79 part two: Para siempre Dios este con vos

Well. I didn’t think today was ever coming. It’s kind of like Christmas- you’re always like “It’s almost Christmas!” but then suddenly it IS Christmas and it always takes you off guard.

Today I’ll be spending the evening in the mission home with President and Sister Mullen. Tomorrow I’ll be watching California disappear from a plane window (unless I have an aisle seat, that is.) It’s really surreal.

The time has gone by so fast. My heart breaks a little bit every time I think about going back to “normal life.” My mission has easily been the best thing that’s happened in my life. I’ve come to understand and appreciate the gospel in a way that I never did before. I’ve been blessed to meet some of the most wonderful people and help them in the only way that really matters, in helping them to come closer to their loving Heavenly Father through our Savior Jesus Christ’s atonement.

I’m so thankful that God changed my plans and prompted me to put my “life” on hold while I came out here to serve Him and His children. I’ve grown in so many ways and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I also know that there’s a time and a season for all things. As sad as I am to be finishing this chapter of my life, I look forward to more great things happening in the future. Something I like to tell myself- kind of a motto or something I guess- is “Good things keep happening.” Just because one good thing draws to a close, doesn’t mean that all good things are over with. More good things keep coming. God has a plan- a plan of happiness! He’s got a ton of great things waiting for each one of us. When we live the way He’s outlined in the gospel and with the commandments, we’ll find the greatest measure of that happiness.

I know that God places specific people in specific places to touch other people’s lives. I’ve had the blessing of being on both sides of that during my mission. Wherever you are, there is always someone nearby that you can help and bless. Thank you to all of you who have kept me in your prayers. I’ve felt that support, especially when times have gotten hard. God hears our prayers and answers, whether they be in behalf of others or just a plea for comfort.

To those of you in Idaho, I’ll see you soon. Please try to make it a little less frigid- I’m concerned that I’ll catch a cold as soon as I step off the plane. Haha.

To those of you still serving here in California, keep it up! Enjoy every minute and don’t blink or it will all be gone.

I love you all dearly. “God be with you till we meet again.”

Hermana Deryk Howell

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79 part one: Getto Christmas

This one’s just pictures of Christmastime in Hemet.

Enjoy.

Family photo in our classy Christmas hats in our apartment. Christmas decor donated by members… except the fireplace. We got that with our hats at the 99 cent store.

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Picture with Santa at the ward Christmas party. He has magic hands?

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Our neighbor’s “Santa trap”

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Feliz Navidad.

78: I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22

So I’m about out of time for emailing this week…

We had a pretty good week. We found a couple new investigators and got back in touch with a few people that we’d lost contact with. We’re seeing lots of miracles and December looks like it should be a good month in our area.

Yesterday I had my birthday. It was nice. We had dinner with the V family and they had a cake for me and everything. It was really nice. Then Hermano V gave me a nice lecture about how I need to prepare for my “next mission” and find an eternal companion. Haha oh boy.

We also got invited to our investigator’s 71st birthday party. That was pretty cool. We talked to a bunch of his family members and had a nice time eating mole. (Mo-lay. It’s a weird chocolate-and-chile sauce with chicken, not a subterranean mammal.)

Sorry again that the email is so short this week. Time got away from me!

Hasta la proxima,
Hermana Howell

77: Pavo and a Christmas video

Buenos dias, hermanos y hermanas!

This week was a good one. Well, every week is a good one, especially when you’ve embarked in the service of your Savior. And even more so after Thanksgiving when EVERYONE is excited about CHRISTMAS!

Thanksgiving was great this year. We had dinner with the G family. Hermana G has been less active for a good while, and we’ve been helping her and her (20 and 22-year-old) daughters come back. They’re super cool. And Hermana G is an EXCELLENT cook. The turkey she made was one of the best ones I’ve ever had. The flan was really good too. And her daughters made a carrot cake from scratch that was SO GOOD. It was awesome.

Afterward we went to the stake center to play soccer with all the missionaries in the stake. It got pretty intense… so I mostly just sat on the sidelines and watched because I’m a coward. Haha. It was still a good time, talking to other missionaries and stuff.

This week we worked a lot with a newer investigator, C. She’s the sweetest lady and SO prepared for the gospel. She’s super sensitive to the Spirit and loves the Savior. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted immediately. Later she said “I just felt it, so I said yes. I always do what feels right.” She came to church on Sunday and loves everything we teach her. I won’t be here for her baptism on the 21st, but I’m super happy and excited for her! We’re hoping to start teaching her husband too this week.

On Saturday, we received training from President Mullen about the Church’s Christmas initiative, “He is the Gift.” If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can watch it at Christmas.mormon.org (or navidad.mormon.org in Spanish). It’s beautiful and is about how we can focus on the greatest Christmas gift that the world has ever received. We’re encouraging everyone to share it with their family members and friends to help the world remember to keep the Christ in Christmas. There are even “He is the Gift” pass-along cards in the December Ensign, so that everyone can get involved. It’s really cool. :]

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After the training, I had my outgoing interview with the mission president. It was weird. Not the interview itself, just the fact that I was having it. President Mullen gave me advice about going back to normal life, we talked about my goals and plans and stuff, and he encouraged me to continue working hard for the last two weeks of my mission. That’s so strange to me. I feel like I just got here. I remember when I was in my first area, in Moreno Valley, I had a dream that I just woke up one day and my whole mission was over and I was going home. In my dream, my 18 months were over, but it had only felt like 3. I had felt disoriented and confused. Now I feel like that dream is coming true- It’s really hard for me to believe that it’s been a whole year and a half. I look back and try to see where all that time went and I just can’t wrap my head around it. BUT I’m not done yet, and I’m going to see some great miracles before I’m gone!

Until next week,

Hermana Howell

P.S. From the Mom… Deryk will be speaking in church on December 21 at 9 a.m. There will be an open house that same day from 1-3 at our home. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! We CAN’T WAIT!!!

P.P.S. Pavo=Turkey.