This week has had a lot of ups and downs. I never knew life could be such a roller coaster! But I love Salmon Idaho more and more every day. The people are so down to earth and pleasant. My sister, Taleah, wrote, "I was talking with grandma Howard this week and we both agreed that it sounds like you are having the time of your life on your mission, and that your happiness and enthusiasm is helping you bring the Spirit into others' lives" It is so true! Well at least the part that I am having the time of my life! I only hope I can bring the happiness of the gospel unto all the wonderful people I meet every day.
Last week we got a call asking if we could give a priesthood blessing. The man lived 35 miles away up in the mountains. We made the long trek up there in our van almost sliding off the mountain a couple times because of the snow, but we eventually got there. Lance Ingwerson was laying on the ground. Sister Cockrell explained that Lance is a chiropractor who had a bad accident a couple years ago. With chiropractic work he regained full strength in his back. Recently his belly button herniated, so he hasn't been able to do the chiropractic work on his back. He was having surgery the next day, but was in so much pain he couldn't eat, sleep or get comfortable. Sister Cockrell asked if he wanted a Priesthood blessing from us missionaries. He is not a member of the church but said, "Sure, they are men of God so I know they can help." I had the great opportunity to give the blessing. I don't even remember what came out of my mouth honestly, but we both felt the presence of the Holy Ghost. We were there for maybe fifteen minutes and that's it! On Wednesday we got a call from Sister Cockrell telling us that the surgery went perfectly and Lance was home recovering. He got a good night’s sleep before the surgery! He told Sister Cockrell that we could come to his house whenever we wanted and maybe start teaching him about the gospel! We are going in a couple hours, so I'll tell you how it goes! It was an amazing experience and I know it was guided by God.
We had another Christmas party! This one was WAY FUN! They had a nice formal dinner and then the real party started with musical chairs, dancing, limbo and a play put on by the little primary kids of the birth Christ. It was super fun and a lot of people were there -members of the church, non-members, and people who haven't been to church in years.
Update on Samantha Ladd: Her baptism was scheduled for Saturday but she had a little slip up with smoking a couple nights ago. I know her heart is in the right place and that she definitely knows the church is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this church has the restored gospel and priesthood. Smoking is just hard to get over. DON'T START IN THE FIRST PLACE!! I know she will get to baptism! Her baptism will probably get pushed back a couple of weeks, a New Year's baptism! But something pretty awesome, Samantha asked me if I could be the one to baptize her :) Boy, I feel honored! I will be blessed to be able to be a conduit to her making a covenant with her Heavenly Father to take upon the name of Christ and follow His example.
Well, Transfers are this week on Wednesday! Sadly Elder Te'o is leaving Salmon 5 weeks after he got here. He is becoming a Zone Leader in Rupert, ID. I am blessed enough to be staying here and train a brand new missionary! I'll tell you all about him next week! Toodle-oo and have a nice week. Happy Holidays!!
-Elder Ethan Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org)