33: Bikes and more!

It’s been another fantastic week! I’m starting to get used to being in a new area and we’re seeing some great progress in both of our areas.
In Mira Loma/Eastvale, we didn’t start off with much of a teaching pool. But we’ve discovered a cool way to meet more people and get appointments with them.
Bikes are cool because you’re able to stop and talk to everyone much more easily and much less creepily than when you’re in a car. People are nicer to you and a lot less creeped out when you pull over on a bike and start talking to them than when you pull over in a car and roll down the window or get out and start talking to them. People also feel bad for you because it’s hot and hilly and you’re wearing a SKIRT, so they’re more likely to you or at least are more polite when they don’t want to listen.
I’m the only one of us that’s had any form of bike accident so far. It was embarrassing. I fell over as I tried to start riding uphill from a standstill, right in front of the guy we’d just finished praying with. But I just scraped up my knee a little bit and my skirt didn’t even get torn, so it’s all good.
We ride bikes every couple of days when we don’t have too many appointments spread too far out. I actually like it a lot!
In Rubidoux, we have a family that’s getting ready for baptism! They’re excited and we’re excited and they’re just SO READY. It’s amazing how the Lord always prepares people in His own time to receive the blessings of the Gospel. I’ve only known them a few short weeks, but I’ve seen a lot of growth and can see that this is finally the time for them. I already love them so much and know that this choice is only going to bring them more and more happiness!
Yesterday (Sunday) I got to go back to Moreno Valley for a baptism. A young man that Sisters Beck and Juarez and I found got baptized! It was a very nice baptism and it was good to see people from the Nuevo ward again. I really love Moreno Valley. I gave a short talk on the Holy Ghost, and people were shocked by my Spanish. I guess I haven’t really given a talk for a good long while… like since October or something, and my Spanish has definitely improved since then. I got a ride from the Relief Society president in MoVal, Hermana Perez. She said I needed to find a husband in California so I could come and live nearby. Haha I just love her. :]
Anyways, things are going great! I have two awesome companions and we’re all learning a lot from each other. The roosters don’t annoy me ALL the time, and it’s pretty cool stopping on my bike to talk in Spanish to a guy on his horse on the side of the road.
Recuerden que Dios los ama siempre- no importa sus circunstancias o sus decisiones. El SIEMPRE ama a nosotros y tiene bendiciones preparadas para darnos cuando las meritemos. Remember that God loves you always, no matter their circumstances or their decisions. The ALWAYS loves us and has blessings prepared for us when ?   Google translate = confusing sometimes! 😉
Con muchisisimo amor,
La Hermana Howell
Sometimes we play with our letter magnets on the fridge… sometimes we act our age… not always at the same time though.
The Barn
Some of our neighbors

32: I live in a barn. Barns are cool.

WOW a lot happened this week!
Sorry I didn’t email on my regular day- the library was closed so none of us were able to email yesterday.
First things first, I’m no longer in Moreno Valley. Leaving was super hard and I look forward to going back to visit all the people that I’ve come to love so much. I’m now working in the Jurupa zone. Because a lot of stuff went down at the beginning of the week, I’m in a trio again, with Sister Bowen (from Utah) and Sister Hartling (from Colorado) and we cover two areas: Rubidoux and Mira Loma/Eastvale. This is Sister Bowen’s third transfer in the field and she’s AWESOME. She’s so humble and sees the Lord’s hand in everything. This is Sister Hartling’s 7th transfer and she’s so good at extending commitments fearlessly. I’m excited to learn a lot from both of them. I’m starting my 5th transfer in the field and I still don’t know what I’m doing, but at the very least I feel like I’m good at Spanish, so that’s something. :]
Obviously not  “THE barn”. Just A barn. -The Mom
Our home, as I mentioned before, is literally a barn. It’s pretty cool. (Not just in the literal sense, but that too.) We have lots of animal friends here. There are 4 dogs, 3 of which I know by name. The next door neighbor has a horse that Sister Bowen calls Riley, but we’re not sure if that’s the actual name. And of course there’s the roosters. We estimate there are at least 50 roosters living just outside The Barn. That’s not including the hens and little chicks.
Did you know that roosters wake up at 4 am every day? And the first thing they do when they wake up at 4 am is hold a who-can-scream-the-loudest contest? I’m learning so many interesting facts in The Barn.
But really I do love it here. There are definitely some obstacles to overcome and some challenges, but I know that I was called to serve right now in these areas with these companions. The Lord wouldn’t call me to do something that I couldn’t accomplish. It’s going to be hard, but we will start seeing miracles as we exercise our faith and do our very best with the blessings we already have been given.
There’s one family that I met just after getting here that is just AWESOME that I’ve had the opportunity to teach. I met this family my first night here in Jurupa and they’re SO prepared right now. Sister Bowen says that they’ve opened up a lot more in the last week than ever before, and they’ve had missionaries off and on for quite a while. But the last few lessons we’ve had with them have been SUPER powerful and the Spirit has been really strong. They’ve accepted a date for baptism and are dedicated to work towards it. Tonight we’re teaching the Restoration to the 8-year-old twin girls. It’ll be really cool.
I love you all SO much and I’ll be sure to take some pictures of The Barn and my companions to send next week!

31: Fare Thee Well, MoVal

Well, after 4 transfers (roughly 6 months) in Moreno Valley, I’m being sent to a new area- the “La Sierra” zone in Jurupa (Hoo-roo-pah). The home I’m assigned to live in is commonly known among missionaries as “the barn.” Probably because that’s what it is. I’m super excited though- I’ve heard it’s awesome (even if the roosters are noisy.)

Anyways, my last week in MoVal has been awesome. We helped several investigators recognize their answers from God that they’re ready for baptism and set dates to aim for. It’s so exciting seeing these people I’ve come to love progress towards receiving all the blessings their loving Heavenly Father has prepared for them.
We also had exchanges with some of the English Sister Training Leaders on Thursday (we live with the Spanish STLs and one of them trained me so exchanges with them would be silly.) to Norco. Also known as Horse Town, USA. There are probably more horses there than people. I spent the day amongst the horse people with Sister Bateman, from Kuna. We spent forever trying to figure out how we knew each other, because we agreed that we had definitely seen each other before. But alas, we never figured it out.
I also did a cool thing and accidentally took our cell phone with me in my bag. BUT it made for a cool miracle when the sisters went to use an hermano’s phone and taught an awesome lesson to his nonmember wife. I think taking the phone with me was inspiration and not just me being dumb.
That evening, I discovered that there is no escaping Spanish-land, even on exchanges. We went to their ward’s RS activity… where they were learning to make tortillas. It was way fun though, and I got flour and dough all over me.
Friday, one of the English sisters got sick so we weekly planned at their homeshare and left Sister Juarez with her while we went to some appointments that we’d already set up. We went to the T’s house to pick up Hermana for an appointment with her friend, and guess who was there? B! The sweet old man that Sister Dicarolo and I baptized in September! He and his wife had just gotten back the night before from Mexico. It was such a happy reunion- I can’t believe how much I’ve come to love so many people here.
Church was sad and great at the same time. Sister Dicarolo and I both shared our testimonies in Sacrament meeting- her mission is over and she’s heading home to Italy. It was hard saying goodbye to a lot of these people and I promised over and over to come back to visit someday. I really do love it here in Moreno Valley. I’m excited to go to Jurupa and come to love it just as much!
Hermana Howell
          making tortillas in Norco
our zone
          Once upon a time I left my camera and sunglasses in the car before lending it to the Elders. This is one of about 25 selfies that Elders Blomfield and Romero left on there for me.

30: We are the threeee amigas!

Good morning, all! Como estan?

The biggest news to share is that Sister Beck and I had a daughter! (We got a greenie). Her name is Hermana Juarez and came to the field 2 weeks before transfers because the CCM (MTC in Mexico) got mixed up and had her signed up for a 6-week spanish-learning program instead of the 2-week program for people that already speak spanish. She’s from Provo, and her dad is from Guatemala.
Being in a trio has been AWESOME. I’ve already learned SO MUCH and I’ve seen so many miracles come from it. I’ve learned a lot about teaching together as a team and about incorporating more scriptures.
Hna Juarez came on New Year’s Eve. That day we had to be done proselyting at 6, so we had posole dinner with a family in the ward and then went to a surprise birthday party for one of the sisters in our zone with all the other sisters in MoVal. We played games and listened to some jammin’ EFY music.
New Year’s day we got to spend the first half of the day cleaning the apartment (I took charge of the kitchen… which may not have been thoroughly cleaned since elders moved into the apartment in 2007. That oven was friggin nasty. And there was SOMETHING spilled in the bottom of the fridge a good while ago that I had the pleasure of scraping off.)
We had ZDM (Zone Development Meeting) on Saturday and talked about how we could all help our investigators to progress towards baptism. Then the sisters all went to Five Guys for lunch.
Hna Juarez also brought some good ideas with her from the CCM in Mexico. Yesterday, fast Sunday, she suggested we do an “English fast” as well as the regular fast (where we abstain from food or drink to pray for a specific purpose) and gave up speaking English for the day. (Except when we talked to the investigators we teach in English and stuff). It was really cool and I feel like I learned a lot from it.
Z still hasn’t been coming to church. We might have to stop teaching her for a while and let someone else come back to them later. This makes me so sad because I’ve come to love her and her family SO MUCH and I just want them to receive all the blessings that God has ready for them… but they have their agency and I can’t decide how they use it. God wants to give us blessings, but we have to do our part to receive them. My job right now is to entice them to do the right thing. (2 Ne 2:16)
Some of our other investigators though are doing really awesome. F is super prepared and wants to get baptized, but the only problem is his unsupportive family. We’re doing our best to help him make friends in the ward so he can have support from the ward family.
J is doing great too, but he’s kind of hard to get in contact with. He just got his job back though and we know his work schedule so it should be easier now. He has a date set for the 19th and we’re going to do everything we can to help him make that goal!
Love you all and hope you have a super duper week!
Hermana Deryk Howell
        – A warning sign so nobody hits the wild donkeys. I’ve never seen them, but I’ve heard they’re really cute.



29: Feliz Navidad!

This week was CHRISTMAS! It was so great!

On Christmas Eve, we had a HUGE Christmas party with all the missionaries in the mission. They all came here to the Moreno Valley stake center and we had a talent show and lunch with ham and salad and other good things. A bunch of the sisters in our zone (plus a few elders) put together a missionary rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas that everyone loved. The best part though was seeing all my friends and talking to other missionaries. Afterwards Sister Beck and I went home and made some treats to take to some families in the ward.
 All our friends from our MTC District! Sister Graham is the only one not in Mo-Val right now, though.
Elder Blomfield lives across the street from us.
Me and Sister Seiola at the Christmas party (that I forgot to take my camera to, so Sister Beck covered me).
Christmas Day we slept in until 7:30!!! Haha. Then we opened packages from our families (and the SWEET girly Nerf guns we bought for each other) and went to another family’s house to hang out for most of the day. We played Monopoly and had Peruvian hot chocolate, and then we got to Skype our families! It was so great to see them, especially Trevy out on his mission in Kansas! I was glad to see that everyone was having a super Christmas. :]
Sister Beck and I got a phone call from President Smart last night, with a late Christmas present… We’re getting a new companion tomorrow! Hermana Juarez is coming because she was mis-assigned to the 6-week language learning program in the MTC, but she’s coming out now since she already speaks Spanish. We’re super excited to welcome our new “daughter!” We just need to rearrange the apartment a little bit to make room for her. Haha.
As far as investigators go, they’re all progressing… slowly. It’s so hard to get them to see the importance of coming to church! BUT the schedule is changing in the new year from 9 am church to 11:30, so that should make things a little easier, at least for some of them. 
We taught some of our investigators, Raul and his daughter Jacky, the Word of Wisdom this week… right before Christmas and New Year’s. BUT they accepted it with open arms! And they were joking about babysitting each other about it, too. They’re so great and have so much desire to do the right thing and follow Jesus Christ.
I really love the people here. The members, the investigators, the other missionaries… I just love being where I am right now. (Especially since the weather is so much warmer! Haha.)
Love you all!
Hermana Howell
PS- Yesterday at dinner I got Hermana Diaz to teach us how to make pupusas and tortillas! I’m excited to eventually make them for my family when I come home!