Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 17, 2014

Hey Mom/Dad-

So, a lot has been going on lately.  I had a talk with president and he told me that I'm being transferred and I'm going to be put with someone who is struggling with obedience.  And he wants me to help this Elder out to be obedient.  He asked me if I could be able to step up and set the example of obedience and honestly, I'm pretty scared.  I really don't know if I'm ready to do that because I know how I am and I know how quick I am to mess up and go back.  All my life it seems like every time something came up to do the wrong thing, even though I know it's wrong, I'm totally down.  And yes, it's extremely stupid, but true.  Even though I know what's right, I seem to deliberately choose the wrong.  Even on my mission, I've done things that I didn't even do at home and I'm so ashamed and angry at myself for doing.  But one thing I'm learning on my mission is the power to change.  Not only investigators, but especially myself.  The Atonement is real and it works.  But, I'm afraid that given the opportunity to be disobedient , I might take it because even with the Zone leaders, i wasn't the best I should have been.  I want to be better and I want to be obedient.  I don't know if I'm ready to help someone else be obedient when I'm still struggling with it.  I don't know.  I'm so confused.  I really don't want to go back to the way I was and I'm so afraid that given the chance, especially with someone else who struggles with obedience, I feel I might go right back into that mess.  President seems to trust me and he's inspired, so I guess the Lord trusts me too.  I just don't trust myself.  No, I haven't been the best missionary I can be.  I want to be but I'm not there yet, so I'll be doing a lot of fasting and praying.  I need help...bad!

Thank you so much for your last letters from FHE.  They made me so happy and once again came at the perfect time.  I love it.  It's been a pretty good week, though.  I've been in a really good mood.  Still a little rough with Elder Gonzalez, only a few more days though.  Transfers are on the 22nd.  So don't send anything here.  It's been nice to look over the transfer and see how far I've come.  It went by fast.  It's crazy.  Pretty soon, I'll hit a year and Derrek will be coming home.  Crazy!  It all goes by so quickly.  It's nuts.  This transfer has been really good for me though.  Tons of praying and fasting and my testimony has grown so much.  I'm so much of a better missionary than I was before all this.  They always say the most important conversion is your own and I really see that.  I've really grown to love this gospel and I appreciate it so much more in my life now more than ever.  Especially going into so many homes that don't have it and teaching and bearing witness of it has grown my testimony so much.  I love my mission mostly right now for the change I see in myself and how much better I am because of it.  As soon as I get myself all figured out, then I'm gonna help everyone!  It really helped me to remember that I chose to be out here.  I knew there would be things for me to give up and things for me to start doing.  Because of that choice to come out.  Some of my other choices may be limited, same with bad choices...go to jail.  Choices are limited because of one choice.  But, I chose to be here.  Might as well live up to that and be here for the right reasons.  Thanks for all you do for me.  I love you with all my heart.  You are the best parents anyone could ask for.  Miss you tons!

Elder Bowler

PS - you should know how much our mission quotes "Nacho Libre".  It's crazy!  Reminds me of home.

March 31, 2014

I just got your second letter today and thank you so much for that.  I am so excited for General Conference.  I can't wait and I'll do what you said with the questions and the prayer.  I love listening to them speak.  Sorry to hear about the kittens and jury duty.  Life's rough.  The area is good.  It's pretty ghetto.  Being in a Branch is interesting.  We have so many people to see , there's just not enough time and it's already split into two areas.  But, no one comes to church .  Hard sometimes because in the ghetto there is so much evil that we see and hear.  It's so hard to see and you know the message we share will bless their lives and make them truly happy, but nothing seems to change.  Also hard.  planting sees is nice, but when we're called to do the harvesting, it does get discouraging.  But, there are so many great people who are so prepared for the gospel, it's amazing to see.  Today has been really good.  I've really seen the blessings of fasting to help me have clean thoughts and stay in a good place to be a good missionary and a good person.  It has been really good lately and I owe it all to the Lord.  He has helped me out so much.  The past few weeks truly have been a refiner's fire for me and though it's still hard, I truly feel the Lord changing me.  I just want it to be for good.  I'm scared that I might easily fall back to my old ways.  It's scary for me.  

Yes, I got Wendy's package and I wrote her a letter.  I got the shirt stays, but they don't really work.  The clasps on them don't hold well at all, so I don't know what you want me to do.  I'm praying for Calvin, though.  I think about him and worry about him all the time.  I've seen the evil and pain that that path leads to.  I've talked to so many people like that and I really don't want him to go through the same things.  It kills me to see people go through that.  Let alone, my own brother!  Many tears and prayers for him.  I love him more than he'll ever know but I also know that he has agency.  He has to go through this to learn and yeah, it's hard and sad to watch, but I love him and that's all I can do right now. 

Apparently we are getting iPads in April.  Everyone gets their own and when you're done with your mission, you get to keep them.  I don't know how it's gonna work, but I'm guessing it's gonna be highly regulated and any misuse will get them taken away.  Also, I don't know how the people of Colorado will take it.  We drive nice cars (we got a brand new 2014 Corolla), we dress all fancy and now we have iPads?!?  Especially here in the ghetto parts of the mission where most everyone can barely afford food and we bring in this iPad.  I don't know.  I just think some people won't like that very much.  Makes us look like spoiled rich kids.  But on the plus side, it would be so nice ot have it during a lesson and pull out videos and what-not.  And I'm sure the first few months will be the worst of it.  Just like getting anything new, everyone is gonna freak out for the first little bit (me included!).  Then the excitement will eventually die down and maybe rise a little each time new missionaries come and get iPads.  Man, blessings of serving a mission.  Things are going good though and getting better.  Thanks again for all the support and love I've received in the past couple weeks.  I've really needed it and it has helped more than you'll know.

Love ya,
Elder Bowler #2

PS- Just a couple of things I want to ask about
1.  Do I have one of those missionary plaques?  Cuz I see them all the time and was told that you just have to ask the Bishop, but I'd like one and idk if I even get one.
2.  I'm out of extra contacts and missionary insurance doesn't cover it.  I can last for a while with the ones I have in and I still have those glasses but yeah.
3.  could you also send a bunch more pictures like you did in the last package.  I like to hang them on my wall.

March 30, 2014

Hey Everyone,

I'll start out the letter by saying that it was a really rough week.  You can decide if you wanna keep reading.  But first before I start, the sd

card I included is completely full so if you would be so kind as to putting it all on a computer and take it off the card, then maybe put more pictures and stuff from home for me to look at.  It would be greatly appreciated.  Alright, back to the letter.  So starting off Monday not being able to email was so hard for me.  it's like my support for the week and going a couple weeks without it has been killing me.  So the whole week was pretty rough because of that.  Then Monday I was horribly sick and that carried on for a little bit.  And I've been struggling really bad with myself and bad habits and messing up and I talked to President about it and along with the rough week, it's been super hard and discouraging and I've felt extremely inadequate with myself and not having the spirit with me as a missionary is hard.  So yeah, rough week.  Ok, enough of that, now for all the good/funny/cool stuff...

Here is my side of the room and our study set up with my comps.
So last Sunday we were talking with a ten year old kid named Zack who is actually supposed to be baptized soon and as we were talking, he stopped and asked "why, when I look at you guys is there a white light surrounding your bodies, every time I see you there's this white light around you that's different from everything else".  I got all teary eyed because it was a rough day for me.  Helped me know that God loves me and makes me wanna be better because of all the people watching me as a missionary especially kids.  Josh Beecher wrote me a really good letter that seemed to come at the perfect time.  Another thing that makes me laugh is just some of the people we come across.  Like, we were at Wal-mart and this guy looked at me and looked at my tag and yelled "Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!"  It was pretty funny.  We come across a lot of interesting people and people think we're weird.  We come across a lot of drunks and people that are high.  It's great.  The week has been pretty cool, though.  One night, I was praying really hard, struggling from not emailing and telling the Lord how much I need to hear from family and the next day I got your letter.  Just another way of God showing me that He loves me :).  This week has been one of a lot of struggles but also a lot of change and improvement of myself.  I've come to know the power of fasting and prayer.  I've grown so much closer to my Savior and my Father in Heaven, learning to be patient with myself with my weaknesses and mistakes, which has been so hard especially for me.  Messing up a lot, I get mad at myself and discouraged, so being patient with myself has really helped me out this week.  Also, striving to worry less about myself and more about the people I'm serving.  It's crazy sometimes because we as missionaries get so involved in these people's lives and being a tool in the Lord's hands.  It's really humbling sometimes because something cool will happen and I'll think to myself "why would the Lord choose me to have something like that happen?!?" because I never felt worthy enough to deserve miracles and blessings.  But, I've come to know how much Heavenly Father loves me personally and it's been a rough but amazing process for me to come to know that.  I love it.  I love the ever present possibility of change.  I can always change and better myself and who I am.  It's helped me to realize what is truly important to me in my life.

Just want you guys to know how much I love you guys and appreciate all the help and support I have received.  It has made a world of difference to me and my own journey.  I wouldn't be where I am at today without everyone in my life and the example they've set.  I love youse (ghetto Denver talk...hahaha!) guys.  Miss ya tons.  Keep writing and sending stuff, please!  I love it!

Love Elder Bowler