Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 11 - Imperial Tour (Dun dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun dun)

First, all of the duns in the subject title are the imperial march from Star Wars.  This week was great! I'm really starting to have less fear of talking to people and really loving the work.
I can feel myself getting closer to Jesus Christ everyday :)

The week started off interesting, because Tuesday night, we finished planning at like 9:20, and Sister Tuia was like "Have you ever dyed hair before?"  And I was like "No." And she was like "You're about to learn!" So I dyed her hair black. And it actually looks pretty good because we got the chance to talk for an hour or so and we became a lot closer.  And it was a crazy trust exercise because she was trusting me with her hair!  Maybe I've found my new calling. ;)

We did some service this week, and painted a table and chairs! Then my hair ended up getting colored red from the spray paint....so that was exciting!  But it was good to do some service.  Then on Saturday we had a ward activity that Sister Tuia and I planned.  It was a lot of work getting everything set up.  We had to set up the projector and screen.  And then we wanted to have something for the kids to do in case they weren't interested in the movie.  So we set up a table with paper and crayons for that.  And then we were going to set out blankets to sit on, but then we remembered that we have a ton of old ladies in the ward.  So we took all of the red chairs and ugly floral couches out of the foyers and carried them into the gym (that was quite the workout, let me tell ya!  Those couches and chairs were not light!)   It was good, we watched "Meet the Mormons"! We had a less active member come and a couple other people from the branch came. We found out they might be dissolving the branch because there are not enough priesthood holders, so we're trying to bring out less actives to keep the branch alive.  If any of the priesthood holders go out of town, we have to call someone in to help bless and pass the sacrament.  And we only need one person to pass because the branch is so small.   There are about 70 members total, but only about 12-15 come out on Sunday so its hard.  But we'll see what happens !

Monday was one of the most discouraging days I've had so far on the mission.  Everyone we talked to said no, and our investigators wouldn't let us come over or weren't home.  We taught like two lessons.  But we tried to have a good attitude because attitude makes everything on the mission!

Then today (Tuesday) the Senior couple, Elder and Sister Reilly, took us on a tour of Imperial Valley!  It was really cool, and I'll attach a bunch of pictures from the tour.

This week I read a really good talk, it is called "The Healing Power of Forgiveness." And there was a quote from it that really struck me:
"Brothers and sisters, please do not misunderstand. To forgive is not to condone. We do not rationalize bad behavior or allow others to mistreat us because of their struggles, pains, or weaknesses. But we can gain greater understanding and peace when we see with a broader perspective."

So I invite you all to broaden your perspective! Look at people as the children of God that they are! Because when we look at people that way, we are happier and the people we associate with are happier. :)
I think that's all for the week! Here's some pictures from the tour today. I love you all and hope you have a great week! ❤️

Hermana Fowlks

Imperial Valley Swap Meet
The Hermanas in our hats from the swap meet.
 Salvation Mountain.  Made of clay, paint and straw.
 Slab City is a place where people live in trailers without electricity or running water.  Its crazy but cool to see a different way of life!

 The second tallest flagpole in the world!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 10 - GOATS 🐐🐐🐐🐐

Hola a todos!
This week a lot of funy things happened.  At the beginning of the week, we had interviews with Presidente, which went well. After the interviews, he like motioned me over to where he was standing, and I got all nervous like oh what happened? Then he proceeded to take out his iPad and was like "my wife thought it would be cute if I took selfies with the missionaries." So we all took
selfies! I'll attach them. But it was fun.  I've also made a new friend in our little branch!  Her name is Hermana Barragan, she's old and loud and I literally can't understand a word she says, but she's really funny. And for some reason she has taken a special liking to me, and has me walk her to every meeting and she has like this death grip on my arm as we walk together. But I actually enjoy it because I can practice understanding Spanish and I am making a new friend while I do it!

Also, I forgot to mention this last week, but Elder Holland is coming to visit the mission at the end of May! And with that, Presidente has asked us to all recommit ourselves to becoming consecrated missionaries and practice perfect obedience. So, I have loved being able to work on following every rule completely. This is something (though I am not proud to admit it) that I have never done before in my life. And what a better place to start than on a mission where the rules are so critical and so numerous? I've already seen the blessings come, and I look forward to becoming more consecrated as the weeks go on.

Also, the highlight of the week was the GOATS. Many of you may know that I really like baby sheep, and these baby goats were almost just as cute. One of our less active members that we went to visit let us see all of her goats and I even got to hold one! I'll attach a some pictures and a video, and if you listen closely in the video, you can hear the goat's adorable little sound he makes. She also let me hold a baby rooster. And on top of that she offered to come sit in on a lesson with a referral, which was even better than the goats! We're having that lesson on Thursday, and we're really excited.

This week, I've been working on developing Christ like attributes and the one I am working on is patience. WORD OF CAUTION: if you pray for patience, just keep in mind what you are signing up for. Lots and lots of opportunities to lose your patience! Haha. But it's been good, I've noticed a change already. There's a quote from President Monson in Predicad Mi Evangelio que me gusta mucho:
"Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”
I love this! And I read it almost everyday to remind me that I am developing patience, I'm not just going to receive it. And that patience is so so so important in our everyday lives, because we have many challenges every day. So I challenge you all to practice patience in your lives! No matter what, we all can become more like Christ, and patience is a good way to do just that. And I would love to hear about how excercising patience is changing you for the better. :)
I love you all so much, and I'm so grateful for your prayers. 💘💘
Hasta la proxima semana!
Hermana Fowlks
 Hermana Fowlks with a baby rooster!
 Selfies with President Schmitt.
 Hermana Fowlks and Hermana Tuia with President Schmitt and the elders from the zone.  There are also two other Sister companionships and one other companionship of Elders that had not made it to the meeting yet.
 Video of Hermana Fowlks with a goat!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 9 - IT RAINED!

Hola mis amigos!
This week was pretty great, I felt the spirit a lot more than in the first couple weeks out here and I think it's because I'm finally adjusting! The first couple days of the week were pretty much the same, lots of contacting and lots of sweat. I got my first door slammed in my face so that was pretty interesting! It wasn't too bad though.   BUT THEN. We had zone meeting on Friday and the sister training leaders gave a really good lesson on being the Shepherd or the Hireling. When we talk about the Shepherd obviously we're talking about Jesus Christ.  He volunteered and did what He did out of love.  And He is patient, kind, and fulfills the will of Heavenly Father. Now the Hireling, he is someone who is paid to watch the sheep, and he only does it for the money. He doesn't care about the sheep, and he definitely wouldn't leave the 99 and go find the 1. So, now I ask all of you, are we being a Shepherd or a Hireling in our own lives? Are we giving everything we have to others out of love?  Or are we going through the motions?  Remember we are put on this earth to be happy, and to help others be happy. So this week I am working on recommitting myself to work to become more like the Shepherd and to reach out to others in the midst of daily life. And lets do it because we want to serve others and the Lord, not because we're asked to. I know that we will all be blessed by working harder to achieve this!

So then after this awesome zone meeting, we look outside and it is pouring rain. After sweating for 3 weeks straight this was definitely a blessing!! So we took some cute pictures that I'll attach.  Then we had exchanges yesterday! I was really nervous, I'm not going to lie.  But I went and worked in El Centro with Sister Sanders.  And WOW! I learned so much. Also she drove over a pothole and broke the undercarriage of the car and now it makes a TERRIBLE sound so that is a bummer. But the guy that pulled over to help us asked for a Book of Mormon! So that was great.
I think that's all that happened this week.
Thanks for your prayers, I love you all!

Hermana Fowlks

Here is part of Hermana Fowlks letter to me (Mom)-

Pday: we wake up and exercise and then go do our laundry and study. Then we go and buy groceries and clean the house. Then we go to a church in el centro and use the wifi to write, then we play in the gym with the elders. We play basketball or frisbee or whatever else. IT'S SO FUN. There's not really anything to do here in the Valley so we just play sports together. We might go to the navy base next week though.  And yes I will always be writing in the afternoon because we have to do all that stuff in the morning and we don't have wifi at the apartment. Sorry! (I asked Hermana Fowlks if she could write email in the morning so I don't have to wait so long each Tuesday to get her emails!)
We spend our days going to appointments and visiting people and talking to people! Just doing what missionaries do!  I'm doing tons better, I've found more motivation in my purpose. This is my purpose:
"Invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo al ayudarles a que recibirán la evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su Expiación, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepción del don del Espíritu  Santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin."
(Invite people to come unto Christ and help them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.)

So yeah! You should learn that, and whenever you start to miss me, just remember that purpose because that is what I am doing! Then you'll know some Spanish too ;) this really is the best language.
Your fasting worked! 😘 Definitely. This morning I woke up with a new resolve to be a missionary and a greater understanding of why I am here. So it definitely worked!
Zone Conference April 8, 2016
It Rained!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Week 8 - Perks of Living in the Ghetto!

Hola familia y amigos!

This week, on Friday, I read a talk about becoming a consecrated missionary and it helped me SO MUCH. So I'm taking things one step at a time and improving myself day by day with the help of Heavenly Father.

So, as to my subject title.  Friday night we were getting ready to go to an appointment but we had to run back to the apartment to get something. So we left again, and all of a sudden Hermana Tuia was like "Oh no, I left the keys in the house!" And we were locked out.  But then we realized who lived in the apartments around us, and not a minute passed when a man walked out and we yelled, "Hey! Can you break into our house?" His response: "Of course!" So as he was sticking his card into our door to break in, we talked to him about what we do, and he was like "You guys should come visit me!" So we have an appointment with him tonight. But now we know that if we ever need to break in somewhere, we have neighbors that do it for a living!

General conference was also awesome!  I loved all of the talks.  One that really spoke to me was Elder Uchtdorf's. We are constantly being rebuilt and with God we can become who we are destined to become. Awesome. :)

I think that's it for this week, I love you all! Remember that Jesus Christ is our brother and our friend and our Savior.
Hermana Fowlks
Part of Sister Fowlks' letter to her Dad -
Hi Dad! 
So yes we have a car, and we're avoiding the bikes at all costs haha. It's just too hot! It will probably get up to about 120 by September. I speak Spanish a lot, but not full time. I'm starting to dream in Spanish, which is a sign that you're becoming fluent so that's good! 

Yeah the transition is still pretty rough. Sometimes I find myself wishing I was back in Mexico.... Which is bad because it distracts me! But I feel like it's getting better.  My companion is from Samoa, and it's just kind of hard because she has started to look to me as the leader.....and I don't know what I'm doing!
Yeah here in Brawley it's pretty much just like the town from the movie McFarland USA. The people here are very humble, and poor.   So yeah we committed someone to baptism, I did it in Spanish and everything was fine. But then after watching conference he was like "I need like a year to decide."    WHAT THE CRAP.  So we will probably have to drop his date. So we don't have anyone with a baptismal date for now, hopefully next week we'll have someone!
My studies are great! That's one of my favorite times of the day. Especially when I get to study Spanish. :)  Sounds like the kids are doing well in all of their activities!  There isn't really anything like that here because people here are so poor. So tell the kids to be grateful for everything! We listened to conference in English, just because we wouldn't have gotten very much out of it in Spanish haha!
I love you!!
Here is Sister Fowlks with her companion Sister Tuia and ward member Gloria.  These pictures were taken after the Sunday afternoon session of conference.  They watched it at the stake center which is about a 15 minute drive from Brawley.  Brawley is about 1.5 hours away from San Diego, close to the boarder of Arizona.