24:Exchanges and Musical Numbers

We had an AWESOME week this week. We really focused on achieving our goals and as we put forth our best efforts to meet them, we saw a lot of miracles.

 
Most importantly, we committed two of our investigators to a baptismal date! 
We met with Zoya a few times this past week and we talked a lot about how to receive answers from God. We focused a lot on D&C 9 about studying it out in your mind and then asking God if it be right. We all prayed together and she asked about the 17th of December. The Spirit was really strong and she’s ready to do everything she needs to to prepare for this step. We’re so excited for her and love her SO much. We’re hoping we can help her little brother to be ready to take this important step together with her. 
 
We also have another new investigator named George. He’s super interested in the Gospel and has a baptismal date for the 15th. He’s a great guy, but just a little tricky to get a hold of. He works full-time and goes to school so he’s never home. but we’ve had some great conversations with his mom, who investigated the Church many years ago. She actually is friends with Zoya’s grandma. Small world.
 
This week we also had exchanges! I spent a rainy day in Hemet with Sister Pack. It was kind of weird, since everything was in English. And all 6 of our appointments cancelled. But we were diligent and found work to do, trying to visit less-actives and other referrals. The rain let up just enough to do our street contacting and then it started to pour again. We had fun and I learned a lot from Sister Pack.
 
Yesterday was also the farewell of a girl in our ward who’s leaving on her mission this week for Guatemala. We’ve helped her out a bit with figuring out her travel plans and taking her out to visits with us and stuff. She’s going to have such an awesome experience. Sister Beck and I sang a special musical number with another sister in the ward, “A donde me mandes, ire” or “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.” It was great and the Spirit was really strong. The ward LOVED it, and we were getting compliments all day. Our favorite was when an Hermano told us that Celine Dion couldn’t compare to us. Hahaha!
 
The Elders in our ward had a baptism yesterday, too. It was so wonderful- the Hermano’s wife and daughter got baptized a few months ago, and he finally was ready to follow them and join them in the Church of Jesus Christ. It was really special.
 
Well, that’s it for this week. Happy Birthday, Elder Trevy!
 
Sister Howell
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23: I memorized a Christian CD in Spanish

This week’s been a little harder. We’ve been having a hard time seeing any of our investigators; they cancel appointments, don’t answer their phones, and are never home when we just stop by. It’s pretty frustrating. And the one investigator we’ve been teaching since before the beginning of the transfer doesn’t seem to have much of a desire to progress anymore. But we’re trying our best to keep busy and find more people to teach.

 
We did find a big group to teach earlier in the week. We had left a blessing with a lady (Lucy) and her niece, and came back later to teach a short lesson. When we came back, there were 6 family members and roommates that all lived there too that sat in on the lesson and asked for copies of the pamphlet that we left. Unfortunately Lucy is going to Mexico for a week and we won’t be able to see her for a while. We’ll try to go and teach some of the others though while she’s gone!

 
The weather here is starting to cool down quite a bit. It’s still nothing on an Idaho winter, but I’m glad I’ve got my sweaters! It’s still kind of trippy to see people’s Christmas decorations going up next to the palm trees and fruit trees in their front yards. The leaves don’t change colors here at all- the few that are falling kind of just die and drop off. Haha.
 
Sister Beck and I got a Spanish Christian CD from the Elders that are serving in our ward with us. I have most of it memorized. We jam out to.”No me daba cuenta” and “Aceptame como ofrenda de amor.”  “I did not realize” and “Take me as an offering of love” (Not sure if those are the actual titles, but they’re lines in the songs. Haha.)
 
Attached are some incredibly attractive pictures of me and my companion being awesome missionaries.
 
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22: Cheese ball and Vicky

 

All of the sisters in the Riverside CA missionImage

Well it’s been another week already! Crazy how time goes by so quickly!

Sister Beck and I celebrated our 1/4 mark (4 1/2 months!) this week by eating a cheese ball with crackers and we had tiny little bottles of Martinelli’s. Then we rocked out to some Spanish music that one of the Elders gave us. We missionaries party hard.
 
Anyway, there have been some awesome miracles this week. We visited a lady we talked to in the parking lot of the Hispanic market down the street from our apartment who had said we could come by and leave a blessing with her and her family. Her name is Vicky. (Maybe that’s short for Victoria? It doesn’t sound very Hispanic.) We left the blessing with her and the Spirit was SUPER strong. She really felt it and she said it was something she wanted to feel more in her life. She said she knew some people from our church- including Lilia, the mom of Mayra, our recent convert! She said she’d invited her to church a few times, but she’d never been able to come. But she said she would come next week! AND she has a van and said she’d give Lilia a ride so that she can find her way to the church! This is SUCH an answer to our prayers! We keep finding more and more people in that very neighborhood who need a ride to church. We’ve been joking for weeks about finding and converting someone with a big van to give everyone else a ride to church. Haha. Anyway, we are SO excited to keep teaching Vicky. We just had our second visit with her last night and after we introduced the Book of Mormon and gave her a chapter for “homework,” she asked what someone needs to do in order to get baptized. So we taught her lesson 3 and the Spirit was SUPER strong again. She’s been SO prepared by the Lord for us to come and teach her. She asked us if we could come by again tonight. We think she’ll accept a baptismal date tonight! She also has a 9-year-old son who could get baptized with her! We haven’t met the husband yet- he works a lot. Hopefully we can meet him soon!
 
Anyways, I love you all SO much and I’m so glad to be here in Moreno Valley, helping people come closer to God and feel more of the love He has for them!
 
Sister Howell

21: Halloween, Temple trip, and lots of “finding”

Deryk was excited this morning because she was going shopping at the “ghetto mall” with her new companion. She and Sister Beck were in search of California sweatshirts. =] 
 

Good morning, friends and family! Lots of stuff happened this week.

For Halloween, we missionaries had to be done with missionary-ing at 6. So we went to the stake center and watched Ephraim’s Rescue (kind of a sequel to 17 Miracles.) It was a pretty good movie… I think. It’s hard to say when all you’ve watched for 4 1/2 months is The Testaments. Haha. But actually it was good. And I realized during the “romantic” scenes that my mission is making me super awkward. Oh well. After the movie the elders (who were sitting on the floor of the gym- us sisters were on the stage) turned around and sprayed us with silly string. It was pretty funny.
 
Then on Friday we went to the Temple! It was so great. I love the peace that can be felt only in the House of the Lord.
 
Mayra was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost yesterday. It’s so wonderful to see how far she’s progressed since we met her.
As far as lessons go… there haven’t been a ton. Since we split the area a little while ago, we’ve been trying our best to find Spanish-speaking people on our side of Moreno Valley who are ready to hear about the restored gospel. We’ve found several promising people, whom we’re hoping to be in contact with this week. A lot of our appointments cancelled, so we had a hard time getting lessons with members present. But we’ve praying hard and exercising our faith that the Lord will help us to teach the people He’s preparing to receive us. Because of that, we had a few lessons miraculously kind of just “happen” during dinner appointments with members and their family members who aren’t members of the church. We’ve asked everyone we talk to, members, street contacts, and investigators, if they know anyone who would like us to visit, and we’ve gotten several great referrals. I know that God’s in charge of this work and that He’s guiding it. As we exercise our faith and pray for and expect miracles, they WILL happen- because God LOVES His children and wants to give them SO MANY blessings. And the greatest blessings we can receive come only through a strong, personal relationship with Him and His Son, and through the restored gospel.
 
I really love this work and I love the people here so much. The ward members are so awesome and excited about missionary work.
 
I love you all so much!
 
Sister Deryk Howell