Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Alright well this week was a good one. I am getting to know my area a lot better and starting to get the hang of things. Since I am in an apartment with all Africans we have ate rice and different stews everynight and my body is not used to that much rice. Needless to say I have been spending a lot of time in our bathroom, morning and night haha. I forgot to tell you about a cool experience we had last Monday Morning. It was 4 in the morning and all of a sudden the other Elders in our apartment were in our room and they said we needed to go out side to give somebody a blessing. I am really confused at what was going on because I was just waking up. Well turns out our second councilor was outside our compound and he needed a priesthood blessing. When we got out there, our second councilor was on the ground in pain just crying. I guess his stomach was doing something weird but he was in so much pain. So we gave him a blessing and right away you could tell that a peace came over him. After they took him to the hospital and he was at church yesterday. IT was a really cool experience. The priesthood is honestly so important and it can do some amazing things. Well this week on Tuesday we had a meeting for the people who are training new missionarys. It was all the way in town and my area banjor is like the farthest away from town so we had to leave like 2 hours early to make sure we would make it through traffic. It was such a good meeting and they told us how important it is to make sure we train our missionarys right because what we teach them now and show them now they will do it the rest of there mission. Really puts the pressure on haha but President Kirkham said something that I really liked. He said that in order for improvement to happen we need change. I really liked that. After that me and Elder Erickson (since we were temporary companions for the day) tried to get a taxi back to his apartment where I was going to pick up Brother Freeman. Well we couldn’t ever pickup a taxi so we ended up walking all the way back in. It literally took us like 2 hours to walk back in. I don’t know how many miles it was, but it was far and it was hot. Well the rest of the week we had a good week. I am really getting to know my area and really well and we have straight up have the beach in our area. We even got to teach a lesson right on the beach. It was the coolest thing. There is a sweet member who lives out there who works with us every time we have been out there so its really sweet. I hope I stay in Banjor for a long time because I am loving it here. It is a lot less busy and just a little more laid back it feels like. In Logan town you always had people around and the houses were super close together but here in Banjor the houses are a lot farther apart and there is like zero traffic and its just really nice. Well I a sweet experience this week. IN our train for trainers meter president Kirkham told us that if an investigator ever had a doubt that we should just pray about it right then. Well we were teaching a group of guys about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this one guy was having some doubts on the first vision. Well we got down and had he pray about it right there and the spirit was there so strong testifying what we were saying was true. It was so sweet and the guy even showed up for church yesterday. I am straight pumped. We had 4 Investigators to church yesterday and all of them said that they loved it and that they were coming back. We had the primary program yesterday to and it just brought me back to my good old primary days haha. It was really good though. Training is going well. Since Brother Freeman is just a branch missionary there are still some things that he doesn’t understand all the way but he is doing really well and he is a sweet guy. He is even teaching me how to cook some Liberian food, so if we have the supplies back home, I am going to be whipping up some nice stew for our rice back home J.
It can be frustrating getting to know a new area and the people we need to teach especially when there are so many people around that you can teach. Honestly our problem here is finding the right people to teach, because anyone here will sit down an listen to you, you just have to find those people who will actually keep commitments and be serious. So at the first of the week I was a little bit stressed about finding the right people but now I feel like we are doing a good job at that and I am not as stressed. Banjor is a lot bigger area than Logan town is to, so we have to plan to go to certain areas on certain days which is different than it was in Logan town to. We have to take Transport some days to because our area is so big but its sweet. So funny story. We were teaching this old lady this week about the plan of salvation. She is a really strong Christian and the lesson was going really good until we got to us dying and going to the spirit world. When we said she was going to die she like started freaking out telling us not to talk about death. Well turns out this lady thinks she is never going to die, like EVER going to die. She thinks that she is going to live forever because she has lived a good life and all she has to do is ask God to make her live forever and she will live forever. Crazy. We sat and argued for a little bit but was getting no where so we left, but she still said she wanted to come to church and all that so we will go back. So we will see how it goes. We taught the Plan of Salvation a lot this week and it really got me thinking about how special and important it is for us. Our time here on the earth is really short, and it means so much to me that we have somewhere we can go after we die and that we can be with our familys there forever. Teaching it really puts a perspective on things though. Makes me really want to do those things that matter why we are here in this life. Anyways just one quick last thing. One of the members we have been going out with always says this when we ask him how the gospel blesses his life. He always says that with the gospel in his the life “The happiness just never stops”. Its true, with the gospel, happiness is always there and it is such a blessing to have in our lifes. Well I hope that you all have a great week. Love you all
Elder Bowring

November 11, 2013 Transfers

Well this week was out of control to say the least. We got transfer news on Thursday night and I am now in a new area with a new companion. The new area where I am going is called Banjor and it is actually the same area that Elder Zaugg served his first 6 months of his mission in so that is really cool. He had a lot of good things to say about it. I am really going to miss all of those Elders in the other apartment, especially Elder Zaugg and Elder Guymon. I got to know them both really well and they are awesome men/missionarys. Luckily I will still be seeing them around. Me and Elder Guymon were both kind of shocked when we heard the news because we thought for sure that we would be staying together. Well he is staying and he is the new district leader which is sweet but I was excited/sad when I heard I was being transferred.   Well the area is white washed which means they took both missionarys out of the area and put 2 new ones in, so this will be very interesting. We get to go out and find all of the people that they were teaching before and get to know the area basically by our selfs. Luckily there are some good members that I met at church yesterday that I think will help us out a lot. My new companion is Brother Freeman, he is a branch missionary and I will be training him this transfer. He got his mission papers turned in so now he is doing this to get ready for a mission. Its so crazy, I am actually training and  I am in charge of somebody else besides myself but it will be a good learning experience.  So we got the transfer news on Thursday night and I got transferred on Saturday morning at 6 in the morning. It was way fast, and I honestly feel like I am new on my mission again because I am in a new compound with new missionarys and a new area with new responsibility’s. Its crazy but I am excited for the opportunity.  Being out here has really helped me deal with change a lot better, it still isn’t easy for me but I am getting better at it. I used to hate change back home and I honestly don’t like it still but it is helping me grow and I can feel that. It was so weird to leave the apartment and to leave Logan Town. Even though I wasn’t there for very long I still got to know some people really well and it was weird to leave it all behind. When we got to Banjor though it was really sweet. The area is a lot more spread out and a lot less busy than Logan Town. Even though im not used to it I like it a lot better. It’s a little more like home even though its still pretty far off haha. Instead of being in an apartment  we are in a compound and I LOVE it. We actually get to go out side and get some fresh air at night and get to actually see the stars. In the compound there are three houses with missionary’s and there are 4 in each one. In mine I have 2 Nigerians and then my companion so I am going to be the only American in my house. Its going to be great, I hear you learn a lot from the African Elders so I am excited. Its pretty sweet to, one of my MTC brothers is in one of the other houses, we flew from New York together and he is from Georgia and he is sweet, so we have been talking a lot the last couple of days. His name is Elder Cooper. In the compound we don’t have running electricity so we get our power from a generator and we only run it from 7 at night to 10 30 and then the rest of the time we don’t have any power, its pretty cool. Well that is basically my week, a lot of change but its exciting. I am excited to get to know the area and to start working and training my new comp. I hope you all have a great week and that everything in B-Town is still crack-a –lakin hahaha (sorry for the ugliness) still haven’t lost it. I love you all very much.
Love Elder Bowring

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm thinking this is when he was teaching the seminary class.

Elder Bowring and Elder Guymon with Branch President and his 3 children that they baptized,
Mary, George, and Hannah

November 4, 2013

Hello once again from Africa. This week was a roller coaster week. It had its ups and its downs for sure.
To start off the week I wasn’t feeling very good. I had a headache and my stomach was doing some weird things so that wasn’t the best. Still went out and worked and everything but my energy level definitely wasn’t there like it usually is. I had my companion give me a blessing on wednesday morning though and throughout that whole day I could feel my strength and energy coming back. It was awesome. I am so thankful for priesthood blessings and I really took them for granted back home to say the least. I should have taken way more advantage of fathers blessings when I could of so im sorry dad for not taking full advantage of that. 
Well on Thursday we had a service project. What it was is that we were digging and getting some sand for a lady who had just built a new house and needed some sand to plaster the outsides. So we had to dig and fill up a wheel barrow and haul to dirt over to the place they needed it. So we dug for a bit and got what we thought we needed but then the lady told us that we needed to get some white sand which is a lot deeper than we were. So we dug the whole a lot deeper and got to the white sand. Well we dug so deep that we had water spewing in and so it was basically like we were digging a well haha. It was pretty fun and Me and Elder Zaugg defintantly went hard. I love service projects but they can be frustrating because some people like to just sit and watch you do all the work but I guess that’s just how it is. So we did that and then we ended going to somebody elses house and removing grass for them which is not easy. So me and Elder Zaugg went hard at that one to while some other missionarys just kind of watched us and some others do it. After wards I was so drained, my energy was just not there but It really felt good to give some service. Another cool experience that happened this week was that the generator wasn’t working at the chapel we do baptisms again so we had to get the water from the well and fill up the baptism font again. This time I ran the wheel barrow and I helped get out water from the well. It was a straight up arm work out doing that. The well was just ground level so we had to get on our hands and knees and get the water in buckets and bring it out. It got to a point that basically our whole upper body was hanging in the hole. It was so fun though, I love doing stuff like that like how many people can say that they had to draw water from a well to fill up there baptism font. Not very many. O the joys of Africa haha.
Another cool experience that happened this week happened the same day as the baptisms. It was our second to last lesson and when the lesson got over there was a truck that had gotten stuck in a little stream by us. Well he was really stuck, It was really muddy so Me and Elder Guymon and two branch missionarys we were with helped him out. We got a bunch of rocks and stuck them under the tires and tried pushing. Everytime we did this we got a little bit closer but we could never get it unstuck. Well finally we got the stupid Forerunner out and when it finally budged it whipped mud everywhere and just blasted all of us. My white shirt had more brown than white on it I was COVERED hahaha it was really funny though. We just got our stuff after and headed to our next lesson and then went home and showered.  It was really cool though because the guy we helped was so thankful. He told us plenty of times while we were there but then he called us again that night and said that he couldn’t stop thinking about why we would stop and help him get his truck unstuck. That was really cool to see some body be so thankful for something like that. We got is number and are going to give it to the missionaryies in the area he stays (of course he isn’t in our area) but i hope that was a little bit of a testimony builder for him.
Well this week was really frustrating for investigators. We had 1 show up for church and it was a kid. I am getting so sick of people not coming to church. The most frustrating part is that they all tell you that they are coming no matter what and then they just don’t show up.  I am to the point that when they tell me something I know the opposite thing is going to happen so I hope my trust isn’t just totally shot when I get home. We didn’t get a chance to sit down with Sensie this week which also was frustrating so I hope we will be able to sit down with him this week. We did get to sit down with Ajavon and Thomas though and I had a really cool experience with Thomas’s lesson. We invited him to keep the word of wisdom last time we visited so we followed up with him on it. He said he hadn’t been drinking any more so I asked him if he has noticed any blessings from keeping it. He said yes, that he has been able to run twice as long now while he is training for soccer and I thought that was awesome. The lord really does bless us when we do the things he asks us to do. It was cool to see that. 
We finally got to watch General conference this week at church. We had no idea until we showed up to the church building and they were setting up for it. It was so amazing, I really took conference for granted back home. It was awesome to see the camera shots of Utah though to ;) It felt so good to hear the prophets voice though, we are really blessed to have a living prophet today. So because we had conference we are doing our special fast for our new building next week (Thanks for all the support on this back home).
This week in my personal study I was reading a lot about forever families and holy crap am I greatful for forever families. The fact that we can live with our families forever is such a blessing to me and it means so much to me. I am greatful that we have to temples to make it possible to be sealed for all time and eternity. In the book I was reading it talked about how this is one of the great things the church has to offer to people because every one loves there families but not everyone is sealed with them for all time and eternity so I am just very VERY greatful for the Gospel and the ablitlty it has to give us forever families.
Well this week is the last week of the transfer so we are getting transfer news this week. It should be exciting so we will see what the lord has in store for me next. I hope you all have an awesome week and that you all are just going hard back home J Love you all.
Elder Bowring

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Elder Guymon's (Bobby's companion) Letter

Hello from Africa.  Wow are you really reading that how crazy is that!!! Sometimes I forget that I am here. I am in Africa preaching the gospel WHAT!!!!! There are soooo many amazing things here, so many willing people and I could not ask anything better!! My companion for the last transfer has been Elder Bowring I am sure I have already said that but he is a freaking Master Missionary he has come pre trained (Again)  but this time in a good way!! We just from the first day were teaching soooooo well together and from that day we have just gotten better. I love how we teach. In my past companionships we would each take a principle and talk about it and sometimes, well on occasion, well alway,s my companion would end up talking about one principle for 20 minutes as I just sit there and listen but now we are not each just teaching a principle we are switching off every like 1 to 2 minutes and the lesson could honesty be an hour and a half but it feels like a 20 minute lesson and I love it.  It is just a sooooo much more effective way to teach and we are both loving this companionship!!! But it is sad we are 5 weeks into the transfer one more to go and we are both way sad because we are doing soooooo well together and I know for me I am the happiest I have been on mission. We were able to have our first baptism in Logan Town and his first Baptism of his mission and well it was sweet he was really enjoying it and he has a very amazing spirit to him he does not see it but he is such a powerful person and he looks for the good in EVERYTHING even if a lesson goes bad he just says MAN BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT PART!!! Haha he is great!! Africa is getting to be my home I am starting to learn sooooo much I am not sure how it will be when I get home!! For one it is going to be weird to see a bunch of white people!! Honestly though I forget I am white until I go into a circle for confirmation and see my white hands with all the black ones then I say, “WHAT THE???? OH YEAH!!!” Even when me and elder Bowring teach the God head I say, “It’s like me and my companion we our different but we work together he is white and I am black different but ONE companionship!!” oh I love teaching I don’t want to stop it. When I get home I want to go with the missionaries just to see how different it is.  I am honestly now LOVING the food I smell it and I almost fall in love just saying I want some!!! There is this one food called GB what it is is Yam and water pounded in a tree stump until it becomes REALLY think then you eat it with a stew and Swallow it you DO NOT CHEW IT!! So I was able to make some it was in the picture I sent home!!  My new branch is sooooo funny we meet in this OLD school house that gets no Current so when its rains like this Sunday and its dark you can’t see anything and you get leaked on oh it’s a party in Liberia!!