Week 15: Toque el piano (Play the piano)

Well hola todos! Hello all!

P-day’s a day late this week because yesterday we had a multi-zone conference with a visiting General Authority, Elder Richards. I learned a lot from him and from the Spirit about how to be a better missionary.

I also played the prelude music and the opening hymn. I didn’t screw it up too much so I guess it was okay. It was by no means perfect though… I miss being able to practice every day. BUT I’m doing other crazy cool stuff right now as a missionary and I’m happy to be where I am! (Even though there’s no piano in the apartment.)
One of the poor Sisters in our zone has been pretty sick. She’s from Micronesia and came in the same time as me (July 30), but hasn’t been feeling well. This Friday she went to the hospital to find out what the problem was, but they can’t figure it out. They only just let her out yesterday. The Sister Training Leaders have been switching out with her companion at the hospital so she could come to our apartment and sleep and shower. I feel so sorry for both of them. Hopefully everything se arregla soon. is arranged (I CAN’T think of the term in English. I consider that a good thing, I guess. Same thing happened in a lesson the other day during a prayer. Haha.)
We also had a baptism this Sunday- J____, whom I mentioned last week. Filling out the paperwork for his membership record was interesting. He’s living with his grandma, and nobody seems to know when he was born. He just turned 11 or 12, but nobody’s really sure. He’s a smart kid and was really happy after his baptism. It was great and some of his cousins and other family members are showing some interest as well.
We also taught a lesson yesterday to a couple who just showed up for the last hour of church on Sunday. The wife is a member, but hasn’t been active for a good while. They’re super prepared by the Lord and looking for a closer relationship with Him. We’re seeing them again tonight and we can’t wait!
We’re seriously teaching so many great people and I couldn’t ever include everyone. There’s E_____ who we read the Book of Mormon with every week with a less-active family that he’s good friends with, who’s praying about baptism and we’ll see him tomorrow. There’s B____ and T_____ who are some awesome sweet girls who love having us over and learning more and come to church every week… I could go on and on. I’m so excited for all of them and to see them progress more this week!
Love you all!
Sister Deryk Howell
PS Thanks, Mom, for the package! The shirts and jackets have added some much-needed variety to my wardrobe! And the sheet music came in time both for the meeting on Monday and to play some prelude for J____’s bautismo!
PPS I was going to include pictures but left the camera at the apartment- It’s in my purse. Which I don’t have with me because it’s P-day and I don’t bother with 20,000 pounds of scriptures on P-day and just carry my wallet. Oops. Next week, I promise. I even have a video of some of the Elders eating bugs that are supposed to cure diabetes. They almost talked Sister D_____ and I into eating them too.
PPPS- Also I went on exchanges for the first time on the 19th- my 3-month mark! It was fun except all the appointments cancelled and I had to come up with what we were going to do instead. We still managed to teach some lessons though and I learned a lot!

Week 14: Apparently I’m 16

Hola mis amigos y familiares! Hello my friends and family!

MoVal is still crazy hot. It’s gone down a few degrees though and hopefully it starts to cool off more. People say it gets “really cold” here in the winter, but a lot of them don’t even know what snow is so I’m not all that concerned.
So my Spanish is getting better and better! I’ve had several native-speakers (investigators and members alike) tell me that I speak very well. It’s given me a good confidence boost that I’ve been needing. I had a conversation on my own with someone on Sunday without my companion and I felt like a superhero. It’s awesome seeing how far I’ve come since I entered the MTC almost 3 months ago. I think I’m well on my way to being fluent. Yay!
To temper my confidence boost, everyone’s been asking how old I am, and EVERYONE says that I look like I’m 15 or 16. A (drunk) investigator shook my hand as we left yesterday and said, “Bye, Baby-face!”
I’ll probably consider this a blessing when I’m 30.
Anyways, here’s a story.
Once upon a time a member gave us a referral for someone she works with, so we went to visit her. She’s an older lady who has several of her kids living with her and a slew of grandkids. She said she had baptized several of her kids, but couldn’t remember if she’d been baptized.
HOW CAN YOU NOT REMEMBER IF YOU’VE BEEN BAPTIZED?
Haha so we had to search for her records to find out if we needed to baptize her. Turns out she was baptized already in Sinaloa, Mexico. Now we’re teaching her 11 year old grandson J____ and he’s scheduled to be baptized this Sunday. He’s a really smart kid.
We’re also teaching a girl from a part-member family. She’s 24 and has two cute kids. Her husband is a member, but super inactive. They live with his family- his mom used to be the RS president. She’s just super ready now. She’s heard the missionaries before, but we kind of just clicked for her. She came to the ward activity on Friday and liked it (which is good, since there’s been drama with ward members in the past). She couldn’t come to church though. I think she said her sisters would be visiting. We’re going to see her tonight and follow up on that.
By the way- the ward activity was SUPER cool. They had a Noche Cultural- with dances and songs and food from everyone’s different countries. It was awesome and a ton of the ward members brought their friends and a bunch of our investigators came. It was great. And I forgot to take my camera to it which is a huge bummer because it was SO COOL. The whole ward got really into it.
Anyways, hasta la proxima semana! until next week!
les quiero mucho, I love you,
Hermana Howell (pronounced “Oh well” with an optional “s” at the end.)
PS- Next week we’re having a General Authority visit and talk on Monday, so I’ll have P-Day and email on Tuesday. Also President Smart asked me to play the piano for the meeting, which is pretty cool. (60 missionaries and a General Authority. No pressure.)

Week 13: I’ve been counting wrong!

Today is the start of my second transfer in the mission field! WHAT?

Sister D____ and I are in Moreno Valley for another transfer. We figured nothing would change for us since no new Spanish-speaking missionaries are coming in this transfer.
The zone actually didn’t change that much- just getting some new people in and adding another district. (My new District Leader reminds me SO MUCH of B_____, BTW. He brought cookies he made from scratch to our zone meeting last week and he thought my TARDIS keychain was cool. It’s a little trippy.
We are having another pair of sisters move into our apartment with us later today. We’re gonna party hard. (But not when we’re supposed to be studying or proselyting of course.)
No big developments with any of our investigators this week… we’re praying hard that the Lord will help us meet our goal of 3 baptisms for the month of September. We know it’s possible, but it’ll take some good hard work.
Pues, no se que mas debo incluir… Well, I do not know what else to include …
Life’s good. The weather is hot. The gospel is true and blesses lives more than we can ever imagine. God loves us SO MUCH.
Love you all muchisimo!
Hermana Deryk Howell

Week 10: Double digits baby!

Hola amigos y familiares! Como estan? (Hello friends and family! How are you?)

I had quite the week. It started out pretty rough, to be honest- I was getting pretty discouraged and down on myself for a day or two. BUT I received some tender mercies from the Lord in the form of some well-timed, love-filled letters from a few dear friends and then we taught a BOMB lesson and I realized that Satan was just trying to get me down so I wouldn’t be an effective missionary. We sure showed him.

This saturday was R_____’s baptism! It was SO wonderful. She seemed so happy and her daughters and some nieces and a nephew sang “Cuando me bautice” (When I am baptized… the rainbow one that I remember singing at A_D_’ baptism forever and a half ago). It was super precious. We had dinner with her mom yesterday and she said that R____’s been talking about wanting to go to the temple already! The bishop told us earlier that next month they’re setting up a trip for recent converts to go do baptisms for the dead. It’ll be such a wonderful experience for all of them!

I mentioned earlier that we taught a bomb lesson- it was super cool. Our first week here there was a ward potluck welcoming home a missionary. Some of his family friends came (not members), but we didn’t have a chance to really talk to them. Ever since we’ve tried to get a chance to talk to them with their member friends, but didn’t until this week. We went by with the RM friend and taught the restoration. The Spirit was super strong and M___ and J___ (the nonmembers) felt it. We asked what they thought and M____ said she thought it was true and they agreed to pray about it that night. They each offered a prayer before we left and they were so sincere and the Spirit was so powerfully there!!! We’re super excited to see them again this week.

Anyways, I hope you’re all doing well and would love to hear from you! Snail mail is the best way (because I’ll definitely have time to read and respond to it) but you can email me too if you’d rather.  (Just remember that I only have limited time every Monday to email… so if I don’t respond it’s because I just plain don’t have time!)

Con muchisimo amor, With a lot love,

Hermana Deryk Howell

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