Monday, October 27, 2014

I like miracles... and I lack creativity

Hello All!

So our Zone has been doing something called the War Games. Each district is a 'band' and we have all these challenges to do. It was really fun because each day we all prayed for one companionship in our Zone! We also had a super finding day again and we got an update whenever someone completed a challenge. Our zone is into hash-tagging, so it is always interesting! Its like having Facebook again, we got updates all week on the amazing miracles that are happening all over our zone!!

When the zone was praying for us, we had a really cool miracle!! We found a vending machine that dispenses warm baguettes!!! for only a euro!!! so cool!! Slightly more cool... I swear I think about more than food... we had 10 minutes before a rdv with a member. And we wanted to have a lesson, so we prayed and started searching for someone. We literally saw no people... finally we saw this lady in the distance to our left. We started walking towards her when our member came out of nowhere and beckoned us over to the right. Aw!!! Decisions!! We ran away from the member to contact the lady. One problem, she speaks only Spanish. Somehow, we manage to give her a lesson in some combination of Spanish, English, and French. I feel really cool when I say the name of the church in Spanish... I can only say part of it and they usually finish it for me :) The lady said a prayer at the end of our rdv. Our member just walked by, winked at us and waited for us to be done :)

So... coolest miracle of my mission!!! YES COOLEST MIRACLE OF MY MISSION!! So, at the beginning of my mission, I wanted to find a Philipino family because Brandi left some random philipino church DVDs in the stack of DVDs that she gave me. Three transfers ago, with Soeur Hall, we were setting goals and I said ''lets find a Philipino family to teach!'' So that became our transfer goal. We even hung up a fake Philipino family on our member wall to inspire us. 

With Sister Hall, one day we walked past an Asian family and tried to contact them, but they couldnt understand us. I really thought it was them and was kinda sad. On Thursday, we were heading home for dinner, and I saw the same family sitting at a bus stop--the same place we met them before. We walked passed them, but I just turned around and went back and Sister Wallace started talking to the mom. It was unbearably awkward at first and she was a little afraid of us. We talked about prayer and I asked if they pray as a family... I never ask that question... but they do!! morning and night!! wow!!! 

Then she saw our tags.... she said, ''I've seen that plaque before on a building. I always see people going in the building and I've always wanted to go, but I am too shy to go by myself.'' Turns out the building is our church!!!!!! She asked us if we were English. Nope American. and you?................ ''I'm from the Philippines.'' WHAT?!?!? No!!! I almost started to cry. Sister Wallace did start to cry!!! I told her that my sister was a missionary there and then we got her number and we're going to meet them soon. Her name is Salumé... at least that is how it sounds :) I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY!!!

I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. Even our random desires, He hears, and He gives us the righteous desires of our hearts. That reality has been impressed upon my soul!!! I will never forget it! So, if you find yourself in need of something, PRAY!!! And then do all you can to be the best you can and be PATIENT!! My prayer wasn't answered until 6 weeks before the end of my mission. But that doesn't matter because it was answered!!! Heavenly Father loves us and as Elder Uchtdorf says ''He wants us to know that we matter to Him!''

Life is good. I've completely lost my voice... that has been fun and has made it exceptionally hard to be a missionary. ça va! 

Quick miracle: Sister Wallace and I have made goals to talk to more people. We stopped this super cute French Family (they scare us the most for some reason) and it turns out that the dad has friends in California and has been to the temple in LA. He hasn't joined the church yet because he know its a ''family thing'' and his wife isn't really religious. He looked so happy that we stopped and talked to them. Hurrah!!

That's all
love you
Sister Bowman

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Five thousand bananas

Not sure where the title came from, but she did ask for a banana bread recipe!.....

So... the universe was bent on us not having lessons this week. We made a very detailed plan of how to get 20 lessons. By the end of the week, half of the plans had fallen through...But that is OK. We got 8 lessons!!! Even with a lot of lame circumstances that ruined our plans, we managed to come out on top!! Life is good! We will get 20 lessons!!!!!

I just want to talk about one thing that happened last night. We were talking to a Muslim man and he was sharing with us that he believed that Jesus Christ was just a prophet--that he taught nice things, but nothing more. We had the opportunity to testify to him of who Jesus Christ really is. We told him that Christ taught really good things, just like all the other prophets, but He also suffered for every single one of our sins and pains and sorrows so that we would not have to suffer. We told him about all the things that are possible for us through Jesus Christ. I don't know if it did anything for him, but my faith in the Savior was strengthened. I know that Christ suffered for all of us and because of Him we can become better and stronger.

I'm in a random story mood. Sorry. So Tuesday, after a really unfortunate thing happened, we were a little down. So we decided to cheer ourselves up we would make cookies for two member families that have really helped us and write them nice thank you notes. One the way to their house, I decided that we were going to leave the cookies and run. It was a really complicated procedure. To get to this member's front door, we had to walk all the way around their house which has giant windows all in the front. Then we had to open a really old gate and sneak into their patio. We got that far by running, hunched over, along the fence. Then as a good trainer, I shoved Sister Wallace in the gate and made her put the cookies by their door. The door was open so she got down on all fours and slowly pushed the cookies in front of the door. Then we ran!!! It was so fun!! I dont think that this is done in France because the member was really confused why we just left the cookies instead of knocking. It was the most fun we had all week though.

We bought this new game called doggle. We use it for family home evenings and it is so fun!! it softens people's hearts and makes people love us. It is a magic tool :)

I went on an exchange with a Sister who is Ukrainian. We went to visit our Latvian recent convert and she taught them a lesson in Russian. It was really cool. I played with the kids and added my testimony in French on occasion. They were so happy to hear Russian.

Levi is doing well. He is now being taught by the Elders. He is so prepared. They taught him the law of tithing on Monday, and he brought money to church. They explained that he couldn't pay tithing until he was baptized, but he insisted. They put the money in the missionary fund or something. He is so determined to keep the commandments. He is going to work towards getting married so that he can keep the law of chastity :) YES!!!

Life is good in Bayonne. I had a scary thought I have 7 weeks left in my mission! Aw!!! that is crazy!!

I love you all!!

Sister Bowman

In memory of...

So our mission goal is to have 20 lessons a week. That is crazy!! SO SO crazy!!! But we're kinda doing it! All over the mission people are teaching double, triple what they are teaching before!!! It's amazing.

Elder Ballard when he came blessed us that we would teach with more power, so President raised the standard of lessons taught each week!

So this week we had like 11 lessons. Usually we have like 5. Last week, we had 1. All of the lessons were total miracles!!

So after a long day of contacting, we were a little depressed. We sat down on a bench and felt bad for ourselves for a little bit. Why do we have to walk around hunting for people to talk to us? Why can't we just show up to members houses and meet their friends?!? If this is the church of Jesus Christ, why are things not going better. We thought of Elder Holland's talk about Missionary work and the Atonement and how we are not the first one's to ask if there is an easier way. Someone once said that feeding the missionaries isnt missionary work! there are no missionaries starving in the world, but there are missionaries that are starving to teach!!! We were literally starving to teach someone about the gospel, someone who would listen and someone we could help!!!

Finally stood up and went off to visit a less active member who is starting to come back to church. We show up and her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend are there. Not members. The sister warns them to be nice to us, and I prepare myself to get persecuted! :) But we weren't persecuted!! Actually they just started asking questions and we casually taught them the entire Restoration and Plan of Salvation in just a common conversation! they were so interested. We gave them a Book of Mormon after and they were excited to read it!! The whole thing was so casual and normal. it was wonderful!!

next day, same thing. We had no success contacting all day. Then we go to a less actives and end up teaching a friend who is there. We set a rdv to meet her again with the member!!!

Life is great!!! God answers prayers. Maybe these little events seem like not a big deal, but to a missionary in France they are a precious, rare, beautiful BIG deal!!!

This Saturday, our entire Zone prayed together to get 50 lessons in the day. We prayed every hour and got miracle updates every couple of minutes. it was so fun. We walked out of our house to go to a rdv at 9 and we had a lesson with the first man that we met (well the first lady we met was crazy and sang us Elvis Presley because we are American...) We got the first lesson of the day, moments after the entire zone prayed. At the end of the day we had 48 lessons!!!! :) crazy miracles!! 
Title of Baptistry

Our mission president made us all rend shirts... like Captain Moroni style. Its harder than you think... Moroni must've been super strong. We had to use scissors. We wrote on it our ''title of baptistry!!'' 

Oh wait!!! the best part of the week!!! Zone conference. We studied the preparation of Ammon and his brothers before their mission to the Lamanites. It said that they were blessed before they left. So all the Elders gave priesthood blessings to all the sisters, then to each other, and everyone got a blessing. It was such a special experience. the power of the priesthood is so real. The elder who gave me my blessing didnt know me at all. I know the words that he said came straight from God. I havent received a blessing my entire mission and I really really was needing one. I didnt know who to ask. I am thankful that heavenly Father provided a way for me to get a blessing!!

So... I love my mission. I love that Heavenly Father answers our prayers!! I love you guys!!!

I love not spell checking my letters... i love people who dont judge my grammar!!! have a good week all you lovely people!!

Sister Bowman

Monday, September 29, 2014

Best week ever!! Staying in Bayonne

so... no time to really explain, but here's the letter I sent to president:

Hello President!!!
So things are going great in Bayonne! My lovely companion suggested that we should fast this week. We decided to fast for three things 1. Sister Wallace's french 2. my social skills( yes, it merits much fasting and prayer) and 3. our ami Levi. By the end of the week, Sister Wallace finally realized that her french is awesome; I don't feel awkward with the members anymore; and Levi has a baptismal date!

Actually, yesterday was one of the greatest days of my mission. Our ami Levi came to church for the first time. A recent convert (who is now his best friend) picked him up. He came in a white shirt and tie and started introducing himself to all the members. The members were so nice to him!!! All the talks and lessons weren't weird! We got to do our missionary minute about Levi and now the whole relief society loves him. The sister giving the lesson got up and double testified to our missionary minute and confirmed that Levi was really prepared and sincere. She then gave a lesson about missionary work. The same sister invited Levi over for a Soirée Familiale Tuesday. After Relief Society, we found Levi talking to a member who was going to give him a bike so that he wouldn't have to walk to church. This member invited us over for dinner that night, with Levi. Then Levi left with his best friend and a member family to eat lunch with them, and we went to ward council to tell all the church leadership about Levi's baptismal date for the end of November. Not bad for a first Sunday!! 

I think the ward was just saving up all of their love until we brought an investigator to church. So... all is well in Bayonne. Thanks to Levi. He is so cool President! He said something yesterday that just blew me away and reminded me of you. He called us to ask where the 10 commandments were in the Bible. We told him and he said something like, I don't know all the commandments by heart, but I think it all comes down to love. If we love God and our neighbor, we will always keep the commandments! So cool!

I hope that I will be able to see him be baptized. Five of the people that I've taught have been baptized and I have not been present for any of them. I'm still so happy for them, but I also would really like to SEE a baptism. 

All is well. Sister Wallace is still great and wonderful. I​ love her and am excited that she can rub off on me for 6 more weeks.

Love you!!

Sister Bowman

Monday, September 22, 2014

Le pont du Saint Esprit

This is the best bridge ever. It is called the Holy Ghost Bridge!!! We met two really cool people on this bridge this week. 

Levi- he is like 25 and is super nice and just moved here and is looking for a church to go to. No problem, we can help you with that! He came to church for a church tour. We showed him around with a couple members. When we showed him the baptismal font, he asked when the next baptism was because he really wanted to see one!! I wanted to say, ''well, we just need a volunteer...'' but i didn't. He didn't come to church as promised. We were really sad, but we're going to keep working with him. His mom is from Martinique and his dad is American.

Speaking of Martinique, my friend Jacqueline from Aix-en-Provence (one of the two people who Sister Russell and I found during our 3 month contacting period...) is getting baptized on Saturday!!!!!!!!!! I've never been so happy. She is so cool, and she still writes me! Hurrah!!

Marta - she is in her 30s and is from Portugal. She just moved to France a year ago to 'start a new life'. Her father died when she was 13 which made her stop believing in God. But recently, she's started to believe in him again. And then she bumps into us on the Holy Ghost Bridge. The spirit was so strong when we were talking to her. We were saying essentially the same things that we say to everyone who gives us a second to talk. But when we spoke with her, I felt like she was literally eating up our words. I felt like she was 100 percent listening to what we had to tell her. She is special. I don't remember ever feeling something like this before on my mission! will keep you updated with her. 

One more things, a less active who told me at church that she didn't like me... yes, to my face... let us come over. We had a great rdv and she told us about how she has a goal to go to the temple by the end of the year! So excited for her! 

Other than that. Life is good! We had to give a talk. It was for three minutes, and we did it together. Went well. We spoke French and read things that prophet said, so... yeah. Good talk! 

One miracle: one day it was so hot and I had a sore throat and basically felt like I was going to die... so I started to pray that a stranger would give us orange juice ( I was thinking about Brandi's cool vending machine miracle). I invited Sister Wallace to join me in my prayers for juice. Well no orange juice came... so hours later, we finally break and go into a store. There was a member family in the store and while we were talking to the wife, the husband comes over and says ''here sisters, I bought this for you'' and hands us a bottle of cranberry juice. That works!!!! Don't anyone ever tell me that God doesn't hear and answer prayers!!! :)

Life is good in France. We're going to the beach today. Unfortunately, its the first rainy day in a long time. Ca fait rien!!! Life is wonderful!! love you all

Sister Bowman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sublime- that's what Sister Wallace decided to call this week :)

This week was good and then really really awful and then wonderfully great!! welcome to being a missionary, or maybe just a human, or maybe just welcome to my life.

Not much time to write today. I started out with a really great attitude this week, and then we hit some challenges that totally overwhelmed me. I would like to say that prayer is the best thing in the world. Heavenly Father very literally removed most of the stress that I had been feeling. And the week ended amazing with the best Sunday of my mission. The details wouldn't really matter to anyone else, but I know that every thing that happened this weekend was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. I know that he is aware of me and He answers my prayers. He'll answer yours too. I'm sure of it.

Best part of the week was seeing Sister Mod!!!! I walked into Zone Conference and there she was. We had no idea that we were going to be at the same conference!!! I literally ran to her and just was the happiest person ever born. I got to be there when she gave her dying testimony. She's the coolest person and has literally changed my life.

Anyway, life is good in France love you all

Sister Bowman

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm getting real good at riding trains

We woke up to go running, went to the door to pray and heard snoring during the prayer. We opened the door to find a homeless man sleeping on our door mat. Of course we freaked out. What do you do when you open your door at 630 in the morning and see a person in the dark hallway. So we stressed out for a while. Then we texted our district leader. His idea was to call the propriataire... the owner person... is that a word in English. His companion suggested finding a creative way to wake him up. So we put our DVD player right next to the front door and blasted this really intense version of Come, Come ye Saints. It woke up all our neighbors, the homeless man stayed snored through it. Our neighbors did nothing, they just tiptoed around him. We opened the door every 30 mins and shined our phone flashlight on him. Nothing. We really needed to get out but he was literally blocking our way. So we gave in and contacted the owner person. They must've taken care of it because by lunch our hall was SDF-free.

We then had to convince a worker at the train station to exchange 10 of our tickets that were all wrong in a different way. We smiled our way through it. Harder than you would think.  

Exchange with Agen sister. I was with Sister Bagley and she is wonderful. We only had like three hours to work with each other, so we saw a member and contacted. 

Sleep over in Bordeaux

Train to Lyon. all day. met a nice old man named Claude. Talked to him on a bench. yep.

Sister Wallace did Visa stuff and all the trainers got to contact together. 

We had this thing with the Paris Mission where we tried to find 1000 people to teach in one day. We found about 400ish. not bad. It was fun. We had to stop every 30 mins and say a prayer for all the missionaries. We met a young Japanese boy who wants to learn more about God and a young French girl who wants to learn English. So fun to be a missionary. 

Train back to Bayonne. All day. Met with a less active member afterwards. Her husband who is not a member came to the door and was playing the mean husband role really well. We just smiled and asked if we could come say hi to his wife and tried to be delightful. An hour later, they loved us. Mostly because Sister Wallace is so endearing. She just has this magic ability to make people like her. She is cool.

Excellent testimony meeting. No awkward silences!!! An American family in our ward invited us over and we have never been so happy!!

After church we did weekly planning and then we contacted a bit. We had a cool conversation with this couple who didn't believe in God. Sister Wallace testified at the end and the spirit was so strong. They felt it. We asked them if they were interested to learn more. They wanted to say yes.... but they said no. Next time. Seed planted!!

life is good in Bayonne. 
love you
Sister Bowman
Beach in Anglet