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

Fotos:

Me and Sister Spencer at the temple!

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

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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

68: Welcome to Hemet

I am in Hemet.

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It’s funny because
For those of you who haven’t heard of Hemet, (which I can hardly imagine that you haven’t!) I’ll describe it a little bit for you.
Hemet used to be a retirement community. That means there are still a ton of elderly people here. Their favorite mode of transportation is in little scooters that they’ve tricked out with basket/truck beds in the back for their things and a canopy similar to the bimini top on our boat. They just scoot down the sides of the road in these things, walking their dogs or going wherever it is that they go.
Hemet is the HOTTEST part of the California Riverside mission. Bien caliente. Luckily it cooled off this weekend and hopefully it keeps cooling down as we transition towards winter.
Hemet has its own museum! Unfortunately, the ONLY DAY that it’s closed is on Mondays, so I can’t tell you too much about it, except that it exists.
And that’s pretty much it.
My companion, Sister Spencer, is awesome. She’s a great missionary and I’m learning a lot from her. She cares so much about the people we’re teaching and has been so patient with me while I try to get my feet back underneath me in a new area.
I’m still getting to know our investigators at this point. A lot of them have been difficult to get in contact with. We’ve seen so many miracles this week though, and have picked up quite a few new people to teach, and they all seem pretty cool! We’ve been focusing on asking every single person for referrals, and have really seen the fruits of our efforts- We received and contacted 7 REFERRALS this week. (A lot of them were for English-speaking people, but still!) I’m excited to see the work explode here. It’s gonna be great.
One of the people I’ve gotten to meet this week is M. She is SO COOL. Sister Spencer and her last companion had been teaching her for a little while, when she got in a REALLY BAD car accident. Right now she’s still recuperating and can’t walk, but she and her 3 girls are SO great. She has so much faith in God and really wants to do what will bring her and her family closer to Him.
I love you all tons and hope to hear from you soon! Loves,
Sister Howell

67:Ch-ch-ch-changes

SO another 6 weeks have gone by, and you know what that means- transfers!

The eternal companionship of Howell and Beck is getting broken up, and we’re both getting shipped out of Corona. They’re replacing us with Elders.
Sister Beck is headed to Menifee, which has a reputation of being ON FIRE (as far as the work goes) and of having some of the coolest members to hang out with.
I am going to Hemet, which has a reputation of having lots of crazy/old people and of nobody ever hearing of you again. Not in a creepy way, but it’s more like all the missionaries are like, “What ever happened to Elder/Sister so-and-so?” “I don’t know. Last I heard, they went to Hemet.” It also has a reputation of being ON FIRE, but mostly because it’s REALLY HOT there. Luckily the weather’s supposed to be cooling off finally… but people have been saying that for a couple of weeks.
My new companion’s name is Sister Spencer, and I’ve only talked to two missionaries who have even met her before. That’s because she’s fairly new and has been in Hemet her entire mission, probably. I’ve seen a picture of her (she has blond hair) and have heard that she has really good Spanish.
This week was kinda weird. We had a lot of people cancel their appointments on us. A LOT. We didn’t get very many lessons in this week. It was kind of a bummer.
This week, however, Sister Beck and I hit our 15-month mark! We decided to celebrate by throwing a quinceanera. For those of you unfamiliar with hispanic birthday traditions, a quinceanera is a BIG DEAL BIRTHDAY PARTY for a girl when she turns 15, with a giant ball gown, rehearsed dances, a huge cake… basically a wedding but for a 15th birthday instead. People go ALL OUT for these things. But since we are missionaries and are living on a tight budget, we decided to forgo a few things, like the ball gown. We went to the dollar store and got some birthday candles, balloons, tiaras, mini-Martinelli’s … everything you need for a high-class quince. We also got a cheesecake and made a fancy giant sugar cookie. It was the classiest quince I’ve ever thrown for myself.
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Anyways, time’s pretty short due to transfers and everything, so I’ll call that good for now. Love you! Send letters porfas!
Hermanita Howee

66: The gospel is for families

Things are going great! I can’t believe this transfer is almost over. It’s gone by so fast!

Corona’s still great. And super caliente. But somehow I don’t think I’m getting any tanner. But that might just be because I mostly hang out with Hispanics and so I always feel like I’m super white. Haha.
Sister Beck and I were super blessed this week in finding 10 NEW INVESTIGATORS!  What? Yeah.
We picked up 3 different families to teach this week- it was such a miracle. Well, several miracles I guess.
One of the coolest things that happened this week was on Thursday. We stopped in to try again to find a guy named A that we’d talked to outside his apartment a couple weeks previous. We didn’t really expect it to turn out very well- he hadn’t seemed genuinely interested when we first talked to him. Anyway, when we knocked on the door, the whole family was sitting around the dining room table. It looked like they’d just finished eating dinner. I fully expected them to tell us to try coming back later when they weren’t busy. INSTEAD, they greeted us warmly and sat us down at their table, gathered the whole family in, and listened super attentively as we taught about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was one of the coolest first lessons I’ve been able to teach. The Spirit was so strong and they were so into it! Teaching the Gospel is just the bomb. We’re super excited to go see them again this coming week!
This week will be the last week of the transfer, and then who knows what will happen! It’s crazy how fast time goes by- we need to make sure and use every moment to its fullest! I can’t believe that I only have 2 more transfers. It’s insane.
Sorry for the short email this week! Here’s a picture of me and Sister Beck having dinner a couple weeks ago with the R family.
Love, Sister Howell
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65: A Full Week

This week was a week full of lots of things.

 
It was a week full of new goals and plans! We had a zone meeting, in which we talked all about our goals and plans as missionaries for the month of September. We have a new plan of attack to find new people to teach and to help those people to progress better and faster. We’re pumped and devoted to making our goals this month, and it’s gonna be AWESOME.
 
It was a week full of challenges. We had a lot of appointments fall through this week. And by a lot, I mean almost all of them. It’s frustrating and discouraging. BUT I know that it’s always darkest just before the dawn, or something like that. (Isn’t that in a song? I don’t even remember that stuff anymore.) God gives us trials to help us grow and test our faith so that we really appreciate the miracles when He gives them to us.
 
It was also a week full of miracles! One such miracle happened on Friday. We had an appointment set with A, and we REALLY wanted to get one of the Hermanos from the ward to come so that A would have friends at church. Well, we called just about everyone. They ALL had good excuses, like going to a mid-singles stake dance or going to a young men’s campout. We weren’t about to dissuade someone from such good activities! So Sister Beck received inspiration and said, “Let’s call Obispo (Bishop).” Then we did. And he said he could come with us! Yay! Then later, like 2 minutes before our appointment, A called us. People only call right before their appointment to cancel on us. So we didn’t answer, because we HAD TO SEE HIM! We said a prayer, hoping that he’d be home. We ran into A walking in the street toward his apartment, and he told us we couldn’t come over because his brother had a bunch of visitors over. So we just taught him on the side of the road with Obispo in the dark. It was awesome. A prayed right there about his baptismal date, and the Spirit was SO STRONG! We’re so excited for him. And it was so great that Obispo was there. He shared a strong, simple testimony about the gospel and how it blesses our lives. It was one of the coolest lessons I’ve taught.
 
It was a week full of service! We had the chance to help out with the Corona Multi-Faith service project on Saturday. People from a bunch of different churches came to help fix up the YMCA. We spent like 8 hours sanding and painting the stair railing, the fences, and the inside of a preschool/playground. We got to meet lots of people and just help out. I’m still a little sore from it though. Haha.
 
I love being a missionary. It’s the best. I won’t say that I’m loving every moment, because there are definitely moments that are really hard and I almost want to give up. BUT it’s so worth it because I get to see the miracles of the Lord every single day, and I get the chance to be His hands here as I share His gospel with His children here in Corona.
 
I love you tons!
 
Hermana Howell

64: Reaching your potential

Buenos dias, familia y amigos y todos! Good morning, family and friends and everyone!

 
Corona is HOT. Probably because I’m ON FIRE! Haha just kidding.
 
But seriously, Sister Beck and I are seeing so many miracles right now! We’re finding a bunch of cool new people to teach who are plain super prepared to hear about the gospel. It’s awesome.
 
This last week we also had multi-zone conferences, the first one we’ve had since President Mullen came. President had all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders help with some of the training, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, neither of the two zones in Corona have STLs in them. So Sister Beck and I were designated as “back-up STLs” (not actually a thing- I just barely made that up) and were asked to train with the ZLs on 9pm daily planning. I was thrilled. Just kidding. I definitely wasn’t. Not exactly a fan of public speaking.
 
Anyways, as soon as I got over being upset about “having the opportunity” to train at multi-zones, we met with the ZLs and decided how to divide up the training. Sister Beck and I got to talk about focusing on our vision, goals, plans, and accountability.
 
You know how they always say that the person who teaches always learns the most about the subject? This definitely was the case. As Sister Beck and I studied and discussed the principles behind nightly planning, my testimony, especially of goals, grew exponentially.
 
We all have an infinite potential. We can become ANYTHING. We have the same potential as any other person- we’re all children of the same God. So why don’t some of us reach that potential? Why are some people “greater” than others?
It starts with our vision. We need to visualize what we want to be, what we want to become. As missionaries, our vision, our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ.
 
To achieve that vision, we need to set goals. Goals solidify our vision into something attainable. If we don’t set goals, we can’t achieve them, and we’ll never ever reach our full potential and become the “great” person God wants us to be. Preach My Gospel, the missionary handbook, tells us that setting goals is an act of faith.
 
As the Bible tells us, “faith without works is dead.” So we have to put some work into those goals. That’s where planning comes in. And making back-up plans. We have to do everything in our power to reach those goals. When we’ve done everything we can, that’s when God comes in and makes up the difference. D&C 123:17.
 
As we push towards our goals and put our plans into action, we have to be held accountable. And not just now. We’re going to give our accountability before the Lord one day, and we need to be prepared for that. He’s going to ask us what we did with our time here on earth, and we can either say, “I made goals and worked to reach my potential,” or “I watched Netflix.” I think I’d rather be able to say the former, personally.
 
Sorry my email is so preachy… I learned a lot this week and I just wanted to share it with you! I love you all tons and hope you’re doing well! I’d love to hear from you! Make good choices!
 
Sister Howell
 
ALSO, this is AWESOME!
Meridian Idaho Mormon Temple
 

63: Que quieres aprender? What do you learn?

I ran out of typing juice… so this’ll prolly be a shorter email.

 
This week we went on exchanges! Sister Beck went to Riverside with her ex-compa Sister Graham, and SISTER BOWEN came to hang out with me in Corona for the day! It was a blast to be back together with her again. We took East Corona by storm and had a lot of success, y ademas we had 4 Jack in the Box tacos each. I freaking love that girl. She’s an awesome missionary and I learned a lot from our exchange. My motivation fire got some gasoline thrown on it and now it’s a raging inferno. BOOYAH.
 
Our friend Antonio, who came to church last week, accepted a baptismal date for the beginning of September! Woohoo! He’s super cool. We taught him about the restoration, and he LOVED it! We’re seeing him again tomorrow.
 
We’ve also been working with Edgar, our recent convert, on his family history. We helped him find several names that he can take with him to the temple next month and do baptisms for the dead. It was super cool y me quede con ganas de look up more of my family tree as well! Something else to add to the list of things to do when I’m not a missionary anymore.
 
Church this week was great. (Even though none of our investigators came.) There was a speaker that talked about furthering our education and continually progressing. He asked a question that really stuck with me. “Que quieres aprender?” “What do you want to learn?” I realized that I can learn anything I want to… I just have to decide what it is and then just put in the effort and learn it. I started writing a list of things I want to learn… to dance, about psychology, how to cook all the delicious Hispanic dishes I’ve tried here. Then I asked myself, “what do I want to learn before I go home?” My time left as a missionary is super limited, and I want to make the most of it. So I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I still haven’t formulated my answer, but I’m working on it.
 
So what do you want to learn? DO IT!
 
Love you!
Sister Howell
 
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​Also this week we helped an investigator make ceviche! It’s basically chopped up fish, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro with lime juice, eaten on tostadas. Yummy!
 

62: Chuggin’ along

It’s been another great week in Corona!

We’ve been seeing E almost every day since he got baptized. He’s doing awesome and we can see the difference that having the gift of the Holy Ghost has made. He’s so much happier and he’s not having as much difficulty with temptations of his past bad habits. It’s so great to see the blessings that people receive as they act on their faith and live the gospel. It truly is designed to bring happiness into our lives.
This week we’ve been focusing on finding new people to visit and teach. We’ve been talking to everyone we know and asking everyone if they know anyone that we can visit. We’ve even made a list of some people in our old records that missionaries have taught in the past and we’ve been trying to go see them as well. We’ve been trying really hard to work diligently with all the time we’re allotted, and we’re starting to see the miracles and blessings from it.
We had 4 of our people come to church this week, the first time in quite a while! One of them was A. We met him on Saturday and invited him to church. He said he’d love to come, but said he didn’t have a car. We told him we would find him a ride, but he told us he’d rather walk. (Church is a couple of miles from his home). He got to church right as the first meeting was starting, then stayed for all 3 hours! It seems like he enjoyed it and we’ll be able to answer his questions about it when we see him again this week.
Not a whole lot more to talk about this week… Love you all tons! Read your scriptures, say your prayers, and go to church!
Love,
Hermana Howell
Hna Howell and friend backside

61: Round 4 I guess

So it’s that time again… TRANSFERS! And guess what changed?

NOTHING!
I’m staying with Sister Beck AGAIN. By the end of this transfer we will have spent 6 MONTHS as companions. Crazy stuff. Good thing we don’t hate each other. It was a huge surprise, to say the least.
BUT the best thing that happened was E’S BAPTISM on Saturday!
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E has been seeing the missionaries for about 10 months now. He’s had a pretty rough past, and so he had some stuff that he had to overcome. I’ve had the opportunity to be here working with him for the last 3 months and I’ve seen such wonderful changes in his life.
Due to some stuff in his past, he had to write to the 1st Presidency of the Church to ask permission to be baptized. A few months ago, Sister Gates and I got to help him write his testimony and explain why he wanted to become a member of the Church. It was such a beautiful experience- the Spirit was very strong.
After that, we just had to wait to hear back. A couple of weeks ago, E’s permission came. We set up the baptismal date… and he got nervous. He wasn’t so sure anymore if it was what he wanted to do. He started checking out other churches as well and had fallen back into some bad habits. We kept visiting him and helping him resist the temptations that he has, reading and praying with him.
Last Saturday, he said he was ready again to be baptized. It’s been a long journey for him this far, and now he’s got the extra help from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to help him continue as he endures to the end and keeps progressing in the Gospel.
E is SO AWESOME. I’ve learned a lot from working with him and I am SO PROUD of everything that he’s done so far. He has helped me remember why I’m out here on my mission. His baptism was great- ALL the sisters that had ever taught him were able to come, and we sang “I know that my Redeemer lives.” The Spirit was so strong (even though I started off playing the wrong hymn on the piano- oops!)
Sunday we also had a WONDERFUL lesson in Relief Society. A, a recent convert of about 10 months just got assigned as a teacher. We helped her a little bit beforehand to prepare her class- she was so nervous! She kept talking about how she was going to use her pregnancy nausea as an excuse to just leave the class to hide in the bathroom. She’s so funny. Anyway, she gave a talk about the power to seal families in the temple and family history work. It was amazing. She talked about how excited she was to go and be sealed to her husband and her kids, and that she’d gained a testimony of family history and doing work for the dead while she studied the lesson. She said that her kids had been complaining that there wouldn’t be anyone left for them to do the work for since she was going to do it for her mom and her grandma and her great-grandma… it was so cute. I felt the Spirit so strong and I am SO excited for this family to be able to be sealed for time and all eternity in just a few short months.
I love you all tons! Write me if you have time!
Sister Howell