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Dec 30, 2014

Christmas Eve in Ecuador

Buenas tardes familiaaaa! 
(Good afternoon family!)

I bet y'all are wondering why I'm writing on a Wednesday (12-24-14). Well, President switched preparation day to Weds this week since it's Christmas eve! So, it was a looong week. It was kinda weird working on Monday, hahaha. My body is like, programmed to know that lunes (Monday) is el día de reposo (the day of rest) :p But it's been good. I shall break down the week into dayssss. 

.....yum? Dead cuiiiiiiiii, who wants some guinea pig?!

Looking through the kitchen window. Dirt floors, y'all. These people have NOTHING. No fridge, nothing. It's just a gutted out room. Take a step back and count y'all's blessings. I know I do every time I go visit them. It's so humbling. BUT, even though they don't have material things, they've got true happiness. 
Seek ye first the reino de Dios (kingdom of God). 

MEET: my companion: Hermana Corne. She´s 21. From the Peruvian jungle. She grew up speaking Quechua (not Quichua, but almost) and is the only member in her family. 
She's great :)

DDDDEAAAD or ALIVEEEEEEEEEE. deeeeeead or aliveeeee

Monday- We had changes, as I mentioned last time. We went and visited some less actives and had a Family Home Evening at the Chuquin's casa (home) with Familia Amaguaña to start pumping them up for their baptism. 

MY FAVORITE FAMILY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I'm obsessed with them. Familia Amaguaña Aguilar has got a BIG spot in my heart :) 

Tuesday- Went to QUITO for le lunch. It was so SO SOOOO good! I ate literally like 4 servings of zapayo which is like yams here. We sang and did a cute little presentation for Pres and his wife. It was great. I felt like I was in the States for a second. We exchanged gifts playing white elephant. I ended up with a gluestick and yogurt. Holler for elder-gifts. There was a gift bag that said, ¨it's a gril!¨ hahahahahah instead of it's a girl. I love typos. It was great. Pres challenged us to memorize "The Living Christ" again. I love it, so much. The spiritual portion of the meeting was aweome. I was crying, as usual. I love Christmas. The spirit is so strong. Especially as a missionary :) JESUS is the CHRIST. 

My mission Pres and his wifey are so awesome. I LOVE THEM WITH ALLLLLL MY HEARTTTTTTTT

My peepz. Hna Gonzalez and Hna Nogales. We had last Christmas in the same zone (in Otavalo) last year and now we´re back togedder! IN OTAVALO! How cute. 

Wednesday- stayed home all day 'cuz my comp was like, dying sick. I almost pulled my hair out 'cuz we had a ton of investigators we needed to visit and none of the members could do divisions with us. But it's all good because I studied a lot and cleaned some too. 

Some Quichua for y'all. That's by the train tracks right in front of our casa (house). 

Thursday- Had our district meeting and learned about how to create an effective mission plan for our wards for the year 2015 (WAIT WHAT?!). I got a blessing cuz I had like a nervous breakdown or something cuz it's like I'm opening a new sector with Hermana Corne since I had barely been here 2 weeks and some other stuff was going on too. But it was way good. I felt like Heavenly Father was speaking directly to me, and got a TON of answers and felt a tangible peace. I am SO grateful for the Priesthood here on earth! :)
My gurlz helping me put on le anaco. It´s like just two giant pieces of fabric that you wrap around your waist and cinch in with things called fajas

Karen and Adela! Love them. One got baptized last month, and one got baptized on Saturday. Pretty sure they're the reason I came on a mission.

They're so cooootttt.

THEN. As we were walking to go get the results of my comp´s poop test (to see if she´s got parasites), I got REALLY THIRSTY all of a sudden. and turned sharply into this little store. We saludar-ed (greeted) the lady and then she´s like, ¨Do I know you?¨ and I was like, uhhhh maybe. There are lots of missionaries here in Otavalo. and then she said, no I had a friend that looks just like you, and then BOOM IT CLICKED!!!!!

IT WAS MARTHAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONE OF MY CONVERTS!!!!! She got super skinny cuz when we taught her she was preggers and I didn't recognize her. But then I did. It was so cool. It's been a whole year! It was such a tender mercy from the Lord.

RAN INTO MARTHA!!!! My convert from exactly a year ago! 

Friday- Worked really hard. That's all I remember.
Imbaburaaaaa! This is at the top of the GIANT hill that Hna Rojitas and I would climb every dang morning.

Freakin' darling children. I LOVE OTAVALO.

RAN INTO WAITA AND SURI Love zemmmm. They´re from Quinchuqui. I´m seeing everyone here in Otavalo. She´s the Young Womens Pres. But she has a nose piercing. 
Idk how that works, but yaaah.

Saturday- THE BAPTISM! THE BEST BAPTISM OF MY WHOLE LIFE!!!! It was amazing. I'll tell y'all about it tomrrow. 
LOOK AT HOW CUTE THE INDÍGENAS ARE! from left to right: Hermano (Brother) Chuquín our ward mission leader (he dunked Adela), Segundo the father of the fam, Margarita the Momma,  Adela (13 year old future model and President of General Young Womens), Hermano (Brother) Lema (whom I MET A YEAR AGO! He was in the Peguche ward and we were teaching them and they went and got SEALED IN THE TEMPLE AS AN ETERNAL FAMILYYYY ahhhhhh, he baptized Margarita), and OBISPO CACHIGUANGO!!!! (funniest and best Bishop I have ever had -- hahahaha -- I love him so much. He baptized Segundo).

Sunday- Church was great. We ate lunch at the Bishop's house. I love him. He was 'mad' at us because he wanted to be baby Jesus or at least the angel - hahhaa. But he was just one of the three kings (we were the ones that set the cast and script, heh). 
The angels of the ward ;) hehehe -- the missionaries! Who else? 

Monday - my body totes thought it was prep-day hahah I think it was mad at me. But we worked way hard and found a bunch of new peeps to teach. 

Jam sesh with Segundo


Tuesday- Had the BEST Christmas activity evaaaaar. I never wanna leave this ward. Segundo and Margarita and Karen all participated!!! It was so cute. 

Making the stable on Monday night in preparation for the ward Christmas activity last night... THIS WARD IS the BOMB. We helped coordinate and they totally took responsiblility. It turned out so great, aw. 

The 4 mishamarries in Bariio Otavalo. With the sumos leader (High Priest... he was King Herod - hehehehe) 

Otavalo goes hard or goes home, y'all.

Sandra is an angel. She's our vecino (neighbor) right across the hall. She's a RM (returned missionary) and gives us food and stuff. I love her :) She's the one that's gonna let us use her computer tomorrow to SKYPE ALL Y'ALL! :) Her husband is the one that 'broke' into our house  - hehehe (when we got locked out recently).

Angels cooking, what? 

The YW doing a cute dance as presents. 

The Elders Quorum doing their band act. They just danced around acting crazy with their cardboard instruments blasting Otavalian music -- hahahaha -- I LOVE THEM. And the best part of all, is that Segundo was up there!!! SO AWESOME.

Holla, look at that!!! The turn out for the activity!! This ward is so tight. We had 236 as the attendance on Sunday! IT'S SO INCREDIBLE!!!!! I've been in wards that are like... 90, 50 (the twig of a branch in Quinchuquí), and 110 max, but NEVER 236! :) So proud :´)
Hehe -  selfie, featuring the Otavalo Ward.
The crewwww for our ward council number :) 

TODAY! Today President gave me special permission to go to PEGUCHE AND QUINCHUQUI to visit all my peeps! it was awesome. Even though I only found 2 because everyone was paseando (traveling) cuz its Christmas Eve, duh. I shoulda thought of that before, hahaha. 
Imbaburaaaaa! This is at the top of the GIANT hill that Hna Rojitas and I would climb every dang morning.

Maria and TATIIIIII! They're so cute aw aw aw. Maria picked me up when she hugged me and we were both like, crying hahaha. I love her! She's Yuli and Diana's momma :) 
So cute.
Went to the CASCADAAAAAS DE PEGUCHE! Where we used to run every morning :) Aw, the memories.


I just want to let all y'all know that this is truly the true church and I KNOW without a doubt that Christ is our Savior and that through Him and His gift to us, we can be made whole. I know that HE is Christmas. I know that we are all daughters and sons of God and that He is EVER aware of us. I know that THIS is the True and Restored church of Jesus Christ, and that the Book of Mormon is palpable evidence of it. I LOVE being a missionary and sharing this message of love, hope, faith, strength, comfort, joy, everything. I love each and every one of yall and my biggest hope and prayer is that you have a wonderful Christmas full of light and happiness. May the light of Christ fill y'alls lives in this glorious season. 

I will see all y'all tomorrow. Skypity Skype SKYPEEEEEE.

ñuka kanda juyani :) aka I LOVE YOUUUUU

Con amor (with love), 

Hermana (Sister) Bowman 
Watch these two videos. They are 2 mins each and make me cry everytime. 

So this was our mid-afternoon snack (1st breakfast, 2nd breakfast, tea time...) NO Just KIDDING!!!. 
But they really do eat these here. I haven´t been able to stomach it quite yet... 
Segundo looks like a rockstar without his hair braided

THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!! SEEING THE WIFE BRAID THE HUSBAND'S HAIR. I DIE EVERY TIME-- it's so freakin' cute. Look at them. Don´t you wanna pinch their cheeks!?! Note that she´s up on the step hehehe.

Dec 17, 2014

Sending lots of love from Ecuador

HELLO FAM! So happy I get to write y'all this week. 

It actually isn't looking like Christmas. We were sweating soooo baddddd today. It's hot outside. Heh. And here in Otavalo only a few people like, legitimately celebrate Christmas, with the tree and gifts and whatnot. Año viejo/nuevo (Old Year/New Year's) is bigger here. It´s most likely because it´s such a humble area. BUT we are starting this cool tradition in our ward where we'll have the Christmas story read out of the Bible and then all the people acting it out (THEY'VE NEVER DONE IT HERE BEFORE! Can you believe it?) Consejo de barrio (Ward counsel) accepted the idea and they were actually pretty stoked about it!! :)

Merry Christmas! THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGES grandma and momma. Y'all are the best. I most enjoyed the socks and food. All any missionary wants. I was ecstatic. Funny thing, my comp got two packages the same day, and they were the same exact contents. So thanks y'all

I was shocked at a call from our Zone Leaders last night! WE GOT EMERGENCY CHANGES. (The ZL's are gringos both from Wyoming, hahah what a coincidence and one is like, identical to Daniel, ahenm, Elder Bowman, in every sense of the word. It´s weird actually.) I knew it was too much of a dream to have a ¨white¨  christmas (two gringas together hahaha). HOWEVER I am 100% sure that it is by inspiration of the Lord.
We heart Otavalo.

So what had happened was, we have 4 Hermanas in our ward and before the switcheroo, it was 2 Peruvians together and 2 gringas, so Pres just had us switch comps. Hermana Wight taught me a lot, and I am grateful for the 2 weeks with her. She´s super diligent and an incredible teacher. My new compa, Hermana Corne is a sweetheart and I am excited to be able to work with her and learn from her as well. She´s from Peru. She´s been out for like 6 months. I know that it will be a wonderful change! I feel that I have learned how to just turn it all over to the Lord and trust in Him. I know that His will is much better than mine. It´s so nice not having an internal struggle and just having that capacity to trust in Him. Missionary work7LIFE in general is a lot more enjoyable and efficient that way. :) 
Noche de hogar :) 
We went over to the Amaguaña´s house and had a noche de hogar with one of the families that are fellowshipping them, and the Bishop and his wife. We talked about ley de castidad and palabra de sabiduría and the spirit was SO STRONG. I totally felt the don de lenguas (gift of tongues) because as the members shared their testimonies I totally UNDERSTOOD what they were saying. I missed Otavalo. It´s such a magical place!

That would be (Mount) Cotacachi. Sunsets are to die for here.

Our sector is doing really well. We have been working a lot with the members, they are so willing to come out with us and visit. It's like they recognize that it is truly their responsibility and have that initiative to come out. It's crazy, I haven't ever seen a ward here that's so happy to work in the Work of Salvation. I am trying to figure out what it is to be able to implement it in future barrios (wards). But it's great. The Amaguaña Aguilar fam has 3 different families hermanandoles (fellowshippers) . That's lots of support from the barrio.  We had a great noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) this past week with the Bishop and his wife. We talked about ley de castidad (the law of Chastity) and palabra de sabiduría (the Word of Wisdom) and the members were able to offer their testimonies (in Quichua). The Spirit was so STRONG! This family is ready for baptism.
FAVE FAM!!!! Flia Amaguaña Aguilar. They´re getting baptized this weekend. I LOVE THEM. Here we are with their baby cuyes (guinua pigs) They named them both Hermana Bowman - hahahahha.

Caldo de Bille.... 
It´s a delicacy here and you can only get it at 5 am. It´s the fetus of a baby cow. Yum?

I was looking through my journals and I am so grateful for the person that I am becoming. I'm actually really different than who I was last year. (THANK GOODNESS, hahaha) I didn't even realize the progress, because it's so slow, but it's steady and sure. It's totally line upon line, and I know that we become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. So goals are really important. Because it's hard to reach an ultimate goal if our daily actions aren't in harmony with that vision we have.

They're so cute. I love them -- AHHH.

Hoaders: Ecuador
Ya can't see it very well at all... BUT it's literally a house built out of recyclable stuff/anything & everything you can think of... clothes, bags, bottles, dead rats, tarantulas, shoes, cups, pots, pans, hoses, piggies, yeah, you get the point...  It was awkward when we took the pic because then the Hermana came out and we're like, OH HEY! We came to visitcha!!! hahahah.

I'm really happy, y'all. Today we spent our time thinking of investigators and updating the carpeta de area (the area book) and personalizing caminos de fe for the families we are teaching. It's so great.
Tomorrow we have our Christmas dinna in Quito at the mission home. I'm STOKEDDDDDDD because this time I'm not sick and I'll be able to actually eat the mashed potatoes. :) eeee!


Sending lots of love from Ecuador,
Hermana Bowman

We had Relief Society outside this week! All the ñañagucuna.

This. Is. Heaven. I am working in literal heaven. I love it here.