Bridger Before and After MTC
This week, Bridger transferred from the MTC to Natal, Brazil where he will serve his mission. We were fortunate to receive a short email confirming his arrival, as well as an unexpected treat of a letter in the mail. It’s amazing to see the growth in him and his commitment to serve even as he was leaving Alaska, and now leaving the MTC.
Not necessarily a word I’d use to describe a boy, but I couldn’t think of any other. The picture above was taken the day before he left for the MTC in Brazil. My sister Karen was here with her family. For Bridger’s last day, we enjoyed a rainy drive up one of his favorite places in Alaska, Hatcher Pass; and later a meal at Moose’s Tooth pizza.
I know he had so many questions about what he was going to do. After all, it is up to two years of one’s life given in complete service, often not in ideal situations. We had talked about his journey down there, and the changes he would experience. Then we discussed starting off on the right foot and following the rules. Fortunately, he had good examples like his cousin Hayden in the picture above. And one unexpected source of support…Jeff’s missionary journal. I believe he is ready for the mission field.
Natal Brazil Mission 8/27/2017
So I made it here to Natal. I had to get up at 2:50 a.m. and had a 6 hour flight which wasn’t too bad. I just slept through the entire thing! It was pretty funny, I don’t think the pilot knew what he was doing.
It was hard to say good-bye to everyone. I’ve really grown so close to them and it was definitely difficult, but I know it’s right and the Lord has blessed me with his strength. We arrived here and met the mission president and his wife. They are really nice, but don’t speak English at all, but that’s normal. I sort of expected it.
I can’t write too much, but I want you to know I’m happy to be here and I love you guys so much. I’ve been praying for strength and am excited to get to work. I have to stay the night at the mission home, and I’ll be on my way tomorrow. I’ll message you in a week when I get my new P-day (preparation day). Let the family know I love them.
Love, Elder Bowman
Letter dated 8/6/2017
Hello Family, It’s your favorite Missionary!
I’ve wanted to get started on this letter for quite a while. I miss you guys but I know I am doing the right thing for my future and the people I serve. When I got to Seattle, I could not stop thinking of home. While I sat in the terminal thinking about what I should do, I had a prompting to read Dad’s missionary journal. Concluding my reading, I felt the love and power from our Father in Heaven. I no longer felt alone, I knew he was there for me.
I made the choice not to watch movies for the entire 22 hours. When it came to the time of boarding, all I wanted was a friend to be there. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white shirt and smiling face. I grinned up so bad, and felt like he was my brother. I was so nervous to leave my family and go off for 2 years. One thing I have discovered is that I have a family here too. And I love them with all of my heart.
As soon as I put on the name tag, I read it…”Elder Bowman” and I instantly remembered Dad and his journal. It felt so good to put on the tag that represents the Savior. Our purpose is to bring others to Christ to receive the restored gospel, repent and be baptized, and to endure to the end. I love this gospel with all my heart.
I love you guys so much and pray for you always. Everyday I have studied the scriptures before I go to bed, and I know it is the true book that will help restore the children of men. Every day I grow to love this country and it’s people. The Brazilians are amazing and I love speaking the language. I may eat the same beans and rice every day and shower with bugs, but I know I am where I am supposed to be.
I hope I can grow and improve and be a great man like Dad. Every day I feel closer to our Heavenly Father, and I hope I can make Him and you guys proud. It will be amazing to see you guys Christmas (facetime, phone or skype) and I look forward to reading your emails every week.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 4:
1. Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4. For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5. And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen
Stay strong and make good choices. I know that Heavenly Father will help me. Pray to Him, study the scriptures…He is always listening.
Love, Elder Bowman
P.S. Tell the girls and doggies I love them.
***So, I realize the “field” in the shot above is not white, and is actually in Denali National Park, but you get the picture.