46: Crazy Vincent from Scotland

I don’t really have a whole lot to report this week.
 
Thursday was Sister Baumgart’s birthday, so we celebrated by having some other sisters over for a “weekly planning party.” We had cupcakes, party hats, and Taco Bell. It was great.
 
Sister Baumgart and I have been working hard and seeing tiny little miracles every day. Que bendicion! The work’s moving along slowly but surely, and we’re doing our best to find those that are ready for this message and help them to act on the things we teach them.
 
As we search for more people to teach, we’ve found some VERY INTERESTING characters. People are just so interesting! Our favorite street contact this week probably has to be Vincent. He actually approached US and started talking. He recognized us as mormon missionaries and demanded that we tell him where the church was. He was a little bit frightening and a lot bit hilarious. He told us his whole life story in about two minutes, and then asked if he could have my nametag. I told him no. He was also fascinated that I was from Idaho- he said he lived there after coming to the US from Scotland in the 80s. Unfortunately he didn’t have the accent anymore. He didn’t come to church with us (I seriously doubt he actually speaks Spanish) but it was sure cool to get to talk to such an interesting person! haha.
 
On Tuesday, we got to have a “noche de hogar” or family home evening with the Cuiniche family. They’re so great! We watched the Testaments with them and they loved it. I just love this family so much!
 
On Saturday, we got the chance to help with a community service project for Mormon Helping Hands. We helped clean up and prepare a nature park for the upcoming “Duck Daze” event by spreading mulch, planting some native plants and weeding out all the non-native tumbleweeds. A ton of people from the stake came, as well as all the missionaries in the two zones here. It was a ton of fun and the park ended up looking awesome. It sure left us tired though!
 
Love you all tons and hope you have a great week! It looks like a good one is coming for me- I get to go to the temple this week! Yay!
 
Hasta luego,
 
Hermana Howell
 
PS- Sister Baumgart and I got matching nighties, and then decided that we were looking SO GOOD that we needed to have a photo shoot.
 
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Hahaha! I love that they are wearing their tags! -Mom

45: Gracias a El (Because of Him)

This week was a tough one, but I learned a whole lot! We got asked by a few people, who seemed really promising and ready to accept the gospel, not to come back anymore. It’s always so sad when people get a glimpse of the message we share and choose to reject it. It’s hard on us too, since we start to love these people almost immediately. We know the blessings and happiness that they could start to receive, but they don’t choose to do the things that qualify them for those blessings. It’s so sad, but I know that God has a plan for each one of His children, and we’ll all have an equal opportunity to accept and receive these blessings, whether it be now or further on down the path.
 
I hope everyone got a chance to watch the Easter video that the Church put out at easter.mormon.org (or pascua.mormon.org in Spanish.) We decided to give it an extra boost to try and get it out for everyone to see, by setting up a booth at the swap meet. It was SO COOL. We had a table full of pass-along cards, copies of the Book of Mormon, and pamphlets in English and Spanish, and even a few copies of the Book of Mormon in Chinese. We also had a projector and a screen set up, where we showed the Because of Him/Gracias a El video and a few other videos from mormon.org . It was so cool. We spent the morning talking to EVERYONE and it was a huge success! We got several return appointments and taught a bunch of lessons just right there in front of the booth. It was a really cool experience and we really got our name out there.
 
I love my Savior. I know that He really did suffer and pay the price for all of my mistakes and shortcomings. I know that as I trust in Him and lean on Him, I can overcome these mistakes and shortcomings and be able to return to live with Him and our loving Heavenly Father again. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and that He chose to go through all that He did just so that He could help me become better and so that He would know how to comfort me in times of difficulty. (Alma 7:11-13) I know that He did this because He loves me and wants to have me come and live with Him again.
 
I also know that this is true for EVERYONE. He did this for me, but He also did it for you, and your neighbor, and every person that you see on the streets… every single person. He did this because we are ALL children of our Heavenly Father and both He and His Son love us more that we can ever fathom. They want an eternal family just as badly- if not more so- as any of us do.
 
I love this Gospel and I’m so thankful for the chance I have to share it with the people here. I love you all so much! Happy Easter!
 
Hermana Deryk Howell

44: Knockin’ doors down in the hood

My new companion is super cool. She’s from Georgia and loves ducks. We had a good time last night singing Wicked at the top of our lungs and running around the Barn… I think Sisters Hartling and Schmidt thought we were crazy when they walked through the door at the end of “Defying Gravity” though. (We also heard the neighbors’ dogs howling at one point… oops! Haha.)
 
Sister Baumgart and I are just truckin’ along here in Rubidoux. We’re mainly focusing right now on finding new people to teach and helping these new people to move forward and progress towards being able to make sacred covenants with God in order to receive all the blessings of the restored gospel.
 
We found a really cool lady the other day named T. The other sisters talked to her in a parking lot about a week ago and gave us her address to stop by and offer a blessing or prayer in her home. We showed up to pray with her, and she ran into the back room to get her Book of Mormon (which we didn’t know she had) and started asking questions. So instead of the 5-minute blessing, we had an AWESOME full Restoration lesson. It was wonderful! She said she’d been looking for a church for her and her 3-year-old daughter and is excited to learn more and see how she likes it. So cool.
 
We’re also still teaching C, whose family all are members in the English ward. Unfortunately C doesn’t speak any English. He still goes to the English ward though and loves how he feels there. He’s set a REALLY SOLID goal to be baptized on the 3rd of May. We’re super excited for him. He gave up coffee cold turkey, even though he doesn’t completely understand why it’s “bad.” He just understands that it’s a commandment from God and wants to do what God wants him to. He’s so cool.
 
We’re also teaching R, an older guy who has a bit of a hard time focusing. Any time there’s an opening for a tangent, he takes it and RUNS. He also talks REALLY FAST and it’s a little bit of a challenge to understand him sometimes. Haha. But he has such a sincere desire to learn more and come closer to God. He loves reading too and understands the scriptures really well. After we talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ and how we remember it and thank Him for it by taking the sacrament every week, he promised to come to church! We’re so excited for him.
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I’m so thankful for my Savior. The Church is doing this cool push for Easter with a video on easter.mormon.org (or pascua.mormon.org in Spanish!) called Because of Him. They’re also encouraging everyone to post on Twitter and Facebook and EVERYWHERE about what you can do #becauseofhim. Since I can’t use all that fancy social media stuff, I send that invitation on to all of you to share this video and a little bit of your testimony of what is possible for you #becauseofhim. It’s a beautiful, powerful video and helps us remember the real reason for Easter.
 
I love you all tons! The gospel is true and nos trae verdadera felicidad que puede durar por siempre. Se que vive mi Senor! brings us true happiness that can last forever. Living is my Lord!
 
Hermana Howell

43: Un translado mas en la Granja (A transfer more at the Barn)

Another 6 weeks has passed and that means TRANSFERS!
 
ImageHowell, Bowen, Hartling, Schmidt at the Barn a couple of weeks ago
 
I’m staying here, living in the Barn and working in Rubidoux. Sister Bowen is headed to Lake Elsinore later today, switching places with my new companion, Sister Baumgart. I don’t really know her, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about her! Just keeping my fingers crossed that she likes Jack in the Box tacos, too. Sisters Hartling and Schmidt are staying as well.
 
General Conference was INCREDIBLE. There were so many talks and moments that I felt were directed just to me. I’m so excited to read and listen and study even more these inspired words.
 
We’re still “finding” and trying to meet as many new people as possible right now. We’ve had some pretty cool lessons and felt the Spirit really strong, even with helicopters circling around and around to the point that it makes it hard to even hear ourselves testify!
 
These last two transfers with Sister Bowen have been CRAZY. Mostly because of the drastic changes to the companionship… like being put into a trio with Sister Hartling a week into the first transfer, and getting divided again with the arrival of Sister Schmidt two weeks ago. But I’ve learned SO MUCH about rolling with the punches and trusting that the Lord knows what he’s doing and who he’s putting where and with whom. I’ve seen miracles, I’ve laughed and I’ve cried- sometimes simultaneously, and I’ve made friendships that are going to last forever. We’ve eaten SO MANY TACOS and sung along to “Let it Go” at until we almost lost our voices, and practiced rolling our “rr”s until our tongues got tired. I love Sister Bowen LIKE CRAZY y la voy a extranar muchisimo. I’m honestly a little broken-hearted that we’re getting split up, but I’m also excited to work with Sister Baumgart.
 
Love you all tons! God loves you even more!
 
Sister Howell