59: Eternal Perspective

The work in here in Corona is chugging along, slowly but surely. It’s been a pretty rough week actually… we’ve hit major roadblocks with several investigators, and many of the people we had been visiting told us that they were no longer interested in us coming over. It was heartbreaking each time.

BUT we’re not discouraged! (Or at least we’re trying our best not to be!) And we have faith that God’s just preparing more people who are more ready to accept the restored gospel, and we just need to find them.
On the other hand, I’ve been really getting a lot from my study time every morning. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the missionary schedule, every day we start off with 2-3 hours of studying from the scriptures and words of modern-day prophets. 1 hour personal study, 1 hour companionship study, and 1 hour language study. That’s a lot of scripture reading. It’s awesome. Besides preparing for the lessons that we’ll be teaching during the day, I’ve been working on understanding more deeply the lessons that I share every day by studying them principle-by-principle out of Preach My Gospel (the missionary handbook).
I’m currently studying the Plan of Salvation lesson. I’ve developed such an appreciation for God’s great love for us, and how perfectly He laid out this plan. I know that families are THE MOST important unit in this life. They’re necessary for our Father’s plan to move forward- the first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve was to have a family.
God just wants us to be happy. Our purpose here on earth is two-fold. First, we’re here to prepare to meet God, to repent so that we’ll be able to return to live in His presence. Second, “men are that they might have joy.” All that God created is for our benefit. The birds, plants, sunsets, the way it smells after rain… it’s all for us! God made this beautiful world, and we’re here to enjoy it!
This life is so important. The choices we make have eternal consequences- whether they be good or bad. There really are just two choices- freedom and eternal life through following Jesus Christ, or captivity and misery by disobeying His commandments. When we think of it in those terms, it’s simple. Satan tries to lead us astray by trying to convince us that it isn’t just black and white. But the fact is what’s wrong is wrong and what’s right is right. We’ll be blessed and live more happily if we choose the right.
Life sometimes seems unfair, and sometimes things seem just not to make sense. However, God is just and He is perfect. In our current state, we’re finite and simply can not understand everything. But this life is just a tiny “blip” in our eternal existence. It’s easy to forget that, but it’s so important. All the injustices, all the things that don’t make sense… it’ll all work out in the long run. We just have to have faith and trust in God for now, follow His plan and remember that He’s the one in control and He knows what He’s doing. He loves us and wants the best for us.
I love you all so much! God loves you even more!
Sister Howell

58: Careful what you ask for

Well… I prayed this week to ask God to help me be more humble and diligent… and He’s giving me lots of opportunities to develop those attributes.

Most- bueno, all of our investigators are on hold right now. One went to Mexico for a vacation, one is on doctor’s orders to bedrest because of problems with her pregnancy, and one who was just about to get baptized decided he wanted to investigate another church instead.
It’s been a rough week.
BUT we’ve seen our share of miracles though! We have had referrals from members, investigators, and just random people we talk to almost every single day. And we’ve been able to contact each of these people’s friends and family members. So cool. Even though we’ve run into problems (and a lot of them), God keeps moving His work forward. “The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.”
I know we’re here on the Lord’s errand. We’re here to help EVERYONE come closer to Christ. Sometimes it’s just hard because the people don’t want to listen or act. But when we find those who are ready, it’s amazing. I love getting to see the light of the gospel change these people’s lives. By no means is it an easy change. But there’s a phrase in Spanish that I love that sums it up pretty well- “vale la pena.” It means, basically, “it’s worth it,” but better. Every sacrifice that a person makes, every challenge that they overcome, will be recompensed many times over in blessings from their loving Heavenly Father. Living the gospel is hard, for a reason. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love my Savior and I know that He lives. I love you all too and know that Christ paid the price so that we would have the ability to return to live with Him and our Father again.
Hasta la proxima,
Hermana Howell

57: Do hard things

IT IS SO HOT! And it’s only getting hotter! Luckily where we live there’s a pool… but we only keep our feet in there when we’re reading our scriptures. No swimming for missionaries.

Anyways, the work is trucking along at its steady pace. There’s not a whole lot to report this week- we’re teaching some pretty cool people as always, but pretty much all of them are either flakey or on probation (which just makes the process longer if they desire to be baptized).
I’m having a blast with my buddy “Senorita Becky,” and we’re working and praying hard for miracles.
Being on my mission has taught me a lot. One of the things I’ve learned is the importance of doing things even when you really don’t want to. Haha. One of the things we do here in the California Riverside Mission is OYMs, or “Open Your Mouth.” Every day we’re each required to have gospel conversations with 10 people, outside of our lessons and planned activities. Since we’re in the car most of the day, it’s a little harder to just talk to people between appointments. So that means at the end of the day we have to get the rest of our OYMs, usually at a parking lot. And I really don’t like it. Haha. But I do it. Sometimes I drag my feet a little bit, but I see it as a trial of my faith. Through these OYMs, I’ve really grown my testimony of the principles of faith and obedience. It requires faith to be obedient, and it takes a lot of faith to be obedient when we don’t want to be. BUT you know what? When we exercise faith, God ALWAYS blesses us! And the more faith we exercise, the more He can bless us! We all have things we need to improve on, commandments we need to obey a little better. Whether it be reading the scriptures, keeping the Sabbath day holy, or even taking better care of our bodies- when we make an effort to keep these commandments, God can bless us.
I got the chance to share my testimony of this principle this week with a guy named A. We’d been teaching A for a few weeks, but he just wouldn’t come to church. We saw him this week and had a good heart-to-heart with him. He told us he was going through some hard stuff right now, and didn’t think he’d be able to keep learning or be able to come to church. It was too hard. I told him I was glad that it was hard for him to go to church. We talked about how much he needs God’s blessings right now, and that he needs a lot of help to overcome his challenges. Since going to church was hard for him, if he could do so he would be able to receive enormous blessings. He said he’d come… someday.
I know that God loves His children. He wants to bless us. He just wants us to be happy. That’s the reason for EVERYTHING that He does. Sadly, we are the ones that distance ourselves from Him and prevent Him from giving us the blessings He so greatly desires to give us. I just want everyone to understand this! Living the gospel is hard- but it’s SO WORTH IT! We can be SO MUCH HAPPIER when we live how God told us to- that’s WHY He said it!
I love you all! Make good choices!
Sister Howell

56: Feliz Cumpleanos, Estados Unidos! (Happy Birthday, America!)

Well a lot of things happened this week. Sister Beck and I worked really hard and we helped a bunch of people set a goal for a date to be baptized. We found some super cool new people and we’re excited to see them start learning more and come closer to God.

Tuesday was Canada day, and we didn’t do anything special. We did think of our Canadian friend from the MTC though, Elder Blomfield. I doubt he can receive telepathic messages though, so it wasn’t really anything special… except that Sister Beck and I decided that it should be an 80s day, so we dressed accordingly and took awkward pictures.
On Thursday we took our friend A on a tour of the church building so that he’d be more comfortable coming on Sunday. When we got to the chapel, I played the piano and we (Sister Beck and I) sang “Asombro me da” (I stand all amazed) and the Spirit was really strong. We testified of the Savior’s Atonement and how through Him we can repent and become clean through baptism. It was really cool.
Friday was the FOURTH OF JULY! This was a crazy day. We started the day off by meeting OUR NEW MISSION PRESIDENT, President Mullen. He seems really cool. It’s very exciting because he speaks SPANISH! That’ll be great since we have a few investigators that may need to speak to him. Also I just think it’s awesome when other people speak Spanish too. His wife was super sweet too- I’m excited to get to know and work with them more!
Later we had dinner with some of the other Sisters in our stake- pizza and cookies. After that we went home and ate more food, since our homeshare was having a huge barbeque party. We watched fireworks from their balcony- we could see like 6 different shows going on (from a distance). It was a good time.
Saturday, we helped clean the church. Then we helped clean an investigator’s house. Then we were REALLY TIRED so we showered and took a power-nap before going out and teaching people. We got to see S, one of our investigators who REALLY wants to get baptized. We’re going to try and get her started on the interview process next week so she can be baptized asap. Her cute little girls (8 and 5) gave us rings and draw us pictures all the time. They’re so adorable.
Sunday was as great as always! It was fast and testimony meeting, and several of the other sisters’ recent converts shared their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the Church. It was so sweet. Then in Relief Society, we talked about the Word of Wisdom, and how it’s more than just avoiding certain things- we need to try to eat healthy too! It was good and I sure felt the need to repent and make some changes!
Love you all tons!
Hermana Howell
IMG_0295[1]80s Day
Sister Beck and I got matching Simba shirts at Walmart!
…and I’m not very good at “jumping” pictures.
We also found a big leaf. Sister Beck makes fun of me because sometimes I touch peoples’ plants while we wait for them to open the door. It’s not weird.
View for 4th of July fireworks