Tuesday, January 27, 2015

{week 1 email}

The first week has had its ups and downs but definitely more ups than downs! One thing that is really tough out in Utah is that most of the people we tract or OYM (open your mouth) have already been talked to by missionaries and they aren't interested or they grew up in the church and fell away and aren't interested in coming back. As you all know, my companion is Elder Ferguson (Megan Cancienne's Cousin). We get along very well! We both love playing sports and being active! We also like a lot of the same stuff like food and music! Every Thursday night, we go play basketball with some non-member and less active teenagers. We let them play with us in the stake center as long as they let us teach them a lesson. Me and elder Ferguson are always on opposite teams because we are so much shorter than all the other guys that play. We also play dodge ball every Friday night with less-actives, members, and non-members. We've figured out that it is a great way to get a bunch of people together and have a good time and be able to teach them a little bit about the gospel. One way that we found to be very helpful in getting baptisms is going back over to less-active families and talking to their children about being baptized because most of them haven't been baptized. We actually have 4 people on date to be baptized on February 21st. A 9 year old named Bryce, a 9 year old named Haden, an 8 year old named Kayden, and Kayden's mom. We aren't sure who is going to be baptizing them yet but soon we will find out and i will let you all know! So that means i will be sending back that yellow tie that bishop gave me very soon (; We get fed at members homes every single night except on Tuesdays because Tuesdays are p-days. All the members really like Elder Ferguson and I because we are both pretty outgoing and we both love sports. One of the members from one of our wards we cover wants to take me and my companion out golfing when it gets warmer so im pretty excited about that! Elder Ferguson has never played golf but he said he has always wanted to try so we'll see how it goes! Most them members out here love the Utah Jazz and when i tell them i like the Lakers, they always make fun of me because they hate the Lakers and the Lakers are doing so bad this year but then i just bring up who has more NBA titles and they usually don't say anything after that hahaha. The food they have been feeding us has actually been really good! We've been fed a lot of chicken so far and i love chicken so that's great! I forgot to tell you guys that the other night we were talking to this guy on the street and he fell away from the church and he has joined a new religion so we were talking to him and all he wanted to do was bash us about everything and we just didn't want to bash so we said we were sorry and we wish him the best and then he left... then about 20 minutes later we were walking around the neighborhood and he caught up to us again and he told us that he was sorry for bashing our religion and being rude to us and then he said he would love to meet with us sometime! We were shocked because he was bashing us like crazy and telling us how wrong the church was and how he hated missionaries and then he wanted to meet with us! So we scheduled an appointment and we weren't surprised when he missed our appointment so we just kind of figured he wouldn't contact us again... Then 2 days later, we were walking around the same neighborhood then we heard someone honk at us in a huge white truck and we had no idea who it was but it was that same basher guy and he told us he was sorry for missing the appointment and he would love to meet with us again and he gave us his phone number and we gave him ours so we would be able to meet with him. So the next day, we met with him and we taught him a little bit and he told us why he left the church and stuff. Then we gave our testimonies about church and our mission and you could tell he felt the spirit. Then at the end of the lesson, he told us he would like to meet with us again sometime and he told us that he wasn't against joining the church again but it was going to take him some time. That is where we are at right now, i will keep you all posted on how everything is going! Love you guys! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

{january 23, 2015}

Hello Family and Friends,

     I am now out in the mission field!  It has been pretty great so far!  My companion is awesome!  He loves to play sports and he's also teaching me a lot about how everything works.  The craziest part about it is that his name is Elder Ferguson and on the first day we met, he asked me where I was from and I told him originally California but I've been living in Texas for the last year and a half and he asked me if I knew a girl named Paige and I said yeah Paige is my cousin...Then I asked how he knew her and he said his cousin is Megan Cancienne and he used to go over to Megan's house sometimes and he would see Paige!  It was so crazy because I heard Megan's cousin was in my mission and it turns out he is my first companion and trainer!  I was so happy to have a companion who I get along with and we have a bunch of things in common.  We play dodge ball with investigators every Friday night and basketball every Thursday night with more investigators.  We actually have a baptism on date for the 21st of February already.  We began teaching this nine year old boy who doesn't have active parents the first day I got here and he loves learning about all the lessons and he is super smart!  His older brother just got baptized about a month ago and he is 17 years old so he is going to baptize Bryce.  I still miss home and my family like crazy but I know where I am supposed to be.  Please don't send stuff to the mission home address because the mission president said he will send it back because he wants us to have mail come to our apartment.
     My address of my apartment is 6088 South Shirl Street Taylorsville, Utah 84123.  Anyways.  I love you all and I'd love to get letters and emails!  My p-days are on Tuesdays so I will be emailing you guys on Tuesday!

                                                                           Love, Elder Bowler

Thursday, January 22, 2015

{letter from the mission president}

January 21st, 2015

Mr & Mrs. D. L. Byrd,
15636 Fire Creek Lane,
Fort Worth TX 76177

Dear Brother & Sister Byrd:

            We just wanted you to know that your son has safely arrived in the Utah Salt Lake City Central Mission.  We thought you might enjoy the attached picture.

Elder Bowler has been assigned to work in District 2  in the Bennion Zone with Elder Ferguson as his  trainer.  His mailing address 6088 Shirl St. Taylorsville, UT 84123.  His P-day is Tuesdays where he will have the opportunity to email home.

            We enjoyed meeting your missionary and promise to take good care of him while he is in the mission field.  Your son would love to receive a letter or email from you each week.  We invite you to keep your correspondence positive, uplifting and encouraging.

            We thank you for the sacrifice in sending him to our mission to “Preach The Gospel.”  Like Alma, we know that

            “…the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just- yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them…” (Alma 31:5)


President Richard and Sister Amy Moffat

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

{Chase's last letter in the MTC}

Good morning! 
     Since this is my last day at the MTC, i get to be on the computer for a little while just so i have some time to write before i go out in the field. So basically this week has been pretty much the same as last week except it has been going by a lot faster. 3 other elders that were in my district left at 3 this morning on their way to New York. So there is just 5 of us here today so its a little different. While being out here, i have realized how much prayer can do for me. I pray for like everything here. I pray before a lesson, before studying, before bed, when i wake up, and just anytime I'm struggling with anything! so last week, we got to talk to some members who came to the MTC to learn from us just as volunteers to help us with our teaching. Well anyways, we got to talking to this guy for a while and teaching him and he loved what we had to say! anyways, at the end of our lesson, he challenged me and my companion to give a Book of Mormon to one of our friends back home who might need or want it. So you know my friend Katie Gruber, well we've been emailing back and forth and shes been telling me that shes not doing too great with her life right now just because shes feeling home sick in college and she feels all alone out there and stuff. So i took the opportunity to talk to her about prayer and religion and how much its helped me in my life and she said she has been praying. Then i asked her if she knew what i believed in my faith and she said she knew some things but not much... but anyways, i asked her if she would like me to send her a Book of Mormon but I wasn't sure how she would respond but she said YES! So I'm gonna get a Book of Mormon and write a little message in it and send it out to her. Its so crazy how the lord gave me inspiration to talk to Katie about the gospel and prayer. I'm not sure how things will turn out for her but I know its a great start! I'm gonna follow up with her to see if shes been reading it and who knows, maybe she'll read it all and commit to baptism!!! That was the coolest experience I've had here so far! Last night we had a little testimony meeting as a district with all 8 of us and we just went around saying how great the MTC has been and why we are here on a mission and stuff. It was super spiritual and great to here the stories of other missionaries and the struggles they have faced to come on a mission. A lot of them were in the same boat as me where they didn't really want to come on a mission for a while then they realized that it would be the best thing for them and none of us regret coming out here. We've all grown tremendously out here. I'm excited to get out there in to the actual mission and teach real investigators! I love and miss you all!

 Love, Elder Chase Bowler 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

{first snail mail}

Dear Family,
     I really hope you are all doing great at home!  I miss you guys like crazy!  I always love to look at the pictures that mom laminated for me.  Since I've been here at the MTC, I've learned to know the importance of families and how blessed and lucky we are to have such a great family!  My testimony of the gospel is growing stronger and stronger every day.  Yesterday I had an interview with our branch president and we got along extremely well because he is also a big fan of golf and he also lived in Texas for 33 years.  I also got senior companion in my companionship which means I'm the missionary in charge of my companion.  He asked me a question about why I was serving a mission and my answer was simple... I'm doing this because I want to set an example for the younger boys in my family.  Especially Cole and Garrett.  I know this gospel changes lives and I will have the opportunity to be a part of that.  It is so tough out here but so spiritual.  I love you guys very much.

     Mom-I now know how much you do for me and how great you are.  The day I was leaving, saying goodbye to you, It was one of the toughest things I have ever done just because we've never been apart for more than a few weeks.  Days seem to go by quicker and quicker and I'm learning a lot!  The biggest thing that I'm having trouble with is not being around you guys and feeling kind of lonely at times.  My companion has good intentions but is very very quiet and tough to get along with at times and that is why I've been feeling so out of place sometimes.  My district is very different from me and sometimes I just want to leave.  But, I know I'm at the right place and I know Satan is doing all he can to get me to leave.  I pray often for you guys and hope you're all doing well!

Dad-Saying goodbye to you at the airport was also very very hard.  I've never seen you cry before and we've gotten so close these last few months.  I'm so glad to be sealed to you.  I'm so thankful you came into my life.  Miss you tons!  Keep working on that golf game :)

Garrett-I miss you Bro!  Hope you're doing good at In n Out.  I want to challenge you to be baptized by the time I get back!  I know the gospel will bring you more happiness than anything.  Love you!

Chloe-You better not be stealing all my clothes!  Haha just kidding.  I hope you're doing better since I last saw you.  I miss you and love you!

Kaidee-Better not have stolen my phone!  I miss you very much!  Keep doing great :)

Cole-I miss you a ton.  When I was with the branch president the other night, I was telling him all about you!  I actually cried when I told him about you because I love and miss you so much.  I loved being able to baptize you.  Best buds for life!

Paisley- I miss your cute face!  You'll be a big girl when I get back!  I love you!

     Sorry, I've been writing this letter over the past 3 days because we are very busy here and hardly have free time.

In response to your letter...

     It is my 4th night here at the MTC and I'm doing pretty well!  The experience I'm having has been great mostly!  I have had some low times here as well when I really question why I am here but my teachers here at the MTC are great!  They've told me all the things I am feeling are natural to feel.  The first day was good!  It's just a very different lifestyle here but its very spiritual and I'm learning a lot.  Something crazy is that I've lost 10 pounds since being here!  I don't know how except that I don't snack as much.  My comp is from Lewisville, Kentucky.  We've been connecting more and he's opening up little by little.  I'm leaving the MTC on the 21st by train.  I didn't know about scripture engraving, but I'll look into it.  Yes I will use the computers in the laundry room.  The food is pretty good actually!  I was surprised!  They do have hot sauce here!  I've seen Courtney a few times, it's nice seeing someone I know.  Just makes me feel comfort.  I also saw Will Land today and we took a picture together on his phone.  I told him to post it on instagram!  It's pretty cold here as well, lots of snow on the ground.  I'm glad I've had an impact on people!  P-days are on Wednesdays.  We read emails on P-days only.  But if you use dearelder.com I get them printed out and handed to me on that day so please keep using dear elder and writing!  I love hearing from you guys!  You can also send packages to the MTC.  I don't really need anything but could you send me that 2-hour Book of Mormon Study book?  Tell Cole good luck with basketball and Kaidee and Chloe.  My testimony is growing more and more each day.  I love you all and miss you tons!

                                                   Love,   Elder Bowler

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

{his first email}

Hi mom, I hope you got my letter i wrote you, I sent it out on Monday morning. It stinks because we don't get much time at all to write. but i love hearing from everyone so keep using Dear Elder! Because they print out your emails and give it to me the same day so please keep them coming!

To kaidee, I miss you guys a lot too! i promise i wont forget about you guys haha and yeah of course i had to give you and chloe a goodbye kiss! im sorry for not always showing my love for you guys...i wish i would have showed it more but i will when i get back! I hope basketball is going good and soccer should be starting up soon right? Good luck! (: Ill send you guys more hand written letters to tell you about all the little details because we don't get much time on the computers at all! You better not mess up my room if you get it (; haha good job on making A team!  miss you tons! Love you tons! Love, Elder Bowler

Mom, P days re on Wednesdays here at the MTC which is weird but when mi in the field, P days will be on Tuesdays. I wasn't able to write you guys because I've been so busy! They have us on a pretty tight schedule out here. I'm not surprised i had the most laundry, i changed a lot! haha but I'm glad its easier for ya! And that's okay if Cole is the smallest. I was always the smallest kid but one of the best! Tell him to keep practicing! Could you send me all the instagram pics you put up of me from your phone and what people said! I want to stay with the times! haha its tough not having a phone out here but not as tough as i thought it would be. I'm doing great out here, the spirit is very strong. We got to do a temple session today at the Provo temple and it was very great being able to do that with all the other missionaries in my district! All the people wanted to talk to us at the temple too. Asking us where we were headed and where we are from. I've learned to be a much happier person out here. Joy and smiling lets people know that you're a happy person and more willing to talk to you (:  That's so cool that Cole was on TV and got to meet Tim Tebow. Keep sending me pics from everything (: Ill tell you more about my stories and stuff through hand written mail! we don't get hardly any time on computers but just know I'm doing great and I'm happy here! I love you very much mom! I cant wait to talk to you on mothers day! I miss you a ton! keep writing (:

I loved getting his first email!  He is doing so good!  He asked us to keep writing him he enjoys reading our letters.  Thanks to all of you for all your support for not only him but me too.  Love you guys  Letti

Friday, January 9, 2015

{LDS Church announces 11 new missions, 2015 mission president assignments}

With the announcement this week of new mission president assignments comes news that 11 new missions are being created in the world, a net increase of 10, as one of the smaller missions in Salt Lake City is being absorbed in the realignment of surrounding mission boundaries in Utah.
In fact, two of the new missions are in Utah, based in Logan and Orem. Others are in South America and Europe as well as in other areas of the United States. The changes will be effective on or about July 1.
The growth comes nearly 2.5 years after the historic announcement of the lowering of ages of eligibility for missionary service for both young men and young women. That resulted in an immediate and dramatic surge in the Church’s missionary force that peaked at nearly 89,000, up from less than 60,000 previously.
“When we created 58 new missions two years ago, we were preparing for what we thought we would need after the initial surge of new missionaries,” said Elder David F. Evans, a member of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department. “However, the younger brothers, sisters and friends of those who went out, I think, have watched the kind of really remarkable experiences that their older brothers, sisters and friends have had. Thus, young people are continuing to respond to President Thomas S. Monson’s invitation to serve missions, and they are doing it at a higher rate than we ever anticipated.”
As of Jan. 7, the missionary force totaled 84,728, Elder Evans said.
It was foregone that the number would be somewhat smaller after the surge following the 2012 announcement, “but the numbers have not come down anything like we would have projected, and we think it’s a wonderful reflection on the youth of the Church,” he remarked.
“We think it’s a wonderful response to a prophet’s continuing invitation to consider missionary service at the right time,” he added.
At the moment, there are more than 100 missions that each have around 250 missionaries. “Our effort will be to reduce that amount over time to a maximum of about 200 missionaries per mission,” Elder Evans said. “Long experience has taught us that missionaries and mission presidents do better with about 200 missionaries as opposed to a larger number than that.”
Pertaining to the new missions in Utah, Elder Evans said the Beehive State remains a remarkable area of the Church for missionary work, though, when the first mission was formed in Salt Lake City in the mid-1970s, it seemed to some to be an odd location for a mission headquarters.
“But it’s not surprising, because anywhere you have lots of active members, it’s a wonderful place to do missionary work,” he said. “We also have in Utah many members of the Church who need strengthening and, in some cases, even rescuing, and whose children and friends and families need to be taught the gospel.”
He cited the case of one community in Utah’s Cache Valley that has only 10 people in the entire stake boundaries who are not Church members. Yet a set of sister missionaries assigned there are kept productively busy teaching friends and families of those they help bring back into activity.
The creation of new missions in South America “is also a sweet indication of the ongoing work,” Elder Evans said. “The work remains strong there, and it’s a very, very productive area of the Church.”
He added, “We also see a number of other missions being created in the United States, not concentrated in any one area, but in each of these areas, members have demonstrated their ability to be productive and to utilize the efforts of relatively large numbers of missionaries. We’re quite excited about that.”
When asked what young people might do today to prepare to serve missions, Elder Evans said, “One thing is to read and prayerfully consider the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I see so many of this rising generation that have had such strong testimonies when they come to the missionary training center having read and tested Moroni’s promise to gain their own witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.”
Another way to prepare is to actually share the gospel with someone, Elder Evans said. “These young people are going to become missionaries, but they’re already members and can have the courage to begin to share their testimonies. It could be something as simple as sharing the “He Is the Gift” video that was recently made available to share during the Christmas season and to add their own public words of faith and testimony to the sharing of it.
“It could be as simple as speaking to a friend and inviting him or her to Church or to seminary with you, or even to arrange for the friend to meet with the missionaries and say, ‘I’ll be there with you; I’ll sit with you, and together, we’ll try to answer whatever questions you have.’ ”
To Elder Evans’ advice, his colleague in the Missionary Department, Elder Stephen B. Allen, managing director, added this: “I’d encourage them to get a copy of Preach My Gospel and to read Chapter 3. It contains the doctrines that they’re going to teach as missionaries. If they’ve read that and absorbed into their own heart what the story really is, that will be a big blessing to them.”
Elder Allen, an Area Seventy, also suggested prospective missionaries spend less time playing on personal electronic devices and more time talking to people. “While social media will be an important missionary tool as we move forward, they’ve got that down, but some have paid a price of not really learning how to communicate with others. Making sure they know how to listen to people and talk with them is a good idea.”
Elder Evans concluded, “We hope there’s a need to create even more new missions as we go forward. As the rising generation continues to respond to President Monson’s invitation, to plan their lives, to counsel with their parents and with their bishops, and to prayerfully consider missionary service, I believe even more of them are going to continue to choose to serve the Lord in this way.”