42: Back to two

Another week has BLOWN by in Riverside, California… and another transfer! I can’t believe that this weekend will be the end/start of another transfer. The time really flies by! I have no idea what’s going to happen yet… I had some guesses, but they all kind of went out the window when Sister Schmidt came here last week.
 
Sister Schmidt is SUPER COOL. She was serving in Chile, but due to some medical stuff had to come back to the states for the rest of her mission. She’s really fun and seems to be a really awesome missionary. It sounds like she and Sister Hartling are working really well together.
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Sister Bowen and I are working SO HARD. It’s been a “finding” week for us… since the area split when Sister Schmidt came, nearly all of the people we were teaching were actually in the other area. So we’ve been contacting potentials and former investigators and asking everyone for referrals. We’ve met a lot of interesting people this week for sure! Like L who has creeeeepy dreams and describes them as the most beautiful thing that ever happened to her. Haha. Anyways, Sister Bowen and I are taking Rubidoux by storm and eating ALL of the Jack in the Box tacos. (TWO FOR A DOLLAR! you can’t beat that.)
 
Today I’m a little late emailing because we went on an ADVENTURE this morning! We hiked Mt Rubidoux with most of the Sister missionaries in the stake. We also invited D (the girl that Sisters Bowen and Hartling and I have been teaching for a while) and some girls (S and A) from our ward and their mom. It was super fun… except poor S got sick halfway up the mountain and had to turn back. She hadn’t eaten that morning and the sun was beating down on her a little too much. So Sisters Bowen, Schmidt, and I helped her and her mom get back down to some shade before going back up the mountain.
 
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The cross is what’s at the top of Mt Rubidoux
 
I’m SUPER excited about this weekend because it’s gonna be GENERAL CONFERENCE! I LOVE General Conference. I’m so excited to hear what God will tell us through His mouthpiece, the living prophet. We are so blessed to have this continued revelation and guidance from God- I look forward to learning a LOT from the general authorities and from the Spirit.
 
Love you all a ton!
 
Hermana Howell

41: “Hot Chocolate”

Don’t really have a lot of time to write this week- we had another Zumba class with the Sisters this morning, and we still need to do some grocery shopping and stuff.

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Anyways, this week has been a good one. We managed to see a lot of people and work with the members a lot. 
Our most progressing investigator right now is R, C’s mom. C got confirmed on Sunday, and R is looking forward to being baptized this coming Sunday. They’re so sweet- every time we go over they offer us cookies and hot chocolate or something. They started talking one day about the new hot chocolate that they found that they LOVE, since they stopped drinking coffee. They offered us some and so C went to make us some while we taught R more about the chapter in the Book of Mormon that we’d just read. The “hot chocolate” was really good. After we finished, C showed us the package. It said “Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino Mix.” OH NO! Haha… we explained to C that it was STILL coffee- we even showed her on the ingredients list where it said “instant coffee.” The poor lady was SO embarrassed that she’d given coffee to her missionaries. She threw it right away and vowed that from then on she’d be making her OWN mixes from scratch. She’s incredible- she has SO much faith and is so dedicated to living the gospel. She just feels the Spirit and acts on it immediately. I have a lot to learn from her!
 
I just love the people I’ve met here. The members, the people I teach, the other missionaries… even the people we talk to on the street. We met an AWESOME lady the other night, walking back to our car after knocking on (the wrong) door to contact a “lost” family. Her name was PR. At first she scared us- she kind of came out of nowhere. But we went over and talked to her and she was SUPER COOL. She LOVES Jesus and has a TON of faith. She also has two nephews who served missions. Her friend, K, was there too, and to quote her, she’s very “into God.” They’re both super cool, but we had to refer them over to the English elders. 
 
I love my companions, too. We work hard, but we have a lot of fun, too. We jam to Disney songs in the car, flip around each others’ headrests just to be annoying, hide behind corners and jump out at each other… the shenanigans never end. We also came up with our “spirit animals” this week. They reflect how fearlessly we battle the Adversary. Sister Hartling is the bold Lioness, Sister Bowen is the majestic “Girl Stallion,” and I’m the tenacious She-Wolf.
 
Yeah, I dunno. We think we’re pretty funny.
 
Pues, esto es todo. Hasta la proxima! Well, this is it. Until next time!
 
Hermana Howell
 
P.S.
NEWS FLASH:

 
President JUST called and told us that we’re getting a new missionary, and splitting up the trio. She’s going to work with Sister Hartling and cover Mira Loma and Eastvale, while Sister Bowen and I are in charge of the Rubidoux area. We pick up the new Sistertomorrow at 1. What?!
 
Mom: Will you still live in the barn?
 
Yeah. There are 2 bedrooms in the Barn. Right now we’ve got all the desks in one room and all the beds in the other. We’ll have to do some moving around here soon!

40: Halvsies

Yeah… this Wednesday I hit my 9-month mark. Halfway. I can’t believe it… it makes me so sad! The time is going by SO FAST and there’s so much I need to do and become before the time’s all gone. I keep having dreams that I get to the end of my mission and I can’t even remember the second half of it. It’s almost as freaky as the one I had my first transfer where my trainer got eaten by a werewolf.
 
Anyways, this week was a good one. The best part was that yesterday we had a bunch of baptisms! It’s so exciting when the people we and the other missionaries have been teaching and have come to love are finally ready to take that step of faith and make a covenant with their loving Heavenly Father. The Spirit is there so strong and we get to feel a small portion of the joy that God feels for these, His children, coming to Him.
 
The De Anza ward, where I’m serving now, had a TRIPLE BAPTISM last night! Grandpa C really felt the Spirit when he came for the C family’s baptism in February. We started teaching him a little bit after that, but it was difficult because he only came here for the weekends, and lived outside of our mission during the week. So we got in contact with some Elders in the other mission and passed him and his son over to them, and they’ve been teaching them since. Yesterday Grandpa was able to be baptized here and we got to meet the Elders. It was really cool- we’re so happy to see this family coming closer and closer together because of the gospel.
 
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Cm is a lady we found a few weeks ago. (I think I mentioned her- we left a blessing and she accepted baptism immediately afterwards.) She wants to be sealed to her husband who passed away and wants to share what she’s learned with her family members and neighbors. She’s amazing. Her mom, R, is on track to be baptized next weekend, and we’re still working with her daughters, H and M, as well.
 
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Elders Higgins and Baltazar also baptized the mom of one of their recent converts. I don’t know her story very well, but we’re so happy for her as well.
 
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! We got a text earlier in the week from my previous companions, Sisters Beck and Juarez, saying that Z would be having her baptism on Sunday as well! So I got a member teamup and ran down to MoVal to see Z. If you remember, Sister Beck and I found her our first transfer together. Her mom’s less-active, but her grandma is an active member of the ward and Z had been to girls’ camp and stuff a lot. I was so happy to see her finally ready to trust God and take that step and begin receiving all of the blessings that He has had waiting for her. I talked to her little brother, A, as well, and he said he’d be getting baptized in two weeks. Z’s mom and her uncles were all there and it was so beautiful. I’m so happy for her and her family.
 
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Love you all tons and I keep you in my prayers! Today is Sister Hartling’s birthday, so we’re going to the mall to celebrate. She keeps getting mad because Sister Bowen and I sent out a mass text to remind people to sing to her. It’s super funny.
 
Hermana Howell
 
fotos:
our zone
 
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Some ward members at the ward talent show:
 
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39: Like a crazy person

Buenos dias!
 
This last week was bien eventful… I’m not even sure what all to write about! I’ll just go day-by-day, I guess.
 
Monday- P day. We just did some laundry and grocery shopping and stuff. Sister Hartling found Scattergories somewhere in the depths of the Barn and so we played that for a while before going out and trying (and failing) to get in contact with our investigators.
 
Tuesday- District meeting, in which Sister Bateman gave a super duper training on repentance and helping our investigators understand it better. Then we had lunch with a slightly-crazy member and visited some investigators and potentials. We met D, who was SUPER cool. We taught him the Restoration and he felt the Spirit so strongly and accepted baptism immediately. We’re working with him to be able to make his goal and come closer to Christ. Unfortunately he’s kinda flakey and it’s hard to catch him at home.
 
Wednesday- Went on exchanges! Sister Hartling and I went to Moreno Valley with Sister Luccion. It was so awesome (and a little weird) to be back in MoVal, even in the same apartment. We got to see the T family, including my convert B and his recently-baptized wife, C. It was really nice. I also held a teeny-tiny Shih Tzu puppy. I took a picture but forgot to bring my cord this week. Sowwy.
 
Thursday- Back in my area. We started the day by helping a recent convert clean one of the apartments that she manages. Later that day we had dinner with some of the Elders’  investigators. The mom is really interested, and the kids are already baptized. The mom wants to get baptized… but the dad is being kind of a pain apparently. She said a couple of times that she wants to get married so she can be baptized, but he’s having none of it. Kind of sad. But anyway, we got talking to him and found out that even though the Elders have been teaching the family for a good long while, he’s still never read ANY of the Book of Mormon. We started testifying and telling him how important the Book of Mormon is and bore our testimonies of the truthfulness and power it has as the word of God. He started out all prideful and “I’m so much smarter than you little girls,” but his smirk kind of dissippated as the Spirit worked on him. We committed him to read and pray about it to know for himself. We’re not sure if he did, but it was such a powerful experience.
 
Friday- Followed up on a potential that I’d talked to in the parking lot of a Hispanic market a couple of days earlier, named A. He’s also super cool- when I talked to him the first time, he looked so shocked that I had struck up the conversation with him. He told me he’d been trying to kind of turn his life around and saw it as a sign from God that I’d approached him. He’d been caught up in some bad stuff, but he has a sincere desire to change and come to Christ. We’re very excited to see how things go with him.
 
Saturday was medio crazy- We started off helping Hermana M clean out her garage a bit. She’s a clothing designer, and there was a ton of patterns and bolts of fabric. Then she opened up some boxes of clothes and told us to take whatever we wanted- most of them still had tags and everything!
 
We took our car in to the shop to get something checked out with the brakes. Then we realized it’d be there for a good few hours, so we called a member to see if she could shuttle us to a few appointments while the car got worked on. Hermana J helped us out a ton and shared a beautiful testimony with several people.
 
After getting our car back, we met up with D at the stake center to talk to her before her baptismal interview. She was getting really nervous about taking this step, especially without the support of her family. We showed her the baptismal font and asked her if she wanted to go inside. As she got into the empty font with us, she started to cry. She said that as we were talking about baptism earlier, she got really nervous and scared and her heart started pounding, but when she was in the font, thinking about actually making that covenant with God, she was filled with peace. She said, “I crave this feeling.” It was so beautiful and we were all crying.
 
Later that night however, she texted us and said she didn’t feel like she could go through with it. Her mom, and even her member grandma were being unsupportive and telling her that she wasn’t ready. They were all afraid of the dad’s reaction, whom D hadn’t even told that she was meeting with us. We ran over to her house with some of her member friends and talked to her until we were almost late getting home.
 
Sunday- Talked to D and her grandma with the bishop. She’s going to fast and pray and then talk to her dad this week before getting baptized. The poor girl was so nervous and upset, but now she’s more calm and at peace, and we’re going to support her as she faces her fears.
 
Monday- Multi-Zone Conference with President and Sister Smart! They’re so wonderful. I learned SO MUCH- pages and pages of notes. I also accompanied Sister Jin, from Korea, on her violin solo. I messed up a few times (almost 9 months without practice is starting to show) but it was beautiful and the Spirit was very strong.
 
Today I got my hair cut… good thing, too! I realized that the last time I cut my hair was in the MTC in July! It looks great- I’ll have to show you next week when I bring a cord to hook up my camera to the computer. Oops!
 
I learned so much this week- the biggest thing would probably be to put away my fear. It only keeps me back from sharing the beautiful message that I have and from bringing more blessings into the lives around me. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out all fear.” (1 John 4:18)
 
Love y’all!
Sister Howell
 
P.S. from the Mom… Although Sis. Howell forgot pics this week, I borrowed this one off of Sis. Beck’s blog. =]
 
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38: To sum up the week in a word… wet.

This week we had a short break from sunny and clear California weather, in exchange for torrential downpours. It was good though- it was an answer to the fast that was held last month through most of Southern California to end the massive draught that’s going down here. Unfortunately it really messed up my hair and made our daily “OYMs” really difficult. Also the rain on the roof of the Barn is crazy loud (not to mention the thunder!) and we also discovered that the Barn leaks a little bit. But all is well! It was fun.
 
Sister Bowen also ran over a frog and was WRACKED with guilt about it. We flipped a U-turn to see if it was okay. It wasn’t.
 
Some other highlights of the week- we had a stake post-transfer breakfast with all the missionaries serving in the stake and several stake leaders talked to us. We talked about 1 Corinthians 12, how there are many members that make up one body. He related that to how sometimes we have to work with difficult or imperfect members and ward leaders, but it’s our opportunity to build them up and be more Christlike in helping them become even stronger. Then the stake president shared Mosiah 2:22, “And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hat said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” We talked about how that applies to everyone. It applies to the people we’re teaching, in that as they keep the commitments we leave with them and learn about what God expects of them, they are able to receive more and more of God’s blessings and the strength and support they need to continue to progress. It applies to the members of the wards in that as they keep their covenants and continue down the path of righteousness, God will bless them and help them to be able to continue on. It applies to us in that as we obey the commandments and the mission rules, we’ll be able to have a greater measure of the Spirit with us and we’ll in turn be able to share that with the people we see every day, which in turn will help them to be able to live the commandments of God and receive even more blessings. I’m learning more and more every day that God just wants our happiness, and the commandments and standards that He’s set forth for us are not so much “rules” that restrict us, but a guide that shows us the way to acheive the greatest happiness possible. He loves us SO much! It’s wonderful.
 
On Thursday we were eating dinner with some of our recent converts, the C family, when they asked if we could teach them English. Mom C recently got a job at a convenience store and wants to better communicate with the people there. So we set everything up and taught our first English class Saturday night at the church. It was so fun and we’re totes pumped to see the progress of our favorite little familia. We’re spreading the word and everyone seems SO excited about it. We’re hoping to get a big turnout this Saturday. We anticipate that it’ll also be a great way to find more people to teach about the Gospel, as well.
 
Love you all so much! Hasta la proxima!
Hermana Howell
 
PS- Next week I’ll have multi-zones on Monday, so my P-day and emailing will be moved to Tuesday. :]