Friday, July 14, 2017

My Selfish Year...Finally after 20 years I had a week to myself.....

This past week was the first time I have been on my own in 20 years.  A week of not being the Taxi Driver, the Cook, the Maid, the Cheerleader, the Nurse, and all the other things that Mom's do on a regular daily basis.
So I have to admit I did do a lot of cleaning on my week off.  But that was part of my plan for the week.  And the really nice thing was that once something was clean and the way I liked it, it didn't get changed, or messed up.  I didn't cook one meal. I had take out food every day.  Which meant no dishes to do.  Yes ladies I had a week of not doing dishes!
I spent my nights watching my favorite movies...I had a girls night out with one of my best friends..
I had time working in my garden, and then I took a nice long walk at the Ashton Gardens....
I had a lot of quiet time.  And it was wonderful... Part of my selfish year is just doing things that help me heal and become balanced again.  And this week was a much needed week for me.  I think in some respects my whole family needed the week that we had each in our own place learning about ourselves and each other.
I'm excited for my family to be home and hear about their adventures. While it was nice to have a quiet week...I think I'm ready for the noise and crazy schedule of family life again....

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Mom of a Missionary...more than one e-mail in a week...what a nice surprise...

Where do I begin?

​CCM is over, if you couldn't tell from my last e-mail. No more wonky stories about things i've learned, it's time to get to work!
So, last night, I was assigned a new companion as well as my area. His name is Elder Arenalles, and he's really cool. I'll snap a picture of him later, but for now all you need to know is that he's a Latino and he's going to help train and prepare me for the mission field. Ready when you are, Elder! Basically, I've just been following him around all day. I've barely spoken a lick of English today, only for words that I don´t understand. Crazy!

Speaking of crazy experiences, here are a few from the past day and today alone.
I open my large malleta (Suitcase) to find out that my jabón (soap) had burst open during the flight and ¡Sorpresa! my camera was covered in shampoo. Yikes. Cleaned it off and, well, thank goodness it still works. Lost function in just one button, but I hardly ever use it so it's not a problem. At this point, I could care less about expo-metering and timers. 

The night of the assignments and a bit of training, we had to sleep with Missionaries in the Tampico area. A 9:00 PM crazy taxi ride through the city with a seatbelt that didn't work, squashed in between two other Elders! Que raro! How weird! Arriving at their casa, my brain was scattered. I had forgotten PJ's and sandals so I didn't bother taking a shower without them. Slept in borrowed shorts on a matress with a towel as a pillow and a small blanket to cover me. Loco!

We got up early to take a bus to Hidalgo, and then took a bus from Hidalgo to San Felipe. During the bus ride I had to use the bathroom, and ended up holding onto a railing for dear life as the bus speedily traversed bumpy Mexican roads!

San Felipe itself is a quaint little place. It's the Mexican equivalent of Bradford Vermont, except for two things. 
Okay, a lot of things.
First thing is that it's not Vermont. It's Mexico. Lets get that out of the way.
It's hot here, not necessarily humid, but hot.
The people here live in houses pretty much constructed of concrete. Myself and my companion included. We're pretty lucky because we have tiled floors. Check it out!
​¡Este es mi nueva cocina! (This is my new kitchen!) Feel free to send recipies, just nothing that needs an oven. I don´t exactly have that. I have a microwave and a burner plate! Just not an oven. I do have a freezer and fridge (and strawberry yogurt, yum).

San Felipe is so nice. We had dinner/lunch at a members house. She was so kind! There were enchiladas, frijoles, y un carne muy rico. Her house was very humble. Concrete floor, walls unpainted, laundry hanging in another room, but she was smiling! So was her son! If they can smile, I can do it too! Watch out, Mexico! There's a new Gringo in your city!

What else? Well, roosters roam the streets alongside stray dogs and squashed frogs, there's a street market in town which I'll probably be buying peaches from in the future, there's a shrine to the Virgin Mary just down the road from our house (apparently idolatry is a big problem here in Mexico), town is very nice, said hello to a lot of people and found out that I'll be in San Felipe for three months.
​Work very hard! I heard that the first week is very difficult. Bring it on! If I am to recieve joy in this work, there's only one solution, and that is to work! The Lord knows what I need, so if I ask and work hard, he'll make sure I have what is sufficient.

Spiritual experience: They finally gave me my own copy of "Adjusting to Missionary Life" (and it's about time), and there was a section on repentance that I needed to read. Your pal Elder Bowlby wants to think that he can be perfect, pero actualmente, no es posible (but actually, it's not possible). There was a section on repentance that had some words of comfort for me, and I'm glad I opened it. It seems that perhaps, in my rush to be perfect, I failed to realize that only the Savior is perfect, and that's why I have the power to do this work.

Still working on being perfect, though. Little by little and through Christ. It's nothing instantaneous.
​Until we next see each other! Outside the walls and inside a great church, Elder Bowlby, ¡trabajando con todo mi alma! (Working with all of my soul!)

Mom of a Missionary....And He is off to the Mission field...

Here is the first e-mail we received from our son as he set off to his actual mission.  No more 
easy days of the hard work of sharing the Gospel ...
If you like piña flavored ice-cream.
... And drowning in humidity! If you're not into sleeping, after flying real early! If you wished you just had a sketchbook... but it's in your suitcase! They kinda took those to the office... so I've got no pictures for sharing!

Buenos Dias/Buenas Tardes, amigos. Estoy yo, Elder Bowlby, who finally arrived in  Mexico.
It's been quite the journey for me since I last mailed everyone. Lots of hard work, lots of packing, moving, doing, fixing... and the hardest work hasn't even begun yet! Don't worry, I'm going to make sure that I work extra hard during these next two years. Then time will really fly!

I learned a lot at CCM too. Learning that yes, I am not perfect, nor does the Lord expect me to be.
I learned a lot about the Spirit and how it talks to us. How we learn and grow, how we better ourselves in the field.

Lots of difficult doctrine and hard work ahead, but I know that if I work hard all will be alright.

So! How about I share a little about
Mexico! You're probably dying to know what it's like here. No? Aw...

I'll just tell you anyways.

Woke up at 12:30 to get on a bus at 2:30 to catch a plane at 6:10. The plane ride was less than an hour and we arrived in Mexico at about 7:03 (6:03 AM Utah time for reference). Very excited to step outside the airport and take it all in. Sea level! Wow!

First off, it's humid. Really humid. More humid than New Jersey Humid. Crazy humid. But it's quite nice, really.

Second, lots of palm trees, palm leaves, beautiful flowers, and rain is random and short from what I can tell, so I had best bring my umbrella.

I had pineapple flavored ice-cream at 9:00 AM. I'll repent for that sin later (Unless you're of the belief that eating ice-cream at breakfast is not a bad thing). Not only was it a bizarre pineapple flavor, but the ice-cream itself came inside an actual pineapple that had been carved out, frozen solid, and was re-purposed as a bowl. Woah! There was also orange flavored ice-cream inside of a hollowed and frozen orange (Don't ask me how they managed that) as well as coconut, melon, and mango. Woah.

So far it has rained twice today. Very short and sporadic. As I type this, practically everyone who went on the early AM flight with me are asleep, and I am restless, walking in circles around a dining room table at the Mission home. I'll need to sleep eventually, but not now.

Spiritual experience of the E-mail. While sitting at the airport, there was a man a few seats down who was going to Tijuana (or something along those lines). The spirit prompted me to talk to him, so I did my best with my broken Spanish to try and communicate. He didn´t have any interest in religion (I believe he said he was agnostic), so after a little bit of conversation I carefully retreated to my seat. Then remembering I had a little pass-along card with me, I took it out of my pocket, and contemplated giving it to him, but coming up with a few reasons he would reject the card, I was hesitant. Nevertheless, the Spirit told me to give it to him. Still hesitant, I played with it in my hands for a few seconds until one of the other Elders who had also spoken with the man suggested that I give it to him. At that point, I knew what I had to do. Carefully handing him the pass-along card, I said something to the extent of "If you ever have a curiosity for the church in the future, this card is for you" in spanish. He took it with a smile and helped me out a little bit with my language faults. How kind of him!

Well, I've got a bit of a headache, so I´ll probably lay down soon. I'm assuming my P-days are Mondays now, so I'll be seeing you more on Monday! ¡Hasta Luego!

-Elder Bowlby

Mom of a Missionary.....The Last E-Mails from the MTC....

By the way, I have no idea when my next P-day is. Don´t freak out if you don´t hear from me for a while, I don´t even get to go to an I-pad mission, so I´m probably going to be e-mailing from an internet café or a library when next we meet. ¡Hasta Luego! Until Later!  So apparently, Speckles is not only a she, but she's a Mom! She was in this tree with two kittens. I could only get a picture of her ear. They must be well-fed with all the fat birds here at CCM.

New radical idea for a series of sorts?? COMMANDMENT FORCE (how campy/cheesy). Two of the 10 commandments are listed in the scriptures below, with their proper locations in both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon.

You could probably figure out by yourself that this relates to the Word of Wisdom, a latter-day commandment to avoid addictive substances like Alcohol and Cigarrettes and such. This is one of the commandments that is most difficult for investigators to over come, hence the entangling thorns.

​I think one of the best things about Mexico is that... yes. It´s not perfect. A lot of it is run-down and partially unconstructed. It´s got a charm to it, and the people are still trekking through!

Charlie Brown´s Christmas tree comes to mind. It´s not such a bad little country, it just needs a little love! 

Might as well get all my doodling out of the way before I hit the streets 24/7. I´ll probably be confined to only drawing on P-Day
STANDOFF] Who is this menacing triangle headed man? His tie is amazing.

​I can tell the quality of any given day by how well I draw the snake when I get back. This must have been a good day.

The character gag for this critter is that nobody can kill him. They´re really brave, too. One landed on my pencil right in front of my face, begging me to try and smack him. I´m not very fond of having my pencil fly into my face, thank you.​

​It looks like I am out of space for this E-mail. I have more to send, but I´ll send it another day. Until then! Love you!!
I love seeing all the photo's my son sends with his e-mails.  It is hard to believe how fast the weeks and months are moving.  I hope he stays safe on his mission.
Looks like he got one more e-mail in before heading off....

¡Hola! Estoy yo, Elder Bowlby! Beep Boop, Skiddilybop, escalofriante... ¡y otras palabras!
Check out the Olmeca! (Check out how awkward I am!) Totally ready to go out and interact with who knows how many people (in a not awkward way)!

n all seriousness, hello! It´s me. Been doing alright. Yeah, there are struggles here. The important thing is that through the love of the Savior and the power of God, I´ll be able to overcome anything! Even self-doubt! Yeah, that's a fun one! 
Don´t worry, leave the worrying to me. Repentance is a process that Missionaries need to do daily. If we´re not repenting, how are we supposed to bring others to repentance? Worthiness is something I strive for daily, after all. Need to have the spirit with me, or else my message is just words from a bumbling gringo's mouth.

Bags are being packed for the departure on monday. I've got my things in order, I´m amazed that it all fits. There is still some re-adjustment to do, but i´ve got a whole hour on saturday to prepare a bit more.

or those of you who are wondering, this is what a typical lunch looks like here at CCM. I hear that food in Tampico is "muy rico". This is pretty great too, of course! That little oreo desert you see next to the apple juice does not taste like what you think it does. It´s almost bitter. Bitter in a good way.

h, and the fruit here tastes way better than it does in the States. I had the best peach i've ever had in my life a few days ago, it was quite tart and tasty. That´s right. I like tart peaches. Argue with me about it when I get back if you so desire.

I´ve been letting the spirit guide me and help me out with my experiences here. I've been learning a lot about Christlike attributes during my daily study, and I have to give a quick lesson on them this sunday during church. I´ve been making little cards to go along with the attributes that I am studying, as well as applying them in my life. I've been feeling more peace in my life already.

There will be more dibujos in a following e-mail, I just want to conserve space.

Seeming how the field begins soon, I also want to share a spiritual experience every e-mail I send. There have been a few devotionals in the past weeks that have had topics concerning the atonement of Christ and the power of his selfless act for us. I'm the kind of person that struggles with the fact that I can´t be perfect, and 9 times out of 10 I feel like my past desicions make me unworthy to serve the Lord in this perfect work. The past few devotionals have really spoken to me, for when we are humble and confess our sins before God, and forsake them, he is able to heal us, and he remembers our sins no more.
Now, that doesn´t mean that we can simply say "I will sin now and repent later and all will be fine." Let it be known that God will not be mocked.
Now, where I am in regards to this issue. Yes, I did not make the best desicions in the past. But did I lie to get out here? Of course not. I feel guilt when I make a sarcastic remark that was uncalled for, or accidentally move somebody's suit when I was just trying to bring it to them. To think that I could feel no remorse for lying to a Bishop, a Stake President, or even my SISTER would be incredilous.
We will all have feelings of guilt in our lives, but everything can be swept away. There is a scripture in Moroni that I would like you to look up if you have time. Moroni 10:32. 
I know some of you are hesitant to read the Book of Mormon, but this scripture was so powerful to me when I opened to it during one of my personal studies, merely by being led there.

So, am I perfect? No.
I hope that will make me a better teacher. An imperfect teacher to an imperfect people. I pray that the Spirit will be with me, and will be with you all as you continue to read my E-mails and keep me in your thoughts.

Even if I baptize nobody. Even if nobody will bear to let me into their homes. Even If I must return home early for whatever thing may afflict me.
How great shall my joy be knowing that I have brought myself closer to Christ.
That´s one soul already, and I haven´t even made it to Tampico.

Best of wishes, lots of love!

-Elder Bowlby.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mom of a Missionary...The first phone call home...And more e-mails....

You only get to talk to your Missionary twice a year...Mothers day and Christmas.  So our first phone call from our Missionary came soon after he left which was nice.  It was nice to hear his voice and to ask him questions.  We got to speak with him for 30 minutes.   Perhaps at Christmas we will be able to skype.  So we can see him too.  I have to say when I miss my son's voice I have a voice mail message from him on my phone, and I play it.  I know sounds silly, but it's like he is talking to me for a moment.  I don't listen to it that often.  But every now and then I do..

The photo came from his e-mail.... So here you go the next e-mail from Mexico...
¡Buen Dia, Amigos y Familia!
Soy yo, Elder Bowlby! It´s already been a month since I left home, time is going by quickly! It´s so bizarre that I haven´t made it to the field yet, either!!
My district is going to the temple today, as a result, there aren´t going to be many new photos (I´m sorry! I know you love them, but there´s not going to be time to send any!) On the flip side, our next Prep-Day is going to be Miercoles (Wednesday). Apparently there has been a strange schedule swap on my last week here at CCM. Looks like you won´t have to wait an entire week to hear from me.

Here´s a photo that was taken of my District a couple weeks back. I´m on the far right. The Elder with the teal tie right next to me is Elder Curran, to the left of him is Elder Muncey, then Elder Gunness, Elder Spunaugle is in the front with his tie in the air with Elder Grilliot behind him, and then to the far left is Elder Fielding. 
I've been using this can as a water bottle for the past few days. I don´t know why I wanted to share a photo of it with you other than to say that the Peach Nectar is probably the best flavor, and since they don´t have tons of restricting laws in Mexico regarding sugar, any sort of flavored drink is much better tasting because they can use real sugar. Not exactly healthy, but I love my sweets so what can I say?

And it wouldn´t be a complete week​ without at least one drawing from yours truly. Hardly a day passes where something doesn´t give me some sort of inspiration. Check out this big fella!

Speaking of striking inspiration, I've been working on focusing on my studies more and my daydreams less. I bought a journal from the tienda which I call my TiWiFi book, meaning "Think it, Write it, Forgeddabout it!" I bought it wednesday afternoon and already there´s three pages of notes that I´ve written down in haste to pay better attention to my teachers. So far, it's been fairly effective.

I´ll try to answer some (if not all) of your questions as well, so here we go! 

"What is the weirdest tasting thing you have eaten so far?"
Strangely, the sweets have been the oddest tasting items on the menu. The main entree's for the meals are always great (I'm not picky, I just like hot food). The sweets however, have always been strange. From a milky-strawberry gelatin, a lemon-lime flavored frozen mousse bar, and there´s this strange ice-cream called "Dulce De Leche" and it's flavor, while very good, nobody in my district can quite nail down what it is.

"What's the weirdest Spanish word you've learned?"
I once asked my teacher for the longest Spanish word he knew, and he gave me the name of a mountain here in Mexico. Parangaricutirimicuaro (Or something of the like). Stranger yet, I know how to pronounce it!

"Are you learning how to deal with the more reticent investigators?"
I have no idea what reticent means, but if it means anything along the line of "Stubborn" or "Difficult" then yes, I am learning a lot! One of our teachers is playing the role of a man named Jair, and in our lessions with him, we've had to push really hard to get him to follow commitments and to read el Libro de Mormón. We´ve been making good progress, though. At the end of every lession, he´s always sure to give us advice and feedback.

"When do you leave for the field?"
In short, the 29th of May is when I finally ship out of the MTC and go to The Mission Field.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. I'll be honest, my e-mails have been quite sugar-coated the past few weeks, and this is quite a difficult journey that I have embarked on... But I want you to know that I am doing better every day. I am learning to rely on the Lord more and more, and I am learning how to deal with stress more and more. Every day is a new experience, and I´m sure that it will be no different in the field. In the wise words of the Prophet Moroni:

Ether 12:6; And now I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye recieve no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Trials are abundant in this work, but having faith I will overcome, I will recieve that witness of the Father´s love for me.

Love you all! God Bless, and see you Wednesday!
Elder Bowlby

Mom of a Missionary.... The weekly email...That can't be written and sent fast enough.

I'll be honest on E-mail day, I carry my phone around with me and check it constantly.  I can't wait for that e-mail from my son to arrive.  It's hard to only hear from your child once a week, and only by e-mail.  You get into a pattern of thinking you know exactly what time the e-mail will arrive, and when it is late...Like really late in your mind....Well that is hard... But here is the next e-mail from Elder Bowlby Somewhere in Mexico...
Whether you wanted to invite them in or not,
 you´ll be hearing from a Missionary these next two years!

It´s me, Elder Bowlbot! Boop bop, would you like to hear a message?

Just kidding! It´s yours truly, Elder Bowlby. Had some spare time, a cardboard box, and a sharpie today, so I made a little TV head for myself. The other Elders in my Casa thought it was pretty funny. In all seriousness, Missionaries aren´t robots, and we´re not just giving out carbon-copy messages. I´ve got to learn how to understand the needs of the investigator so that way the spirit can work in our discussions and bring others closer to Jesucristo! (That´s how you say Jesus Christ in spanish, by the way).

So in class, we´re practicing teaching people, not lessions. We´ve been practicing with our teachers as investigators since week one, and since last week, we practice with volunteers on saturday mornings. This week, the students are going to practice being investigators to better understand how the spirit works with a person. We were asked to choose a person who we know really well and take their role, being authentic as possible. In my mind, there was nobody better than my Dad, because I know his conversion story, likes, wants, and history with the church pretty well. In a sense, I want to re-live those discussions he had with the missionaries to get a better understanding. Quick! Send me some things my Dad would say so I can translate them into spanish! I just hope my spanish to english dictionary has words like "Carbuerator".

Last week, we went to the México City Temple! This is the view from the front. It looks like a huge fortress!

Oh, and by the way, I went into Mexico City today to get my green card! I can officially live here now, fellas! Mexico City is a crazy place, and while I wasn´t able to bring my camera with me to Immigration, I was able to bring it with me to the Temple, of course. I'll send a bunch of photos in a secondary e-mail so I have space, but most of them are blurry reference photos... Wonder what I'm up to behind the scenes, yet?

Speaking of behind the scenes, one of my struggles I´ve had in the past week is to stay focused! Oops! I'm not accustomed to long days of studying, and there's often nothing I want more than to draw... but if I want to bring others to the Savior, I have to bring myself there first! Don't worry, I'm getting better. I´m almost at the point where I can have a discussion in spanish and not have to stop because I don´t know a word.
That being said, it doesn´t hurt to have fun every once in a while. 

I´m also learning how to consecrate my talents to the Lord! I used this in a discussion about the Plan of Salvation (And yes it´s all in Spanish). Notice that Jesus and his atonement are the center of the plan. That´s the most important part!​

Thank you all for your concern over my loss of cash, by the way. I´m grateful that you all would like to send something, but the postal service here in Mexico is inclined to open all letters that 1: Are adressed to anyone with the first name "Elder" and 2: Don´t have a picture of the Virgin Mary on it. Don´t know why, but apparently having the Virgin Mary on your mail will keep people from opening it unjustly.
But, please, refrain from sending me things ;)

And, as you all are excited to hear from me every week (at least I hope), I too look forward to reading all of your e-mails every week. I´m overjoyed to hear how you are all doing, and It´s definitely the highlight of my e-mail hour. Thank you all so much for your love and your prayers, and most of all, thank you for your time! It means a lot to me that you´re willing to read and send messages.

The next e-mail will mostly be photos. Love you all so much! Stay strong, and God Bless!

-Elder Bowlby
¡Más Photos, otra vez! 

So, Ciudad de Mexico has a lot of funky structures, parks, and buildings! I have no idea what this was for, but it looked nice!

Love the colors and funky designs on the buildings. The city seems to have a shop for just about everything! Guitars and ice-cream... you name it! (I even saw a piñata in the likeness of President Trump (Uh oh!)))

Captured very poorly here, Oxxo is the Mexican equivalent of 7/11. You can find one on pretty much every block (Or at least every block that I could see). Also, Mexican taxies are a bright pink and white! Imagine that!

Apparently, this housing complex was so ugly, that CDMX was like "Okay we´re just gonna paint your house a color and you're gonna like it." It looks beautiful from afar on the CCM campus.

​A solemn MYSTERY CHARACTER (who will probably be talked about later) reminds me to not forget my things in the AM. Very forgetful. If I forget my name tag, I´m pretty much nobody!

Bought some colored pencils with money that wasn´t stolen (More reason for you not to send me money), and I´ve been doing what I do best! Making confusing-looking trading cards.

And this one is "SNAKE OF BREAKS" (Like, taking a break.) 
​Next time, I might have one or two based on the 10 commandments or a scripture or something ;)Love you!!
It always a relief to get the weekly email.  To know my son is doing well.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mom of a Missionary... E-mails from Mexico

I have to say I am so glad to be a Mom of a missionary in this age of e-mail.  I can't think of how hard it must have been to wait for mail to arrive from your missionary in the days before e-mail.  It really would have felt like a snail was bringing the mail.  I do pretty well each week with my son gone, until about a day or two before our e-mail day.  Then the days can not go by fast enough.  Is he safe?  Is he being treated kindly?  What adventures has he been on.... Here is our second e-mail from the mission field...
I've alread been robbed?! (Not Clickbait)

Hola, amigos! It's Elder Bowlby, here with a quick update.

Thank you all for your e-mails! I´m going to try and alternate between one big group e-mail one week, and then smaller, more personal e-mails with each of you the next! Hopefully that means I will be able to answer all of your questions, as I only have an hour here each friday to read and send e-mails.
(Clouds rolling off of my favorite mountain early in the morning. Tree didn´t exactly help out with the shot.)

But, in brief, the highlights of this week.
I´ve had a lot of classes to go to! A lot of learning spanish, a lot of learning how to better teach and serve the people, a lot of learning about (and by) the Holy Ghost. My companion Elder Curran and I are working out the issues in our companionship, but we learn a lot about each other each day.
(The CCM even has a cat that likes to lurk around. ¡Escalofriante!)

One day, we returned from our studies, and one of my roommates checked their wallet to find that they were missing 1500 pesos (Like, 50 bucks US). We all checked our wallets and, surprise! Somebody had picked the locks to our closet and secretly stolen our cash. I lost my only 100 dollar bill, which I was saving for emergencies (and sweets (and buying myself a christmas souvenir)). I still have some cash left, but a loss is a loss. I'm now keeping better track of all my valuables so I don't lose anything of huge value. Thank goodness nobody is in the mood to steal sketchbooks!

On the flip side, I made a new character because of this experience! I call him "Golpego". Check him out!
That´s all for the mass e-mail. Hopefully I´ll have enough time to mail you all individually, but if you don´t get one, please don´t think I have forgotten you! An hour isn´t a ton of time, sadly :(
I love you all! God Bless!

~Elder Bowlby
here is our personal letter...Hello, Hello!

Hello everybody at home! I´m glad to hear that you´re all keeping busy and that you´re all perservering with faith! I´ve been very busy as well, and I've had a lot of challenges recently!

If you haven´t gotten my snail mail yet (I sent it last week because I didn't have enough time to send it at all) then I won´t spoil it for you. Just do me a favor and don´t actually send me anything like I ask for in the letter. I don´t need that kind of temptation, as I´m already way too tempted to draw in class o_o

There´s no such thing as dandelions here at CCM. Every morning the lawn is carefully cut and cared for by a lot of workers. I kinda miss the vibrant yellow.

Every morning, I get up at 6:30 AM, shower, and then head off to an hour of personal study time from about 7:15 to 8:15. Breakfast is at 8:15, and then the following hours until Lunch at 1:15 are a mess of language study, practice investigators, Technology Assisted Language Learning, Gym, and planning time. It´s likewise in the hours from lunch to dinner at 6:30. After dinner, there´s an hour or so of just study time, and then at 9:00 we retire to our casa (where I spend most of my time drawing and doodling before bed.

There is in fact a store here on campus where you can buy things. Found out that I left my umbrella behind and that my exercise shorts were far too small, so I saved up some pesos (we get 100 per week we stay here) to get them. Truth be told, I´m also buying cookies and chocolate milk to comfort myself. The routine is not easy on me, that´s for sure.

We only leave the MTC on P-day to attend the temple. Today is actually our day to go! I´ll be going shortly after I finish e-mailing people.

Please feel free to open my door. Poor Amber must be beyond confused as to why I haven´t left it in forever.
And yes, I have had to do my own laundry! It´s pretty easy, and all you have to do here is buy those little soap pods at the tienda, and ta-da! Clean clothes.

I´m very glad that things have been going well for Dad. I´ve been keeping him in my prayers, and I´ll be sure to start praying for all of you as well! I have faith in you all, so have faith in the Lord and anything is possible!

Love you so much!

-Elder Bowlby

P.S: Thought you might get a laugh out of this, Dad. There are a lot of knockoff characters as mascots and on advertising here in México, so here´s a picture of Calcifer advising for his own demise on a fire extinguisher.

Also, showed this drawing to a Latino at dinner and he said that "It´s like Mexican Thomas!"

So what do you do when your child e-mails home that they have been robbed??  Do you freak out?  Do you try to get them to come home?  I actually felt peace with it.  You can be robbed anywhere really.  I had told my son when he was leaving to take only little bits of money with him and to hide his valuables.  Unfortuantely he did not listen to me and he lost some money.  But he learned a lesson, even when you feel you are in a safe place, things can happen.
I did e-mail back to him and said to be grateful that the person did not attack them to take their money, be thankful that you are all safe.  And I also told him that perhaps he should pray for the person who took the money.  Perhaps their life is hard, perhaps they had no other way to feed their family.  I also told him to pray that this persons life might change so they don't have to steal.  It is interesting how we are all growing and learning through this mission.  Each relying on The Lord to keep us safe.  And each sharing our perspectives and praying for each other.
Until the next e-mail.