Monday, January 30, 2012

To: Ya'll From: The Armpit of Alaska

Hey yall! Hows things going?

This past week started out really slow, but it picked up and we had a great week. Last Monday as I told yall last time, we helped out with the K300. The Banquet for it was Monday night and they handed out all the awards and had all the mushers come up and say a few words. It was pretty cool to be there for. They told stories about being out there on the trail. They were both interesting and really funny. Rohn Buser won the K300 and is gonna run the Iditarod.

Tuesday we almost ended up driving some mushers to the airport along with their dogs and gear, but they worked everything out to where we didn't have to help. It wasn't that exciting of a day. Tuesday we went to the Martins for supper. We had homemade pizza! Sister Martins brother in law just moved here from Brazil and is an area authority.

Wednesday we helped out at the Library again. They really appreciate the help we give them. In my mind I'm like, hey, you provide me with a warm place to help out for 2 hours. I'm more than happy to help! As long as there is no cold involved! The cold was pretty miserable all week long. We ate at the Chavez's and then we went and played volleyball with the youth for 30 minutes or so and then we went and taught Paul and his wife. They are very humble and nice people. I enjoy teaching them, and I always learn something from them.

Thursday we called in to Anchorage and had a meeting with them over the phone. You get to learn a lot from others out here, you just have to be humble enough to take it in and listen and then apply it to yourself. That's one thing I am grateful for is humble people who let us in their homes and allow us to share the wonderful gift of the gospel! We met with Audrey at the church again and read with her. She is a very happy, bubbly girl. She is so positive! It's great! We were supposed to play basketball, but only a couple showed up because most were at the tournament either in Bethel or in Galena. So we played horse, pig, knockout, 21. It was pretty fun!

Friday we did lots of service. We helped the Helgesen's tidy up the back of the house. They help us out so much and feed us whenever there is a blank spot on the supper calendar. They let us do our laundry there and everything. They truly serve others and try to help as many people as they can. Friday night we taught their kids and their kids' friends about the scriptures and watched a kids movie about Ammon and King Lamoni. If you wanna read it, it's in Alma Chapters 17, 18, and 19. That's one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon.

Saturday the Branch had a potluck at the church and there were lots of people there. We went out and tried to invite as many people as possible to it. Lots of them showed up too which was pretty cool! I love potlucks because you can sit and socialize with others and get to know people better and have a good time. Everyone that came enjoyed it and left full!
Sunday was Branch Conference. It was pretty cool! The talks were awesome and it seemed like it was centered around sharing the gospel with everyone. They told us a story in Sunday school about a beautiful pearl that a man found and he wanted to show everyone. He decided to make a box for it and it was a very nice box with handcarved wood, nice decorative carvings in the side and jewels around the top border of the box. On the inside it was lined with blue velvet and the pearl sat inside. The man set up a display and when people came to look at it, they all commented on how nice the box was and how beautiful the box was, but nobody commented on the beautiful pearl inside. Discouraged and disappointed the man closed his box and took the display down and put it in the attic and never opened it again. The pearl is the gospel. The box represents a building. It doesn't matter what the building looks like, it's what happens inside the building that matters. One thing that President Chadwick said also that caught my attention was that, "Church is a supplement for what should already be happening in the home". I am very grateful for the way my parents raised me, teaching me to walk in the ways of the Lord. I love them for that. 
I love yall and hope yall are doing well! Hope this finds you well!
-Elder Taylor Bowes
-Isaiah 41:10

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kuskokwim 300!

This week was pretty cool. We played basketball with the neighborhood kids on Monday. I have probably already said this before, but we teach them before we play and they love the lessons. I think they like basketball more, but they still get something out of what we teach them.
The beginning of the week was the usual, not anything too terribly interesting. Elder Shumway still has terrible balance on ice. He has fallen more times than he has been on his mission if you count the days. Maybe. It's close if it's not. Thankfully he hasn't broken anything!
Wednesday we went and did service at the Library again. Cleaning and puttin' books back on the shelf. We had lunch with Corbin at Subway and he bought! It was awesome. There are NO 5 dollar footlongs in Alaska. It's like 8 or 9 bucks for a foot long. Crazy expensive. He was gonna be racing in the Kuskokwim 300, but had to withdraw. We have been teaching him a little. Wednesday night the Young women sang at the K300 concert. They did a great job.
Thursday was pretty good. Got to go and do Bingo again! I love helping out with that. Haven't had anyone fall asleep on me lately. That was a funny day. Thursday night Bro. Wheeler's daughter was baptized! It was cool! They had some food afterwards and it was soooo good!
Friday was gonna be a really awesome day! We were all set to help out Ramey Smyth, a dog musher who finished 2nd last year in the Iditarod race. When we got there to help he decided he didn't need our help getting his stuff to the starting line. :( Friday night we went to the start of the Kuskokwim 300 dog sled race! It was really exciting! Those dogs, once they get hooked up they are ready to run, like really hard and fast and they have to tie the sleds to something that can withstand the force of the dogs pulling so they don't take off from excitement. I have some pictures from that, but yet again, I can't send them. Next week there will probably be like 30 pictures coming. Sorry to keep you waiting. The start of the race is on the frozen river! We drove on the river Friday, Saturday and Sunday! It was pretty cool! No rules on the river!
Saturday was good. Sunday was really good! The people who spoke talked about daily scripture study. It was really good. Lots of people needed to hear that. The scriptures can change the way your day goes! Read them! I challenge yall to read the Book of Mormon, if you don't wanna do that then at least read the Bible. Read something spiritual. It gives you a boost! There is a scripture that goes something like "Feast upon the words of Christ, for they will tell you all things." something like that. Apply the scriptures to yourself! It helps you improve yourself! Love yall! Have a good one!!!
-Elder Taylor Bowes

Monday, January 16, 2012

0 degrees!!!!!!! YES!!!!

Hey yall!
This past week was pretty good! We worked hard and taught lots! We played basketball with the local neighborhood kids last monday. They are pretty dang good and they are getting me into shape! Thank goodness! Monday we went to the Helgesen's and had family home evening with them. That was lots of fun, they are a great family and they help us out lots! We do our laundry there and they feed us really whenever.
Tuesday we decided to go knock some doors because it was 'warm', haha yea right! It was probably -5 and with the wind chill it was probably -20. It was good though we met a man who is an Elder in the Moravian church. He was a very nice man and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He said he would read it and that he would call us when he comes to town, he lives in a village north of Bethel. Might I add there are lots of villages around Bethel, I think like 50 or somethin like that.
Wednesday we went and did service at the Library and cleaned shelves and re-shelved books. I actually like doing it. Feels good to help others. When we serve others we are serving God as well because He is our Heavenly Father and we are all brothers and sisters. We have been reading the Book of Mormon with lots of people and it's cool because it's like I am re-reading it 2 times all at once! It's great! Wednesday night we went to Paul's house and taught him and his wife, they just got married last month, we talked about eternal marriage with them. She just joined the church about 10 months ago in Las Vegas and they are very excited for when they can be sealed for time and all eternity. That is something that I am so grateful for. I know that families can be together and I am glad that my parents were married in the temple back in.... well whatever year that was.... haha sorry mom and dad! That is something that is so comforting to me is to know that we will be together especially when a family member or loved one passes away. Last year I lost my Grandpa Beene and also Granny in November. It is sad that they are not here, but I know I will see them again. I know families are forever. The Lord desires that for everyone!
Thursday we went and were supposed to help with Bingo, but it ended up being Slaviq. It is a Russion Orthodox celebration of Christmas. It was pretty neat to see, they sang in Upik and one verse of Silent Night in English. I had never seen anything like it before so it was a great experience! We played basketball with the kids around here again. It is pretty cool because we teach them before we play basketball and we get them to pray! For some it could be the first time in their life, or it could be a regular thing, but prayer is something we are supposed to do. God wants to hear from us. It's like a long distance phone call to someone you haven't seen in a long time. We make Him happy when we pray, or call on Him and I know I feel better when I do! He loves us and wants to hear from us!
Not too much happened Friday or Saturday, but they were good days and we worked hard to find people to teach!
Sunday was really good! Sister Stockton and Sister Martins both spoke about the importance of primary. I remember my days in Primary! Seems like forever ago! I loved Primary. I might not have learned a whole lot, but I do remember the singing! I can still remember most of the words! I found this 'Scripture a Day' thing in our room and one of the scriptures was Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." That is so true! I don't remember learning much, but I do remember doing it. My parents raised me right and taught me to follow the Lord. I love them for that and I hope every other kid gets that chance! I am learning so much out here! It's awesome!
I love what I am doing and I don't wanna be anywhere else! Sorry I don't have any pictures! I do have some very pretty pictures of the sunsets though! I will get them to you soon!!!
-Elder Taylor Bowes

Monday, January 9, 2012

6 degrees farenheit! Shorts and tshirt time!!! hahaha!

They said this week past week was supposed to warm up. Whoever forecasted that should be fired. It was in the -20's and -30's all week with wind chills in the -50's and -60's and even the -70's one night! It has been so cold the cd player won't work! Today feels so good though! I am pretty happy with the warm up! it was 6 degrees today. We played basketball with the kids in neighborhood for 3 1/2 hours today. It was lots of fun. I taught myself to shoot left handed this past week and I can make 3's and free throws and stuff. Having a basketball court outside of my room is awesome! I am getting into shape as well. I am down to 175 now.
There isn't really much to tell yall about this week. Nothing terribly exciting happened. This week we ran out of water! Yay! They deliver water to the church twice a week and they didn't fill it up on Saturday because the nozzle or something was frozen. that was pretty not cool! My camera cord still isn't here so I can't send any pictures yet. We are currently having a blizzard right now. It's pretty cool, it's not one of those terrible ones to where you won't be able to go out and do anything.
We went to the library and did service again on Wednesday and on Thursday we went and helped with Bingo again. That was an interesting one. The lady I was helping this time suddenly just went to sleep on the couch, like fell onto the couch knocked out. I wasn't sure whether to be worried or just not say anything. I asked them if this was normal and apparently it is so that was a relief. Nobody I helped won this week though. I like helping out there, the people are very nice and the residents are pretty funny.
We spoke in church this past Sunday. Elder Shumway gave the talk he gave when he left for his mission, it was pretty good. I was going to try and do the same, but I decided to just write down 5 points and talk about them. I picked that up from you dad. It was pretty cool. I ended up talking about a story I heard about someone following Christ on the beach. I'll tell it to you.
There was a man who saw Christ walking along the water on the sandy beach and ran and followed him. After a while of following he says "Is it always gonna be this hard to follow you?". Christ turns to him and says "What if it is?". It's just a short little story and it has a lot of meaning. What are you willing to do to follow the Savior? What if it is always hard? Would you still do it? I know I would! He has done so much for me in my short life and He has been everywhere that anybody will ever go. No one is EVER alone. He is always there for us! All we have to do is what Peter did when he walked on water towards Christ. “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

I love my mission and the things I am learning! I learn so much from others and they don't even know it! There is a song with the lyrics "When I see others begin to change, I know I'll never be the same!". I don't look forward to the day that I have to leave this place that I have grown to love so much, but I do look forward to seeing my family again. I hope this finds yall well and that you always look forward in life. Trust in the Lord and then go and do what he asks you to do!! I love yall and I hope to hear from yall soon!

Elder Taylor Bowes 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!

I have learned so very much in the past year! I don't even know where to begin. I believe this has probably been the best year of my life so far! I have met so many awesome people and made lifetime friends for sure!
This week was pretty good!
Monday was a little boring though because there is nothing to do here for fun except get cold! lol Plus everything was closed because it was the day after christmas. Monday night we went to the Kreider's for supper with the Helgesen's. That was lots of fun. They are definitely a funny family that is never having a dull moment.
Tuesday was pretty good we went and taught Audrey at her work on break. She is a native girl here in Bethel. She is very nice and seems very bouncy/bubbly. Its funny to watch haha. She is pretty sincere and has a lot on her plate for the next little bit. She walks everywhere too. Idk how she does it... It's sooooo cold out right now. Tuesday night we went to the Charlton's for supper again and then had a lesson with Elin. She is a very sincere young woman. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and it was a pretty good lesson.
Wednesday we went to the Library and did some service. We help them restock shelves and straighten up when we go in. We also had a lesson with Daniel. He is a convert to the church and wants to go on a mission which is awesome! He is 23 and is leaving for school in Arizona in a couple of days. He is an awesome guy who will be a great missionary wherever he goes! The rest of the day we went around and saw a few people and it was pretty dang cold.
Thursday was pretty good. We had district meeting with the Elders in Nome over the phone. After that we went to the Senior Center and helped them out with Bingo! The lady I was helping was a very sweet woman. I helped her out and she won the first 2 games! She was so happy and gave me the candy that came with the little prizes that they had. I enjoyed helping them and putting smiles on their faces! I definitely look forward to doing that this week! We had another lesson with Elin and it was great! We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She understands everything very easily which makes it so easy for us. Lessons are great when the people you are teaching do just as much talking or more than you do yourself. Everyone feels edified! Then we taught the kids in the neighborhood around the church and played basketball with them. It was lots of fun. I enjoy teaching them and playing with them!
Friday we went around town and tried to do as much as we could in the cold. It was -29 that day I think. I wish it would warm up to -5 or something or 0. That would be pretty nice to have!
Saturday was New Years Eve. We had to be in early that night. We celebrated our New Year's Eve by playing cards and drinking water and watching church movies and stuff haha. It was fun, I wish there would have been more than just us playing though. People here like to shoot guns straight up into the air here on new years eve.... Not very smart. While thinking about New Years and how we always set new years resolutions and started thinking about this video that I watched on Here is the link to it. When the page comes up click the new videos tab and then watch the video titled "New Year's: Look Not Behind Thee". It's a very good video about New Years.
Sunday was pretty good too. We taught Edward about Fasting and why we fast and how we fast for a purpose. We taught Oscar about keeping the sabbath day holy and we got to teach Elin again before she left today. In every lesson we felt the spirit and so did they. I love Sundays because you can sit back, reflect on what Christ has done for us and really focus on the gospel and study it and relax. I am so grateful for my mission. I have learned so much and have grown so much as a young man. I truly believe these will be the best 2 years of my life so far, and I am sure there will be things to come that will be better, but they will always be the best 2 years for my life! I love yall and hope yall had a wonderful New Year's and that you set awesome goals for yourselves and that you are able to accomplish them!
-Elder Taylor Bowes
Pictures will be coming whenever I get my camera cord. Hopefully soon!