED TO SERVE. I can't believe I'm gonna be Hermana Bowman in 28 days, eeeeek! 

 Hashtag selfie Sunday???

Amigos


Oh, and y'all may have noticed my zombie-looking-post-hiking-the-Y-ratchet self in the commercial following conference on BYUtv. If you forgot how attractive I looked, here's a lovely little reminder: 
No, but really, that was such an honor to be in Deseret First's commercial! They're good people over there. Love 'em.

October 17th
GOT MY VISA GOT MY VISA GOT MY VISA GOT MY VISA GOT MY VISA!!!!!
I got to go to Washington DC last Thursday (coincidentally it was the very day the government finally decided to be normal and open again after their little temper tantrum) I went along with 6 other future Ecuadorian misioneros. 2 of which will be joining me in Quito North! So fun to get to know those ladies! We caught the red-eye flight, it was fun. I LOVE FLYING, and that's not sarcasm, y'all. As we landed, I saw all the cool monuments, and thought to myself, oh man- it's all real! They actually exist outside of movies and textbooks! Sadly, we knew sight-seeing wasn't on the to-do list. We rolled up to the Ecuadorian Consulate in a blacked out Escalade (the church obv has some sweet hook ups) and much to our surprise, walked out a short 5 minutes later! All we did was hand our packets over to this way chill dude who encouraged us to go out and "enjoy America!". How could we say no?! Three hours later, we signed a couple papers and were handed OUR BEAUTIFUL ECUADORIAN VISAAAAAS! What a fun, short, exciting trip! (I was gonna post a pic of the visa but then decided against it for security reasons.) 

TA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 

Miscellaneous
I got new glasses. (TWO PAIRS, OMG) (#twopaaaaaaaairs) Hallelujah! Not that I didn't enjoy being a blind bat. Hopefully I don't lose them in the airport on the way to the MTC... (Hi, I'd like to introduce myself! My name is Lauren AlwaysLosesHerGlasses Bowman)

Mother's pick of "classy business-y adult-y yet still semi flattering" glasses. (I secretly love them, hehe)

The kinda glasses I usually prance around wearing :-)

MY PHONE DIED. LIKE REALLY DIED. LIKE ITS GONE FOREVER. NO COMING BACK. 
One drop too many?! When I say one, I mean seventy-three drops too many. I think my subconscious actually really wanted my phone to break beyond repair so I'd stop incessantly tweeting, instagramming, vining, pinning, facebooking, and all the other horribly addictive social networking I partook of.  ALSO, all of my contacts mysteriously disappeared the weekend before. I decided I'd embrace this tragedy seeing as there is no time better than the present to begin weening myself off of technology. It has been a full nine days, and I'm STILL ALIVE, PEOPLE. So this can't be a bad thing. I spend more time reading, outdoors, and doing good productive things, so YAY!!! Definitely a blessing.


PIANO LESSONS
I feel like a 3rd grader, but it's cool. I'm taking piano from my super-sweet neighbor, Alicia, every Monday until I leave (there are only 4 left, WAIT WHAT) Apparently there's a whole lotta a cappella singin' going on in Quito, says my cousin, so I'm following the promptings of the Spirit/the Mission President's letter and brushin' up on some hymns before I depart.  So far I've got I Need Thee Every Hour down paaaat, and I'm working on a couple others. It's so fun! Yay musica!