Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm Catching My Stride

So this week started off pretty rough not gonna lie. We had one elder from our district go home, and then another of our sisters was having a really bad time with homesickness. She just would weep all throughout the day and night- so we tired our best to help her. Its tougher for some to be away from home and be basically plopped in the middle of South America.

The sisters who listen to my Pedro the fish story.

NEVERTHELESS-- she's doing great now, all smiles, and I am doing great great great. Days are eternity here but somehow weeks just zoom by. P-days are never long enough though :) 

We all bought crazy pants on our P-day
So some exciting news, one of my latina roommates got her endowments out on Thursday!!!!! :) She was so excited and we were so excited for her. Its really interesting here at the CCM because we have a whole range of different sisters. Our branch Pres. was telling us that some of them have to get use to sleeping in a bed, using a toilet and sleeping in a room with only 5 other people. Our sister Fuentes couldn't get to a temple before her mission, so she was able to take her endowments out here at the Lima temple.

Temple Trip

Outside the CCM gates
So the way it works is the North Americans are here at the CCM for 6 weeks and the Latinos are here for only 2. So we had to say goodbye to our Latina roommates last night and it was really sad, but in a good kinda way. They were both amazingly good fun and loved to teach us Spanish. We even had a little lesson where we post-it noted all the stuff in our bedroom with both Spanish and English words. Sister Fuentes (the darker one) wants to come to California someday (its her dream!) I told her if she made it up to Cali she would have to stay at my house :)

Learning Spanish/English via post it notes

The Latina Sisters who are leaving - Hermana Fuentes and Hermana Melara
The week was mainly classes of both Spanish grammar and practicing teaching. Its all day everyday, but you just gotta love it. Spanish is still a struggle (the struggle is real!!!), but its fun to learn stuff and then try and use it at lunch with the Latinos. We won´t get a knew group of Latinos or North Americans till Wednesday, so the CCM is really quite and empty. We met a set of real missionaries out in the town today during our p-day activities after going to the temple again (we get to go to the temple every week how cool is that??) and one of the elders was from Arizona. He told us that it took him a good 2 months out in the field before he started to understand anything. Sooooooooo yea-- I just gotta keep reminding myself that with time it will come.

Most of these people left on Monday
Saturday we got to leave the CCM and go proselytizing in the LIMA NORTH MISSION!!!! MY MISSION!!!! I was SOOOOO nervous though. I had ten days at the CCM under my belt and really only knew how to introduce myself. All the missionaries at the CCM went out that day and us north Americans were paired with a Latina missionary.

It was such an eye opener though. We went to a place in Lima North Mission where a huge jail was located, so we couldn't wear any jewelry and had to take only small bags to discourage us getting robbed. The part where we were at was very poor. It literally looked like a bomb had went off and people were living the the rubble. There are SOOOO many dogs too that are just roaming around the street. The 4 hours I was out I think I saw about 30. Our companionship was accompanied by a member who worked for the Liahona and we went to visit less actives. We only got to see two different people but we got to teach a little lesson at both.

 I couldn't understand a lick of it though. I literally just nodded and smiled and tried to bear my testimony when my companion nudged me. My companion was great though! She spoke a lot of English and was really excited to speak with me. She was from Paraguay and learned a lot of her English from watching the TV show, How I Met Your Mother. She kept reminding me that she knew how it felt to learn a new language and not get discouraged. It was soooooo frustrating though, not being able to contribute anything and feeling like a baby. I couldn't talk to anyone, couldn't fill out the paper work- NADA. Not going to lie, on the bus ride back from proselytizing I was feeling pretty down. I was wondering why I was really out here and how in the world I was going to be able to do this for 18 months.

My companion while proselyting 
Faith (Fe in español) is the first principle of the gospel and is something that is so important in our lives. Its extremely hard to truly obtain faith since its not something you can see or touch, but I´ve come to know that its is something that is vital in each and everyone of our lives. I´m learning so much about myself here that it is amazing. Not all of it is nice however, but introspection is important and while many strive for patience when dealing with others, we must also have patience with ourselves.

We had a fun ´stress management´ class last night were we got locked out on the field. Next to all the building is a fútbol field that is blocked off by a gate. Our teacher made us run suicides to prove some point about our heart, and one of the teachers locked the gate! Elder Pond, this total hipster elder in my district, had to get a latter and climb on top of this 15 foot wall to flag someone down to unlock the gate. Our teacher doesn't speak much English, but we found out later back in the class that it wasn't apart of the lesson and that she was actually kinda scared! Funny!! (well I guess for us not her).

I had my first bottle of IncaCola today, and yum yum it was so good. Since its just a group of us North Americans here at the CCM the cafiteria people made us pizza!! SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDD!!!! I was in heaven, and we get a nap later so I'm just as happy as a lark.
All of us making funny faces
Until next week,

Hermana Bowers

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bienvenidos a Peru

Whew so I made it Peru! What a journey its been so far. And. It. Hasn't. Even. Been. A. Week!!!!!!!!! AHHH! But I'm doing well don't worry. Its just takes a lot to first adjust from being a normal civilan to a full time missionary. So I left my house at 4 AM in the morning on the 15th (in California) and did not arrive in Peru till 3 AM on the 16th. It was 14 hours of flying, with additional layovers and whatnot. Long story short-- it was a loooooooonnnnnnnngggggg first day. However I had a awsome chance to talk religion with this South African millionare guy on the way to Georgia. (I flew to Salt Lake City, then to Georgia, then to Peru). His wife and two children are members (they were in Utah looking at schools aka BYU) but he wasn't a member. We had probably a two hour talk about the difference between characterisitcs of a person and behavior, and what made a person a good person becuase they wanted to be a good person (does that make sense?) I in no way shape or form converted him or did anything super cool, but I hope that I was able to influence his life for the better.
The plane ride that took all day 
So we get to Peru around 3 in the morning and they give us keys to our room and then left us alone. My companion is Sister Huish from Washington and she is just a little bundle of joy. So we get into our room and there are already sisters in there! We didn't know what to do and so we ended waking them all up :( But turns out Sister Huish and I struck gold becuase our other roommates are some of the nicest people in the world. They are both Latinas, one is from Honduras and one from Columbia. They know very little english, but we are able to communicate somehow.
Me and my first companion at lunch with our Latina room mates
My spanish is horrible, but not as bad as I thought it was. I don't know anything other than the present tense though. So I sound pretty funny when I talk about things in the past, but we were able to teach our first lesson to a pretend investigator yesterday (on Monday). It went oooookkkaaay-ish but oh well it just means that we have to try harder. I try and talk to the Latina Hermanas as much as I can during meals. The last two nights I have tried to tell them a story using a new principle I learned during the week. They all are about Pedro the fish. They love it, or at least they are polite enough to laugh and try to understand me.

Anyways so we get to the CCM (Spanish abbreviation for MTC) at 4 and then had class at 8. That whole day was a blur of getting name badges, getting finger printed, general confusion and humitidty. Maybe its becuase we dont´t understand any of the language, but we never really know where to be and it feels like we are constantly getting in trouble for being late\ in the wrong place. Nevertheless, after that the first day of classes started. I now have a new found respect for teachers at the MTCs around the world! There is too much to write if I go into the content of my classes completely, but basically its all day every day spanish and the gospel. Its funny becuase they don´t really teach grammer that much, its just 'memorize phrases of prayer' or 'this is how you bear your testimony'. I have yet to see a conjugation tree.
The Military Compound outside the CCM- (MTC)
So today was the our districts first P-day. My district is really funny and they sure do like to talk. We have some pretty... enthusiastic people and its great. Anyway the day started out with us going to the temple! We get to go to the temple every p-day, its great! and Guess what! I was waiting to go into the temple and this woman starts asking all the missionaries where they are from. She gets to me and when I say california she goes ´Riverside? Bracamonte?´ and I´m like oh yea I know her! Turns out it was Sister Bracamonte's sister! Sister Molina I think? We hugged and she started talking to me, I   don´t really know what in the world she was saying but I smiled and laughed and hugged her some more. Sister Bracamonte, your sister sends her love and she is doing great! Shes is a marvlous women who carries herself well and smells of sweet lavender.

The Peru Temple
Ah 20 min left of email time! So turns out Sister Huish and I got another companion. There is a trio of elders in our district and now there will be a trio of girls. Her name is Sister Mahas and she is from Utah. She was sick the day of her flight so she didn´t get to the CCM till today. I´m excited to get to know her better with these next coming 5 weeks. (Oh gosh I only have 5 weeks till i have to go out into the field and speak spanish???? AHHH).

So here is a note to some future missionaries. I wish I took physical letters from my parents\ freinds to read when I was feeling down. That first night\ day is really rough and I wish that I had brought something to read in those times. Also you have excerise time every sticking day. So don´t just bring one t-shirt. Becuase you are going to be wearing it every single day, and it only takes about 15 min outside before you are sweating like, well, something that sweats alot. Also, if you are sent to the CCM in Peru, they don´t have a mission store. You have to wait till P-day to buy things, and you only have 40 min or so after the temple to take a bus to the store. So remember, t-shirts, gym shorts (I didn't bring some and I'm regretting it) and physical letters to read when your feeling down.

Exercising with my stinky shirt 
In closing, Hermana Flora, a fellow North Americana, shared this with me and I thought it was great. ¨Pain is temporary and quitting is forever¨. As missionaires, we are the lords tools for preparing his people for the second coming. We are literal representatives of Jesus Christ for the people in Peru and I want to do all I can to learn the language and be able to teach these people about Gods love for them. Cheesy I know, but I´ve drank the missionary juice and I'm all crazy for the gospel!!

I send my love and am doing well!!!

love, Hermana Bowers

Monday, January 13, 2014

How I Decided to Serve a Mission

Deciding to go on a mission was a very long, and difficult decision. I feel for my fellow young adults. We are in the era of our life where our decisions will determine the course of the rest of our lives. What school to attend, what field to study, who to date and of course missions. 

There are so many possibilities, so how do you know what to choose? Which road in life is best for you and how are we suppose to know? These are just some of the questions that I was wrestling with when I started to consider the possibility of a mission.

In the 2012 October General Conference, the age for missionaries change. Men were now able to serve at the age of 18, and women at the age of 19. I was just about to turn 19 at the time and didn't really know how to process the news. I remember watching the conference with my roommates in Provo, UT and as soon as the announcement was made, one of my roommates burst into tears, declared she was going on a mission, and ran outside to call her family. 

I looked around at my other roommates, wondering if I was missing something, because I wasn't really feeling anything. In fact I was almost resentful because my excuse for not serving a mission had suddenly vanished. Previously women weren't allowed to serve until they were 21 years-old. I wouldn't have been 21 until the second half of my senior year. I had always assumed I would graduate from college, and then start thinking if I was going to go on a mission. 

Well, time passed and I went on my merry way. When people would ask if I was going on a mission I would emphatically declare 'no' and launch into my spiel defending my decision. This continued into the summer of 2013 when I started to rethink my previous decision. I wanted to know, for once and for all, if my decision was indeed what my Heavenly Father wanted of me, or if it was for my own selfish reasons/ fear that I wasn't going on a mission. 

So I decided to study. I wrote missionaries asking how they knew that they should go on a mission and wanted to hear the story of the process they went through to get their answer. I also studied the scriptures and read any Ensign talk I could on how to receive answers from God. What I learned was that often we have to take a couple of steps into the darkness before we know where it is we are suppose to go. Revelation comes to those on the move. 

What finally pushed me to action was one of my friends experiences in the MTC. They watched a devotional by Elder Bednar which talked about feeling the spirit. In their blog they said:
"He taught that when we're concerned whether the spirit is prompting or its just us we're already in the wrong. If we're thinking, we aren't acting. If we live right and try our hardest to be good every thought and action of ours will be directed by the spirit."
So I decided to finally act and open my papers. I told my mother not to tell anyone because I still wasn't sure what I was going to do. Finally, as I continued to slowly work on my papers and tried to get an answer as to what I was suppose to do, I decided to just go ahead with a mission and have the Lord stop me if it wasn't right. It felt like I had a blind fold on and was trusting in the Lord to stop me if I was about to stumble off a cliff or something similar.

I tried attending the temple as much as I could while trying to find my answer, and honestly could really peg anything down. One moment I would be so stoked about the idea of a mission, but then all these doubts would come flooding in. I just got promoted at work, how was I going to tell them I was leaving? How in the world was I suppose to sell my apartment contract? I just got accepted into the public relations program at BYU, how would a mission affect me academically? What if I missed Mr. Right?

With these doubts I sought counsel. One wise sister told me that often the Lord's impression is the first one we get, and then doubts and Satan would follow up and try to distract us with. That emboldened me and made me once again put forth my faith towards serving a mission.

Some days I would be so gung-ho about the idea of serving a mission and then others I would wonder what in the world I had gotten myself into. I was questioning my resolve and was disgusted with myself because it was so weak. That is when I realized that my faith was truly like a little seed-- and I couldn't expect it to sprout up and become a solid oak tree instantly. I had to have faith that my faith would grow. And it is that faith that will continue to grow if nurtured and will guide us in this life here on earth.

Our Heavenly Father loves us, and won't lead us astray. Put your faith in him and let him guide you to become the person he knows you can be. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Preparing To Leave

If the holidays weren't busy enough, I also have the unique and amazing experience to prepare to leave for my mission in Perú. However, all this craziness was a blessing in disguise because I had family from all over come to my neck of California that I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise.

On December 28th I had the opportunity to go through the Redlands temple for the first time. I had my brother, mother and grandmother all with me!

Scott, Me & Grandma Earlene at the Redlands Temple

This was an especially special experience for me because the Redlands temple has always been close to my heart. This was the first temple where I was able to do baptisms for the dead, and have always often wondered what lay behind the walls. Finally, after long last I was able to experience the Redlands temple to the fullest and I couldn’t have been happier. It was again amazing to be able to go through the temple with my loving family—and truly have the truth of the eternal nature of families driven home. Also hurray hurray—I wasn’t sick this time around so I could finally try and soak in everything the temple has to offer without the wonderful coughing and mucus.
My beautiful mother and I after going through the Redlands Temple

After the temple came finally sitting down to write my (non)farewell talk. While I don’t leave until the 15th of January, since I had family down that would be leaving after the New Year, I gave my talk a little early. I’ll admit it was a very daunting task and I didn’t know what exactly I should say. For starters this is the final impression you get to give your ward before you’re off for 18 or 24 months. There is so much you want to say—and say it in the right way as to not sound stupid or corny. In addition, on the 28th (the Saturday before my talk) I had gotten two more additional immunizations. Unfortunately my body wasn’t reacting so well, and pretty much all of Sunday and most of Monday I had a fever and was admittedly a buzz kill.

Nevertheless, despite my procrastination and lacking social charm, my amazing and supportive family came out to hear my talk. Special shout out to Aunt Dina, Uncle Ken, Cousin Jenny, Grandma Lee, Sister Sarah and Brother-in-law-ish Kody for driving out to Riverside to be there for my talk. Afterwards we had a lovely lunch (Thanks Mom!) to celebrate.

My amazing mother whipping up amazing cuisine for the family
Grandma Earlene (left) and Grandma Lee (right) being classy as always
The youngster table at the luncheon

Again I’d like to express my gratitude to my lovely family. Despite our different faiths they still came out to be there for me—and I am so grateful for everything that they do. Church isn’t really everyone’s “thing” but it was nothing but smiles as far as I could see.

Below is a copy of my talk:

Alright team, it’s the bottom of the 3rd and we’re down by 16 points. Things aren’t looking good—but I know that if we pull together and stick to our game plan victory will be ours. Left wing, I want you to cut off their receivers and double back at a 4.2 angle— middle you keep doing what you’re doing but with a little more gutso. Right wing, it’s your job to fake a pass but then barrel down the middle, back rows will guard your flanks giving you a clear shot to pass the ball back off to our left wing.



HIKE—or not.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about – that’s just fine, because thankfully we’re at church, not players in football game.

However—happy day all is well. Unlike my theoretical football scenario with some sloppy faked plan to get the 1st down, Heavenly Father has a game plan for us, but it’s a plan of how to successfully navigate “game” of life. The best part of it all — Brothers and Sisters—is that we already know who wins. By the end of this talk I hope you will understand the importance of hastening the Lord’s work, and incorporate three new ways we can better align ourselves with the Lords game plan.

It is such a blessing to see so many familiar faces and be able to address you from this pulpit one last time before I leave on my mission. While I know many of you, I see some faces that I don’t recognize and I am so glad you are here in our little La Sierra Heights Family.

As a way of introduction my name is Heather Bowers and I am the youngest child of Terry and Jaylene Bowers. I was born and raised in Riverside California and have been attending church in this building for the majority of my life. Walking down these halls is very nostalgic and to be quite honest, I never realized how absolutely green this building is! Anyway, when I graduated high school in 2011 I moved up to Provo Utah and attended BYU. I’ve currently put finishing my major in public relations with a minor in business management on hold for 18 months to serve the people in the Peru Lima North Mission. I leave January 15th and couldn’t be more excited.

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the seventy’s talk titled, “Hastening the Lord’s Game Plan!” is what I will be basing my talk on this morning. This talk was given in our church’s recent general conference where we have the prophet and other leaders of the church address members around the world. If I think I’m nervous right now giving a talk to people I’ve known my entire life, I can’t imagine what it must be like for them to give a talk in front of millions!

Because of the awesome nature of general conference and the opportunity it creates for people to hear directly from our prophets and apostles, when I’m watching, I try and write notes or impressions I receive. When I looked up what I wrote for this specific talk in my trusty little notebook, I saw that jotted down a few notes, and then had obnoxiously scrawled the phrase “EXCLAMATION POINT”. For those who have heard this talk before, I’m sure this sounds familiar, and for those of you who haven’t heard this talk before, well you’ll figure it out soon enough.

My first impression I get from this talk is that golly-gee-whiz Elder Nielsen is one enthusiastic guy. His talk is covered in exclamation points—and he made the specific point to say exclamation point after many of his sentences—just in case the congregation might have missed his earlier enthusiasm. Nielsen points out that this enthusiasm is spreading throughout the church more than ever.

Elder Nielsen describes that at a new mission president seminar held in June, a record of 173 new presidents and their wives received instructions before beginning their service. Elder L. Tom Perry, one of the twelve apostles, added to the concluding comments:

“This is the most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel, like all the things that build that foundation for us to go forward and teach in our Father in Heaven’s kingdom”.

Now more than ever the Lord is calling us to action to be “engaged as never before” in missionary work. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16 it states:

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great shall be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”

The beautiful thing about this brothers and sisters is that while we strive to bring happiness to others through teaching the gospel, ultimately the greatest happiness is ours.

The second impression I got from this talk was my lacking of enthusiasm for sports. To explain many of his points, Nielsen, a former BYU quarterback, uses various football analogies.

Now I’ll admit that my first impression of football was that it was semi-mindless sport that just gave burly men an excuse to smash into one another. However after participating in power puff my senior year of high school, my perspective has changed. I never realized the intricacies of the plays- the level of cooperation needed from both defense and offense to successfully conquer an opponent- and finally the mental focus needed to not get on that field and make a complete and utter fool of yourself.

In addition, as a sports writer for BYU’s newspaper, I have had many occasions to interview BYU athletes and delve into some of the deeper dynamics of the game. Especially in the sport of tennis, it is almost as much of a mental battle as it is physical to beat your opponent.

Now can you imagine going into a game already knowing who is going to win? In seminary my teachers would always compare this life to a game (I can’t remember if it was football or not) and while it may seem that “Team Satan” is winning or pulling ahead now—in the end we know that Heavenly Fathers team is going to win. And it is up to you to decide which jersey you are going to wear.

Brother and sisters, the lord is hastening his work NOW. And which game plan do you plan on following?

Doctrine and Covenants section 4 states that:

“Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore o ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work…”

Elder Nielsen suggested three different ways we can better align our personal game plan with the Lords call to action.

First, pray to bring someone closer to the Savior and His gospel every day. Elder Nielsen suggests trying to remember to see all people as sons and daughters of God helping each other on their way home to our Heavenly Father.

Second pray for the missionaries serving in your area and their investigators by name every day. I encourage you to take a second, look at the badges these fine brothers and sisters wear and try to remember their names for your prayers.

Third and lastly, invite a friend to an activity in or out of your home. It’s understandable that people can be reluctant to change their entire perspective on the great beyond, God, and the very meaning of life. You have to admit too that us Mormons can seem a bit eccentric to others with some of our more peculiar habits. However, we don’t have to sit down and have a discussion with a non-member to be considered missionaries. By simply living the gospel we are an example of Christ and his love—and this love will touch the lives of others when they come in close proximity with it.

President Thomas S. Monson has said:

“Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary”

Young men, I can tell you that the Lord wants you to serve a mission. There is no if and or buts around it. Now there are varying circumstances in life that can and will prevent young men from serving missions. However, make that decision now to serve a mission, and your life will be blessed in ways you can’t imagine.

Now young women, we’re a bit different from the young men. Service is not mandatory for us. It is an opportunity rather than an obligation. By no means should any young women feel guilty or peer pressured into serving. Please make it a personal decision that you have counseled with your parents and priesthood leaders about. Sometimes it requires a different kind of strength to recognize the plan that the Lord has for you and stay put despite what the crowds are doing.

My stake president back in my student ward in Utah reminded me that if met Mr. Right and decided to postpone my mission that it was OK! My opportunity to serve a mission is not wasted—just postponed till later in life when I get to choose my companion rather than be assigned to one. Well, despite the hopes of my mother here I am about to be shipped off to Peru.

The choice wasn’t easy however. I’ll admit openly to you all that some days I am so gung-ho and ready to serve a mission, and then others I’m wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. However, I put my faith in the Lord—started my papers and told the Lord to stop me if this wasn't the right thing for me to do.

Often I question my resolve and my faith. I would wonder how in the world I was supposed to be able to complete a mission when I doubted myself at every turn. However after reading Alma chapter 32 I realized that I couldn’t expect my seed of faith to start off as some solid oak tree. I know it sounds kinda silly, but I have to have faith that my faith will grow.

Young women, if you struggling with trying to decide on whether or not you should serve mission I counsel you to prepare as if you were. Read preach my gospel, go on splits with the missionaries and see how it feels. And most importantly gain that faith that will allow you to accept the Lords answers either way.

If you are keeping the commandments and living your life right, the Lord will not lead you astray. It is a sign of trust and love when we don’t immediately receive answers to our prayers. The lord trusts us to choose our path and if it is wrong—trust me he won’t let you go astray.

After bearing my testimony I wanted to end with a scripture:

Its found in 2 Nephi 30: 19-20.

“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God unto all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life”

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Beginning

So here is the start of the good ol' mission blog. You'll have to bear with me as we do a little rewind. It all started a while back when I decided to submit my mission papers. Then after what seems like a small eternity-- It came. I was excited, but it didn't really hit me till I started opening it that I was finally going to figure out where in the world I was going!

October 17, 2013

Well, after finally finding the first page of my packet I found out: The Peru Lima North Mission- Spanish speaking. I was totally and completely stunned! Below a link to the recording of my opening (thanks Jenny and Molly Baker!).

If you were like me and really had no idea where the Peru Lima North Mission was...Here is an outline of my mission. Its right smack dab in the middle of Peru with both cities close to the shore and mountains galore.

The support I got from family, friends, bosses, co-workers, strangers -you name it- was astounding! I am so blessed and wouldn't know what to do without them.

Some wonderful girls (and now fellow missionaries)  in my apartment complex left this on my door.

My boss, who was home sick that day, drove into Provo specifically to drop this off so it would be there before I started the opening shift.

Time flew by after that.  Next on the checklist was to go through the temple. My mother drove up from California, picking up my Grandma Earlene on the way, and my dad flew to Provo a few days later to be there. On December 14th, 2013 I had the most incredible and wonderful opportunity to go through the house of the Lord and take out my own endowments. Family from all over came to support me. Their presence there at the Timpanogos temple helped make the day even more special. What a great blessing it is to have such holy places here on the earth! It was such a special experience and I am so incredibly grateful for my family. 

Families are forever

 The sad thing was though, that I had caught a terrible cold a couple days prior. While it makes a funny story now, I'd like to forever thank everyone for putting up with my sneezing and less desirable mucus abundance.

Me huddled in my mothers coat outside the temple.

Lunch with the family after going through the temple. Here my father is showing off his bacon lip balm he got as a Christmas present from the Bowers family.
 I'll end this post with a quote I love from President Monson about making new beginnings:
"Of course there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future"- Thomas S. Monson
This is only the beginning- and here is to the future.