49: Cambios (Changes)

Buenas tardes, familia y amigos!  Good afternoon, family and friends!
 
So today is the first day of my 8th transfer in the mission field, and my 11-month mark from when I entered the MTC… the time has been going by SO FAST!
With the new transfer, there were a LOT of changes that are going down in the Barn. Only one of us four sisters is staying here- the rest of us are all going our separate directions. Sister Hartling will be holding down the fort here, and her companion, Sister Schmidt, is headed to Menifee. I’m going to Corona (rumored to be the PRETTIEST part of the mission! Yay!) and Sister Baumgart is going to Moreno Valley… in an English ward! My new companion will be Sister Gates, whom I’ve never met. I’ll meet up with her around 4 today. I’ve heard she’s cool though!
 
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Riverside CA Mission – Sis. Howell has served in Moreno Valley,
the Jurupa area (in the Barn!) and now she’s headed to Corona
 
I’m a pretty sad to be leaving this ward. They’re SO GREAT. I almost cried saying goodbye to the Cuiniche family. They said they would pray for me to be sent back to serve there again before I finish my mission. They’re so amazing. I promised I’d bring my family to meet them after my mission’s over (so maybe you guys will want to learn a little spanish… buena suerte! good luck!) I’m also heartbroken to be getting separated from Sister Baumgart. She’s so great and we only got one transfer together! :[ I’m sure we’ll run into each other again though!
 
This week has been a little rough. We got dropped by a REALLY COOL family… but hopefully their time will come later on when they’re more prepared. My companion got kind of sick too, so we ended up doing some exchanges with the English STLs, Sister Anderson and Sister Gowans. It was really fun (I LOVE SISTER GOWANSSSSS) but unfortunately we couldn’t find ANYONE at home and didn’t manage to teach a whole lot of lessons.
 
This Sunday, though, we had a wonderful BAPTISM! It’s a really interesting situation actually. The family G were all baptized in about 2009, but the mom and the younger son’s records got lost. So they had to be rebaptized… which is kind of a bummer. When Sister Bowen and I were first told about the situation, only about half the family was active. So we went and started sharing scriptures with them a couple of times a week. One time we read Alma 32 with the family, where Alma teaches how faith is like a seed that we have to nourish to allow it to grow. It was really powerful and we talked about what we need to do to nourish our seeds. Sister G then asked us, with tears in her eyes, why we had picked that chapter. She told us that it felt like Alma was talking right to her- and she vowed to start coming back to church. Since then, she’s only missed one Sunday. She is SO amazing. I love her like crazy. She took this test of her faith and she grew so much stronger. There have been so many times in my mission when I’ve been awestruck by the faith of the people I teach. She had some unique challenges in order to be baptized again, but she faced it with such courage and faith… it was a beautiful experience. Her older son baptized both her and his little brother. It was SO COOL. I don’t have my camera with me (I packed it already to take it to my new area) so I can’t include a picture of this special family this week, but I will next week!
 
I love you all tons and I’m so excited to see what adventures await me in Corona!
 
Sister Howell
 
P.S. from Mom… Sis. Gates has just finished her training, and while she shows Sis. Howell around Corona, Sis. Howell will get to be her “step-mom”, a term they use for the next companion you have after your trainer. She is very excited to be in a home share, which means they will be living with members, and to have “for real a/c”. 
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