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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?


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.

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

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.


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. 
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