20: Crazy Sunday



First, a pic of Deryk with her roommates from last transfer: Sister Dicarolo, Sister Boyd, Sister HaycockImage

This week has been a long string of adventures! I’m companions with my friend from the MTC, Sister Beck, and we’re having lots of fun!

Our first day together, we had to go to the office in Riverside to pick up another car and area book and phone and pretty much everything, because we split the area. Then we realized after the other sisters left that we didn’t have a GPS so we asked for directions to get back home to MoVal… and got lost. We made it back just before P-day ended at 6. (So if you were expecting a letter in the mail last week that never came, that’s why.) Moral of the story: Don’t ask directions from a Wal-Mart pharmacist. They’re just glorified drug dealers. Haha.
Since we split the area, we don’t have as many people we’re teaching right now, so we’re 110% in “finding mode.” We’ve been talking to a lot of people just on the streets and stuff and so we’ve met some interesting characters. There was our new friend, the 80-year-old Philipino karaoke star who invited us to come talk to people at the night club/casino. He was super nice, but we decided to turn him down on the offer.
Yesterday was CRAZY. It was stake conference, and none of our investigators came. Boo. But the theme was missionary work, which was awesome. Then that evening we had Mayra’s baptism… and EVERYTHING went wrong. We were out of sheets to print the program on. The person giving the opening prayer couldn’t come. Mayra needs to have two different cars to go pick her and her family up, because she has 4 little girls and her mom to bring. One of the rides couldn’t go, so we had to find her a different ride. THEN we had to find a ride for her neighbor that we’ve been teaching, Susy. Susy and her ride couldn’t find each other so she just didn’t end up going. As we were taking pictures, another Elder came and told us that the font was draining and we needed to refill it, so Sister Dicarolo gave a lovely talk about baptism, shouting over the roar of the water pouring into the baptismal font. I was SO STRESSED OUT.
But then I looked over at Mayra in her white jumpsuit, and she looked SO HAPPY. Despite the roar of the refilling font, and her little girls climbing all over her, she looked so peaceful and happy. I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace and I knew that all of those things just didn’t matter. Mayra was getting baptized. She was exercising her faith and taking that step to enter the path that leads to eternal life with her Heavenly Father who loves her SO MUCH. I cried through most of my talk about the Holy Ghost and bore my testimony of the peace that He brings into our lives, and the love God has for each of us. It’s definitely going to be a day I’ll never forget.
I love you all so much and hope you all know how important you are to your Heavenly Father. He is absolutely aware of what you’re going through and He is always there to give you the support and comfort that you need. I know that Christ lives, and His greatest desire is to heal us.
Con muchisimo amor,  (With a lot of Love,)
Hermana Howell

19: Technically not a greenie anymore

Yep. I’m done with my 12-week training and I’ve flown from the nest. Sister Dicarolo is no longer my companion. She got called as the new Sister Training Leader (so she goes on transfers with the other Spanish Sisters and helps them out with any problems and reports to President etc, etc.) She’s excited to be with her new companion, a native speaker. She thought that’d never happen since she pretty much speaks like a native herself. They’re staying here in MoVal.
As for me… I’m staying here in Moreno Valley, too! I’ll still be in the same apartment and ward as my trainer, but we’ll be splitting the area. There are now going to be 6 missionaries in the ward here (2 sets of sisters and one set of elders)… lots of work to do! The bishopric is super excited.
And my new companion is… Sister Beck! From my district in the MTC! I’m SO excited- we’re gonna have a ton of fun. (and do work. Fo sho.)
Story time- there’s a recent convert of about a year that has a hard time coming to church and stuff because her husband and daughter that she lives with are SUPER unsupportive. Like, they’re super rude and chase out missionaries and members who come to visit her. It’s sad. BUT there was a day that they were gone, so she invited us and a few of her friends and her other (not jerky) daughter, Myra, to come over for lunch. We set up appointments with Myra and another one of the friends to leave a blessing on their home. (In the form of a prayer. We still don’t have the priesthood or anything.) Honestly, our first impression of Myra was that she was really negative and wouldn’t be receptive. It was kind of hectic because she’s there by herself with 4 little girls- the oldest is only 6. BUT she said we could come back and talk some more. The next time we came, things had turned almost completely around. She was SO much happier and the home just FELT better. She’s progressed really fast and after her first Sunday last week, she told her mom she wanted to get baptized! She’s getting interviewed this Wednesday and her baptism is scheduled for this Sunday. It’s amazing what a difference the Gospel makes in people’s lives, even in such a short time.
Yesterday we had the baptism of Brittany. Her dad baptized her as his first act as a priesthood holder. It was so sweet and the Spirit was SO strong. As I watched I felt very strongly that the gospel of Jesus Christ is FOR FAMILIES. God loves us so much and that’s why we have families. I know it’s through our families that we find the greatest joy, because relationships with others that are built on love are the MOST fulfilling thing we can have in this life. God knows that and He wants us to be happy like that FOREVER. The Gospel strengthens these special relationships and gives us the opportunity to have them last for all eternity. I am so thankful for the blessings that I have received from having a family that’s been sealed together for time and eternity. I’m so glad to know that no matter what happens here on earth, I have the ability to be with the people I love the most forever.
I love this Gospel and I’m super excited to keep sharing it with the Spanish-speaking people of Moreno Valley!
Hermana Deryk Howell
TOTALLY forgot to include a pic from Brittany’s baptism! And I even brought my camera this time! This one’s the only one with the whole family. (Her little brother Max is a funny kid, btw.)

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18: I’m only a trainee for one more week!

Well the transfer’s almost over! Time really is flying by SO fast! I find out at the end of this week if I’m getting sent out of Moreno Valley and if I’ll be freaking TRAINING already… there are 6 new Spanish-speaking sisters coming in this transfer, and there are currently 6 Spanish sister companionships. (So half the Spanish sisters will be training! Yikes!)

That means I’m only a trainee for one more week! I’m a little nervous, but I know it’ll be okay. I mean, 1 Ne 3:7- God’s not going to ask me to do something that I can’t do- as long as I have His help.
I’ve learned SO much these past 12 weeks in the field. And it’s gone by SO fast! I think I’m starting to understand what everyone means when they say that the mission is over before you know it. Haha.
Anyways it’s been quite a week. We had to decide to drop a lot of our investigators this week. A lot of them just aren’t ready or willing to move forward or keep commitments. It’s pretty sad. We’ve been meeting with a lot of them for a long time.
BUT good news: We do have some really good, solid people too! We’re teaching another just-barely-9-year-old in the ward who should get baptized this Sunday. Her parents were baptized not too long ago, then went inactive and just started coming back a little while back. Her dad is receiving the priesthood this Wednesday, so he can be the one to baptize her. It’s going to be so awesome for their whole family! We taught her the plan of salvation yesterday and then talked to the parents about how their goal needs to be to get their family sealed in the Temple. It was an awesome experience and the Spirit was really strong.
J___ also FINALLY received the Holy Ghost this week, too. He is such a good kid, and he’s been so excited for this! He even bought a shirt and tie especially for it. I’m super happy for him. (I left my camera in the car again… Sorry. For SURE I’ll send pictures next week.)
I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from you! I’ll write again next week… no idea where I’ll be writing from though! Haha!
Sister Howell

17: Conferencia General

This week seemed really long to me… probably because I was looking forward to Conference so much! Haha. I had some good questions prepared that I was super excited to get the answers to by listening to the Prophet and Apostles of the Lord! I’ve got some good studying and praying to do now to figure out how best to apply what I learned.

We watched all 4 sessions in the Stake Center, and several of our investigators came! T___ and B____ stayed for BOTH sessions on Sunday! We feel like at least T____ is getting close to accepting a baptismal date. E____ came too… but he’s technically not our investigator anymore. We handed him over to the Elders in one of the English-speaking wards because it’ll be better for him. It makes us kind of sad… we’ve been teaching him since August and we’ve got a good relationship with him already. He’s got a baptismal date for the 20th and he just honestly wants to follow God. He is just SUCH a great kid.

We also started teaching another girl who JUST turned 9. I’m not really sure why she wasn’t baptized before… but anyways she’s considered a “convert baptism” now and has to take the missionary discussions first.

I’m starting to trust myself more and more and seeing that I’m being guided by the Holy Ghost. This week we went to visit an investigator who told us that she would rather stick to going to her Catholic church because all the new stuff the English Elders had taught her just confused her (it made me so sad… I know if she’d listened to us a little and exercised a particle of faith the Spirit could testify of the truth of our message to her, and of the blessings that she could receive. Maybe right now just isn’t her time though.) ANYWAYS so we didn’t have anything else to do… so Sister D_____ told me to find someone in the area book to go visit. I flipped through the teaching records of former investigators a couple times and had NO idea what to do… so I said a prayer and asked for guidance before flipping through again. One of the names stood out to me and so we went and visited S_____. We’re not sure if she’ll progress, but we feel like we needed to be there that day. She said she’d been thinking about the Mormons again and that she’d been praying. I’m confident that we were there as an answer to those prayers. :]

Pues, los quiero mucho y voy a escribir otra vez en la semana que entra! (Well, I love them and I will write again next week!)

Hermana Deryk Howell

Week16: Beetles cure diabetes

Goodness. This week seemed to last forever and a half. Even though it was pretty much like it was a day shorter because of the postponed p-day last week… it was just a LONG week. Not sure why though.

Anyways, I think I’ll talk a little about my roomies this week. Sister D______ and I share an apartment with the Sister Training Leaders, Sisters B____ and H_____. Sister B_____ is from Maryland and Sister H______ is from Bountiful, Utah. Before their missions, Sister B___ was an elementary school teacher and Sister H____ worked for the Color Run and traveled all over the place for that. They’re a lot of fun to live with and they’re super funny. We all pulled our mattresses into the living room last night and had a sleepover. We watched the Testaments and played cards until bedtime. :]
I’m going to try to attach a video I took last week at a members’ home. Their grandpa (B_____- the one we baptized in September) swears by the health benefits of these little beetles. There’s apparently a program where you take them like medicine every day and they cure diabetes. (Day 1- 1 beetle. Day 2- 2 beetles. All the way up to day 75. Then you go down again until you hit 1. If you do it right, your diabetes is gone!) The trick is you have to count just right and you have to swallow them alive. GROSS.
Anyways, we talked Elders M___and H____ (the other Spanish missionaries in our zone) into each eating one of them. (It wasn’t actually that hard.) They almost talked us into it too, actually. Anyways I got a video of them eating bugs. You can see the beetle climbing around on Elder M____’s tongue. Elder H______ cheated and just inhaled it. Haha.
Well, this week should be good- we’re starting it out with a zone nerf war this afternoon. It should be a blast. 😀
Love you tons!
Sister Deryk Howell
PS- I included the promised picture from J____’s baptism 😀 Also some of us messing around with an Elmo hat.
PPS- I’m having a hard time getting the video to upload. I’ll try sending it separately.
PPPS – She must not have been able to download the video. =/