72: Ghetto safari

Things are going great here in Hemet. There’s nothing too exciting to report this week, but our investigators are doing AWESOME and we have 3 people preparing to be baptized on specific dates in November (including V! He’s the COOLEST. We’re doing an FHE with him tonight at a member’s home.)

I can’t believe how fast the time is going by. This is the last week of the transfer already, so who knows what will happen! Heavenly Father knows. I always think I know and then I’m often dead wrong. It’s fine. Most likely I’ll be staying here… and I really want Sister Spencer to stay here too, but I don’t know how likely that is. We’ll see.
In other news, Sister Spencer and I discovered ostriches as we were driving to an appointment. There are also zebras here. Apparently Hemet is like an African safari- but with more taco shops and thrift stores. (Speaking of thrift stores, I got a SWEET sweater last week. I might use it on Halloween this week when Sister Spencer and I dress up as old ladies.)
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Con mucho amor,
Hermana Howell

71: Teaching by the Spirit

Big things happened this week!

We had a nice visit from Elder Evans, of the 70. It was so great. He talked to the whole mission, in 2 groups. I got to see him and all my friends that are serving in MoVal and Menifee. He talked to us about teaching by the Spirit and not “some other way.” It was a real eye-opener and it kind of abolished some common practices in our mission. Like OYM-ing in parking lots. I can’t really say that I’m all that upset about that. It wasn’t my favorite. He also talked about the importance of being obedient to ALL of the rules in the white handbook so that we can have the Spirit with us to find the people that are just waiting for the gospel. It was really powerful and I came away feeling very motivated and excited about missionary work again. It really is SO COOL, what I have the chance to be doing right now. I get to spread the news that God loves us each SO MUCH and that He still talks to us today!

I also got to go on exchanges this week. Sister Spencer went to my old stomping grounds in MoVal, and Sister Dulong came to spend a day in Hemet with me! We taught some great lessons and learned a lot from each other. I love it when I have the chance to learn from other missionaries. Sister Dulong is great and teaches really well, and she really shows her concern for the people she’s teaching.

We picked up a bunch of new people to teach this week- including a guy who used to live in Idaho and Utah and said that if he was born again, he’d definitely be a Mormon. And a part-member family that just moved here recently that had been talking to missionaries before and have been to church a bunch of times. And a 14-year-old girl whose friends invited her to mutual last week. She said she loved it and would like to be baptized.

We had another AWESOME lesson with V and taught about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel which are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And then enduring to the end. It was so great- it was exactly what he needed right then. It seemed like at the beginning of the lesson, he wasn’t so sure if he was ready to keep going forward learning about the gospel, but the Spirit was SO STRONG and by the end he was solidly determined to keep going. He came to church again this week and one of the talks was just perfect for him. He is SO cool.

Love you all tons! Make good choices and write me letters!
Sister Deryk Howell

70: Viejitos (Little Old Man)

This week was crazy awesome.

To start, we got to go to the temple on Tuesday! Yay! It was kind of bittersweet though, because I realized it was the last time I’d get to go while I was on my mission. I did feel a great peace and comfort as I sat in the House of the Lord, and I felt reassured that God has a plan specifically for me, both for now and for after the mission. Luckily I still have FOREVER left on my mission and I don’t have to think about any of that other stuff.

After the temple… I got sick. But just for a couple of days. I was pretty miserable for a bit, but I’m all better now. :]

The coolest thing this week is probably our investigator, Victor. He’s an older guy that we met a while ago, but it’s been hard to see him very often. This week we taught him about the Plan of Salvation and we brought a member of the ward with us and they were INSTANT BESTIES. It was awesome. Victor is super cool and loves everything we have shared with him. He says that there’s been something about this religion that’s been calling to him. He’s had some rough times lately- his work isn’t very consistent and he recently got diagnosed with cancer. But he’s so positive and is letting his trials bring him closer to God rather than push Him away. He came to church for the first time this week, and stayed for nearly the whole 3 hours… even though his daughter had had a baby the DAY BEFORE. He reads the Book of Mormon and understands and learns from it. He’s planning on being baptized in the middle of next month (but it might even be able to happen sooner at the rate he’s moving!)

Hermana Howell


Me and Sister Spencer at the temple!


Just some old people going for a nice afternoon stroll together, Hemet style.


69: Saving the day

This week, Sister Spencer and I got to be superheroes. Kinda.

Mormon Ad: Choose to be a super hero by serving an #LDS mission

We were about to go to a parking lot to talk to people on Friday, when Sister Spencer suggested we go visit a potential investigator that is NEVER home. It was worth a shot, I thought, so we went. As we pulled up, we saw a couple of girls walking down the street. They waved us down and asked if they could use our phone to call someone. They were just 18 years old and had come to Hemet with their boyfriends to try to find an apartment, but hadn’t had any luck- they’d been living in motels for about 2 months, when they got into an argument and the boyfriends drove off and left the girls stranded. Their phone was dead and they didn’t know anyone that they could ask for help. So they hid their stuff in the hills and just started walking.
That’s when we found them. We let them make some phone calls, but they couldn’t find anyone to come pick them up. So we called around in our ward until we found an Hermano that could take them to pick up their things and take them to a bus stop.
While we waited for him to come, we got talking with them. One of them started talking about how she never saw herself in this situation. When she left, her parents had urged her not to, but she insisted that she was old enough and was able to take care of herself and live like a grown-up. She saw now that she was wrong.
This experience broke my heart. These poor girls just got themselves into a bad situation and couldn’t get out. It got me thinking- sometimes we all do the same kind of thing. We think we know better than the counsel we receive from our parents, or our church leaders, or the scriptures, and decide to do our own thing because we’re “old enough” or that it applies to other people, but somehow we’re exceptions to the rule. Then with that one little decision, we find ourselves in a situation that we can’t escape from. We’re stuck.
Luckily, our loving Heavenly Father sends people to our rescue. Just like Sister Spencer and I were led to rescue these girls from a night on the streets, God puts people in our lives to pull us off the streets of Hemet and set us back on track for home. We have our families, our church leaders, good friends, missionaries, and sometimes random strangers that we meet. God wants us to come home to Him and He will guide us there, no matter how far we wander (or defiantly march off) of the path. Repentance can be a hard process, but it is such a wonderful blessing that our Heavenly Father has given us. Through repenting we can choose to follow His guidance and come back to His path. It’s an uphill climb, but it’s much easier than trying to hack our own path through the wilderness!
Sorry for being so preachy! I’ve just been thinking a lot about it this weekend, when I wasn’t watching conference, which was awesome! How cool is it that the speakers gave their talks in their own native languages? So cool.
Make your week great! Mucho amor,
Hermana Howell