Monday, March 19, 2012

Good morning from Latta, South Carolina

Slowly we are finding our way around our Branch boundaries.  The distance between members is awesome.  We are grateful for a GPS system on our iphone.  This allows us to find these remote addresses of "unknown" members on our list of visits.  So far we have not had a positive response from  any of our visits.  We have invited a lot of people to come to Church, however.

Yesterday we spoke in Sacrament meeting.  We are grateful that our "turn" is over for now.  Actually, it was a good way for us to be introduced formally to the Branch members.  We are feeling more at home each week.

Elder and Sister Lovell and Linda and Derrick Weatherford came here for dinner yesterday.  It was fun for us to have guests for Sunday dinner.  We served Swiss steak, potato casserole, broccoli, tossed salad, home-made rolls with fresh strawberry freezer jam, and banana cream pie for dessert.  The rolls and jam were a big hit, and Sister Weaherford really liked the potato casserole.  

Elder and Sister Lovell will leave a week from today.  They have been so helpful in showing us around the area and introducing us to members.  The Branch members will truly miss Elder and Sister Lovell.  Their service in this Branch has been a real labor of love to everyone with whom they came in contact.  We will never be able to replace them, but hopefully we will eventually make friends.

Elder Keller and Elder Wilkinson (our newest Elder) asked if we would drive them around on Sunday for some "media" lookups.  These are basically names from referral cards that come to the mission.  The Elders have limited mileage, so we were happy to provide transportation to these out-of-the-way places.  From the several places they made contact, one resulted in a teaching appointment this week.  For this one find, they are grateful.

We had a serious rain storm, so while waiting for the rain to subside, the Elders, the Weatherfords, Lovells, and the Bowmans all read the scriptures in the Easter eggs that I had prepared.  Marcie sent us a copy of the scriptures, and I filled some plastic eggs with the various symbols represented by the scripture references.  Fortunately, I did not have to have the scriptures translated into Dutch or Vietnamese as was done on previous Easter holidays.

Saturday seven sisters from the Marion Branch attended a Stake Relief Society birthday celebration in Florence, S.C.  The meeting was especially good--Sister Holm (our mission president's wife) and our Stake president both spoke.  A video presentation introduced the fifteen General Relief Society presidents.  It was really well done.  We all participated in a service project in which 200 personal hygiene kits were filled to be distributed to each ward or branch.  The story of "The 100 Dresses" was the theme for the luncheon event.  Dresses were donated, and were to be sent to shelters with women in need.  Lunch was delicious.

All is well in the Bowman household.  Love to all. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Notes from the South Carolina Columbia Mission

Greetings from Latta, South Carolina.  We arrived in Columbia on Saturday, February 25, 2012, and we were met by President and Sister Holm.  Sunday we accompanied President and Sister Holm to Spartanburg where they spoke in Sacrament meeting at the First and Second Wards at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

We ate lunch at the home of Brother and Sister Baker and their family.  Elders Hancock and Hendricks asked President Holm to visit with an investigator, Karen (a cousin of Bakers).  After lunch we traveled to Greenville for the President's interview with Elders Sorensen and Thompson.  We met Sisters Johnson, Chai, and Nakajima.  We arrived back to the mission home at 7 p.m.  We witnessed a typical day in the life of a mission president.  Early Monday morning we arrived at the mission office, picked up our new car--a Mazda 3--visited with the missionaries in the office, had an interview with President Holm, then headed for Marion, South Carolina--our new assignment.

Elder and Sister Lovell (from Ririe, Idaho) had moved out of their home to make it ready for us to move in.  They were living with Linda and Derrick Weatherford.  The house was not ready--Lovells decided to paint a wall, and it turned into a project to paint the whole house.  We stayed with the Weatherfords for two nights.  On Wednesday we moved into our house in Latta, South Carolina.  The house is situated on two acres of land just outside the city limit of Latta.  We are about ten miles from the Church building in Marion.  The building is spacious and lovely.

Our home in Latta, South Carolina
Elder and Sister Lovell have given us a thorough introduction to the missionary service they are rendering in the Marion Branch.  They are incredible, and the people here will surely miss them.  On Saturday we had a wonderful experience of being part of a group of 19  (including the four missionaries and the Branch president Harvey and his wife) of the Marion Branch to attend the Columbia Temple.  New converts did baptisms, some did initiatory ordinances, a new endowment for a brother during the regular session, and a sealing of a son to his parents, and other sealings--all for the individuals or their ancestors.  This was the culmination of lots of hours of service by the Lovells (who are family history experts).

We have already attended two District meetings with Elders DaLai, Keller, Oliver, Haywood, Sisters Namtebi, Gerber, plus Lovells and Bowmans.  This is a rare treat to meet with the other missionaries and feel of their spirits and work together for bringing souls to Christ.

Our first few days in the mission field have been filled with visits to members, a teaching appointment, and lots of orientation hours.  Elder and Sister Lovell will be here until March 25, 2012, so we will continue to be taught by them.

We are amazed at the kindness of the people we meet, whether at the DMV, the county treasurers office (to register our car, get our license plates, pay taxes, etc.), at WalMart or wherever we go.  It takes a lot of effort to set up housekeeping again--lots of tiny details and items need attention.