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Apr 21, 2015

The Church is true, the book is blueeeeeeeee!

We are cute...
Y'all: hello, hola, (hi)
...and theeen we're REALLY cute.

Weeelll, the biggest news is that we're in a trio, holla holla! Last time I was in a trio was in the Missionary Training Center (MTC). Hahahah, aaages ago. So what had happened was, Hermana (Sister) Nethercott's "daughter" (trainee) went home after being in the field for two weeks, aaaand so now we're in a trio and we're covering both wards, Cotama and Imbaya.:) STOKED. More people to meet, we get to go to 6 hours of church every Sunday.  We get to cover more area, aaaand we get to do double the work! I AM SO EXCITEDDDD - AAHHH! I can't wait to meet their investigators and less actives and converts and Bishop and just serve! That's why we're here, ya know. So yeeee. I was praying to be able to have an opportunity to just completely squeeze out every last bit of diligence and love and service and eveeeerything and explode with éxito (success), so hey, that's the answer. :) 

We're in a trio. And my companions put on my skirt........... yyyyeeeaaaaah. 
Too much potatoes and rice y'all

It rained a lot this week. But we found a new investigator thanks to the rain! It's always good weather outside. :) We walked into her little store and started teaching the Restoration. Then she told us this crazy dream where she literally DREAMPT OF THE BOOK OF MORMON. It was so cool. She's been reading it, and it's been really interesting to hear her feedback.  Her name is Gloria. GLOOORRRIAAAA! :) Y'all can pray for her because even though she had such a cool dream, and other answers, she's still kinda hard hearted :/ 

Shoutout to Joe Raich too. Hahahah what? 

We had a little miracle with Julian Campo. He's been looking into the church for a little while and we went to visit him with our ward mission leader, basically just testified about the Atonement. When we finshed sharing that with him, he literally asked, "How can I be baptized?" We hadn't even uttered the word. It was really cool. He came to church yesterday and we had a really spiritual lesson in the chapel last night too. 

I AM BACK in the same zone where I started my mishhh!!! 
Aaaah I missed this view. The Peguche/Quinchuquí chapel

Found a hat in the bishopric office - heh heh heh. 
That's what all the hermanos (Brothers) wear here. 

I think that we had a lot of good experiences with the members this week. We felt prompted to go and visit a really active fam, so we did! When we got there and shared with them, they broke down crying, saying it was the very first time they had ever had the missionaries in their home and felt the Spirit so strongly. They were having some troubles and had prayed to Father in Heaven to know that He was mindful of them and ziiiiiiiing, we showed up. AGAIN, His love is manifested in soo many different ways. I love being guided by the Spirit. 
(the kid in the red is Michael Esteven)

Being princesses with the Relief Society president's kids.

I've been looking through all my study journals and I think that one of the many things that I have been able to learn more about is found in ETHER 12:27, basically my mission motto:

¨And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my graceis sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.¨

(I LOVE THIS ARTICLE by the way, ) 

Machete swaqqqq

THE ZONAAAAAA with Pres and Hna Richardson :) on Weds. 

Kinda crazy how when we come to the Lord, He shows us our weaknesses, but it's totally for a reason. I was talking with Hna (Sis) Ricahrdson about all this, and we think that we probably have a LOT more to do with our weaknesses than we think. I personally think (and this isn't doctrine or anything, it's just something I've thought since I was 14-15 yrs old in Mia Maids) that we may have sat down with Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to see what we wanted to accomplish out here on Earth. I bet I wanted more patience, so I have had MANY opportunities to build that up. Or discipline, or self control, or obedience, or charity, or knowledge, or any and every Christlike attribute. 
They brought real live bunnies for one of their trainings.
Hhahhehehehohoho. So dynamic.

We are given the divine opportunities to DEVELOP the habits and skills to overcome certain weaknesses... It's so we can become STRONG in Him, and also, I think that it also helps us rely more on the Atonement. Christ is HERE for us. Here. Like this vid that makes me tear up every time, ... He is here. I know that when we suck it up and become mansos, humildes, and sumisos a la voluntad de Dios, He BLESSES US with strength. We can become a masterpiece with Him! If not, we are just a smudge in our own strength. I testify my little heart out that Christ is my best. friend. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have had and will continue to have, of seeing my weaknesses, because it helps me get better. Yes, it's hard. Picking up and moving granite to build a strong and immovable structure is hard work! You sweat, you feel like you wanna give up. But you don't, and then you've got a ROCK solid testimony. 

SNOW ON THE MOUNTAAAAINNNN.  It was cold this week. 
This montaña is called Cotacachi.

I sleep with my placa (name tag) on :))))))))

WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, I hope that all y'all have a wonderful week. The Church is true, the book is blueeeeeeeee! 
READ The Book of Mormon EVERY DAY AND IT WILL BLESS YOUR LIFE, Y'ALL. I promise promise promise :) There are nuggets of gold in every page :) Pray and ask God if it's true. Do it, do it!
Con amor (With love),
Hermana (Sister) Lauren Michelle Bowman

Apr 15, 2015

:) hashtag perseverance

Hello fam-o-lee,

EL CORAZON de Imbabura - it's pretty tight.  There's a heart on that volcano. There's also a legend but it's too long to type, heh.  I can see all three of my sectors I've had in Otavalo. I can see Peguche, Quinchuquí, and Otavalo, and I'm in Cotama. It's pretty cool. 

Well, this week was like a rollercoaster. I am getting used to the sector and getting to know all of the people, all the leaders and whatnot. We contacted almost 150 people trying to find new people to teach. We found 3 families and are teaching 2 from before but none of them came to church. We even did divisions to go pick them up. But, that's life. 

We'll just keep working hard this coming week :) hashtag perseverance. We only have like 2 less actives to work with but they don't really want anything to do with us, or just aren't ever home. On Sunday I asked to have the directorio de miembros (member directory), lista de acción (action list), lista de liderazgo (leader list), 20 direcciones desconocidas, (unknown addresses) and the list of the converts in the last 3 years. It's been good. I am trying to do my best in this sector, I feel I need to apply all the things that I have learned up until now. NO PRESSUREEEE.

This is my new sector.

I have been reading big chunks of the Book of Mormon every day. It's like windows to heaven, I love it so much. I feel like every time I read, I learn so much more and my testimony deepens. Multiple times I have just felt the biggest desire to have the people we teach and contact to REEEADD IT! Just read it! Read it and they will find so much joy! It's something you can't really even explain so you just have to testify your little heart out. There's lots of stuff from my studies I wish I could share witchall. I was reading in 3rd Nephi this week and WOW. It's just so incredible to picture yourself among those in the multitude, no? 

Sindy was baptized this week and I was blessed to go since it's close by :) And Hna. (Sis.) Pérez got to go too! Hahha and a ton of missionaries from our zone were there to support as well, because they heard about her every week for three months and were all super stoked about her decision! It was so incredible, y'all. The night before, I was looking through my two agendas from when we started to teach her. I read my journal toooo. She was deffff our milagro de marzo (Miracle of March). She had a tough situation with her parents but she had really gone through the process of faith, repentance, and now, baptism.

I've seen her faith grow as she has applied and experimented with the Gospel like it says in the book of Alma. I think that it really clicked for her when we taught about the Plan of Salvation, it gave her a lot of surety and she was able to really feel our Heavenly Father and Savior's love when she found out that there was life before this and there will be life after.

I remember one thing that really stood out to me, that she said Mormons are happy, and that she wanted to be happy too! She always wanted to know how, and would ask her brother (who is less active and was baptized three years ago) but he didn't give her the answers she was looking for. Elder Leal, our District leader, let us know that in her interview she said that God had answered her prayers when we started to teach her, she found the answers she had longed for. It was her time!

There is no bigger joy than that of being the instrument to bring one to this happiness. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARYYYYYYYYY.

At the Zone Meeting this past week, I found out I have even more "children" (meaning people that I helped to train)!!! A son, and a step son! 2 daughters, and a stepdaughter - muahahha - so weird. You know you're old in the mission when you have descendants (idk how to even spell that word).

K-well, y'all should email me and tell me which talk y'all liked the best from conf conf! :)
LOVE ALL Y'ALL, you are continually in my prayers :)


Con amor (with love),
Hermana (Sister) Bowman 

PS I MET A KID NAMED MICHAEL STEPHEN!!!!!!! Shout out to my brother Michael boyyyyyyyyy. 

Apr 6, 2015

boom, boom, boom, marriage, family, marriage, marriage, marriage aaaaaaand then some MORE marriage.

Bueeeeenas tardes (good afternoon), y'all!

Chillin' with my converts! The Amaguaña fambam, love them so much :) Hna. Salas was chilling with us in a trio last night since her comp, our dear Hermana Deveraux finished her mish yesterday, hence her appearance in the pic. :) 

Sorry my letters are usually just like a word vomit onto the keyboard and sometimes my sentences don't make any sense. I was reading some letters I've sent home and I was just sitting there like, ¨HOW do people even ever understand me??!¨ Or maybe y'all don´t, heh. :) ANNYWAAAAYS...
WOWOOWOWOOWOWOW: I AM SPEECHLESS FROM CONFERENCE. It blew me away. As I was sitting and listening to the MoTab sing before the beginning of the Saturday sesh, I was just filled with gratitude that we have a modern prophet, a LIVING prophet. So incredible, and it is honestly a privelege to sustain him. 

I feel WAAAY more grateful for the Restoration ever since I got out on my mission. I didn't really get why it was so important before, but now, more than ever, I understand that GOD LOVES US. And that He is continually reaching out through His servants, we are NEVER left without light or guidance in these latter days :) The Church is true, my friends.

Conference was just so edifying, I was in heaven. Every single talk was just tailor made for me. I have been trying to pick which one could be my favorite, but I can't. Main topics: adversity, Atonement, compassion, missionary work, sharing testimonies unapologetically yet with class, courage, covenants, family, Holy Ghost, home, Jesus Christ, marriage, motherhood, PLAN OF SALVATION, truth, unity. 

I loved Uchtdorf´s talk on GRACE. I think that that may be one of my favorite subjects, I really didn't understand it before, and I'm still learning to grasp the concept. But I really do stand all amazed that God's plan is just so perfect and that Christ is TRULY our Savior and Redeemer. 

As I have been reading the Book of Mormon (I'm trying to squeeze in reading it one more time) the Plan of Salvation has really jumped out at me, it actually has every time I've read the Book of Mormon out here on the mission. But this time in particular, I am GETTING TO KNOW Christ. Not about Him, but HIM

I LOVE THE CABASCANGO FAMILY! AHHHHHW they are my absolute fave. They are the miracle of my mission. If you watch the Robles fam story in the "Preach My Gospel -  The District 2" videos, their story is almost the exact same :) AHHH I love them. They came to conference and we set goals last night with them. They are stoked for the temple and fam history work, and just everything! Idk if I told y'all that Cristina has a calling now, she is the Relief Society teacher. It's so amazing to see everyone grow in the Gospel. :) 

I am understanding how much our Father in Heaven loves and cares and desires that EACH one of us gets back to His presence. I understand more fully that it is dependant on our actions, on our Free Agency, on our faith that leads us to a sincere repentance, obedience and saving ordinances. I love the Book of Mormon. I get it now! And I am sharing that with others, it causes my testifying, even in contacts, to be much stronger. 

ALL of Saturday was like boom, boom, boom, marriage, family, marriage, marriage, marriage aaaaaaand then some MORE marriage. Families truly are so central to our Father in Heaven's plan, it's blatantly obvious. I love that the Church is centered on this, coupled with our Savior's Atonement. 

And then Sunday was all about coming back and reaching out to those who are wandering. I am still trying to pick out which one is my fave and it's pretty much impossible, because each talk spoooookeeee to my heeeeart! 

Well, wow! We got the changes last night (THE LAST TIME I WILL EVER GET THEM, odd) aaaaannnnnnnd, druummmrooollllllll, they closed our sector of Otavalo 1! So cray. So basically, Hermana (Sister) Salas and her "kid" (she's gonna train. Fresh outta her first twelve weeks! Like me! ha!) are gunna take over and there will just be one compañerismo in the ward. It was such a suprise. I totally trust it's the Lord's will though! I know that Hermana Salas and her hijita (little "daughter" trainee) will take very good care of our converts and less actives and investigators. 

My hija ("daughter" or trainee) numba 3! Hermana Silva from Cochabamba Bolivia.

Y'all, I am SO grateful for this work! I'm tearing up as I type because my heart is just overflowing with LOVE for all the people that I am leaving behind in Otavalo. My new comp is Hermana Silva, age 21, from Bolivia... she's been here from 6 weeks, and I'm gonnna finish up her last 6 weeks of the 12 week training. I am gonna be her "stepmother" -- muahahah. She is SO sweet! I love her enthusiasm for the work already. 

Super excited to work really hard in Cotama as well (which is literally right next door, like 10 mins away, yet it's a different stake. They don't call it Utah-valo for nothin'), so excited to just hit it hard and work my tail off. 

I am SOSOOSOSOS GRATEFUL to finish in Otavalo! I will have a YEAR here in Otavalo. Honestly my favorite place ever. There is such a special spirit here. I know that the promises in the Book of Mormon really do come to life here. 

This was right before conference on Saturday morning after she passed her baptismal interview :) 

Something I have noticed in myself in the past 6 months or so, is that I don't teach apologetically anymore, I used to be like, "Wellllll, if you reeeaally quizás (maybe) waaaaant the blessings, then I guueeesss you can keep the Sabbath day holy (or any other commandment)." But now, I think as a result of my OWN conversion building, and great trainings from our leaders, and practice, and genuine love and concern and care for my brothers and sisters I teach, and a greater understanding of my calling as a missionary, I am able to teach directly, with LOVE, and in a way that I can use the power and authority I have. IT'S SO INCREDIBLE. It makes all the difference. Yay progress, yay.

I woke up on Easter morning and was very pensative. I was pondering on my gratitude and my testimony of Christ. I wrote it all down in my journal, and I was just filled up with the sweetest peace and overwhelming feeling of love. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that Christ knows us and loves us. He is risen. 


Apply conference! That's the most important part! Set three goals to achieve before October 2015! (Mine is to get married. HAHAHH TOTALLLYYY JUST KIDDING. K bai)

Con muchísimo amor (with a whole lot of love), 
Hermana (Sister) Bowman 

Apr 1, 2015

I hit and broke the water pipe...

fave fam on the planet

Well it's official. Today I got my trunky paper (the paper where you hafta fill out all your personal info for the flight plans and whatnot.......) WHAT THE HECK - nonononono. Literally never thought this moment would come. 

We had a cool little miracle. During my first cambio (transfer) in the mission, while I was in Peguche (LIKE 16 months ago....), we found a cool lady and her two kiddos. Maryuri, Miguel Angel, and Corina. It was a miracle how we found them. When we were on the bus earlier that day, they had seen us and were wondering about who we were and stuff but we didn't get the chance to contact them. Then, that evening, we helped them with their bags 'cuz we saw them on the street and then taught them the Restoration in their home. The three of them came to church that Sunday! When we went back to visit them later that week, they were moving to Otavalo. We lost contact. 

THEN, last week, WE SAW THEM AGAIN! I have no idea how I remembered Maryuri's name (the Spirit) it was really awesome! She said that she was spiritually hungry and wanted to get closer to God. We have taught them and the kiddos accepted fecha (date for baptism). She's not married. They had a tour with the primary President and they came to church this Sunday! It was great. She came to the Women's Conference and said it was exactly what she was needing and felt that GOD was speaking to her. She has also been reading the Book or Mormon. It's so beautiful to see her conversion begin to bloom. I can really tell that the Lord is mindful of each of us. She's been fighting a lot with her partner and she thinks that she's going to go back to Colombia. Before, I would have been kinda sad because I wouldn't be the one baptizing her, but now I JUST WANT HER TO BE CONVERTED! I want to see her apply the Gospel to her life, and I want her to be happy with her kids. I want her to find God. :)

Sindy's baptism will be the 11th, con fe (with faith). She's super stoked about everything and really sure that THAT specific date is perfect for her. I´m so happy! Our prayers have been answered. We´ve been teaching her since January and there have been lots of speed bumps, but she's becoming truly converted. I am so proud of her. Long story short, she's chosing the Gospel over her family. She is SUCH a good example. Dang, I look up to her. Please pray for her if y'all can! :) 

We dug a ditch this week at a member´s house with a bunch of Elders (I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE SERVICE PROJECTS!) It's so fun to roll around in the mud and serve and get free corn-on-the-cob from the members.  I hit and broke the water pipe... Typical Hermana Bowman move -- hahahaha, oops.

We also served at the local hospital taking food to all the patients. So fun. We got to see the little babies that were like 3 days old! LITTLE BUNDLES OF ANGELIC JOY STRAIGHT FROM HEAVEN! Ahhhhh, so cute. All the people were sooo nice to us! I wish everyone was always like that, ha. No one shut the door in our face:) Why? Because we had food. Maybe we will go tracting and contact people with food. Manna! Hahahaha, okay no, sorry sorry.

We've got a lot of investigators we have been teaching and we have great lessons with them but it's kinda tough for them to keep commitments, which makes it tough for them to actually progress. But we've got some progressing. I think that I'm gonna get transferred out of this ward on Sunday. It's just a guess though. I've never stayed in a ward for more than three transfers and if I stay, this would be my fourth. BUT we shall see what happens. It's all the Lord's will, ya knooooow?

I found a great little nugget of sunshine in my personal study yesterday, Alma 40:25, ¨And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God.¨ I've been thinking lots about how obedience makes us glow. Glow with faith, glow with confidence, glow with the Spirit. There was a phrase in one of the musical numbers of the Womens sesh of Conference, "We love Thy law, We will obey." I just love that. I testify that blessings and happiness come as we are obedient and righteous. :) 

SO STOKED FOR CONFERENCEEEE! I want all y'all to let me know what y'alls fave talk is! Lemme know, lemme knowww! :)

Remember who yall are and always make good choices! ¨Decisions determine destiny¨ -the prophet

Con MUCHISIMOOOOO amor (With a WHOLLLLLE lots of love,) 

Hermana (Sister) Bowman