Monday, January 27, 2014

Down River Fun

Have you ever been out in the middle of no where with no city lights, the sound of a rushing river filling your ears, out in nature, the place where you can best feel the presence of God around you??? I gotta tell you Gibbonsville, North Fork and Shoup, Idaho are some of the best places to be. We went there on Friday with our Ward Mission Leader, the Game Warden, Brother Dave Silcock. (Look him up on!) He is awesome! He lives to hunt and fish. He loves it so much he makes a living keeping the animals protected from poachers and other bad people. Friday we went about 70 miles north of Salmon past a little town called Shoup, ID. The all dirt road there used to be a donkey trail for the people coming up here to mine. The river is crystal clear and the animals are out of this world! We saw probably 200 head of elk, a couple herds of big horn sheep, more deer than you can imagine and even a couple of bobcats! At one point along the river we were up on a cliff looking down into the river, we could see all the fish! Brother Silcock pointed out the difference between the sucker fish and the Steelhead Salmon. We could see at least 5 Steelhead!! all probably close to 30" long and 7-8 lbs. We would have stopped and fished all day long but we had people to visit, sites to see and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to share.
      We saw two families out near Shoup, the Porters and the Hulihans. The Porters have lived there since 1960 and are about 95 years old. Bonnie Porter is a member of the church and has been bed-ridden the past 6 months, but lo and behold she was cheery as a young woman! Her voice was high and mighty and she told the coolest stories. Fred Porter is a short old guy with a high voice. He is not a member of the church but he would be if he could ever make it to town. He said "young man, my years have humbled me and there is no doubt that God is out there and this religion is true." They were great to see and they live in the mountains, in one of the most beautiful places on the earth. Now the Hulihans are old as well, but only 75. Both are members of the church. Brother Hulihan grew up in California and started a Gold Mine here! (I explored it for about 15 minutes.) He is missing an eye, is cheery as a pup, has many wonderful stories and knows how to entertain anybody. Sister Hulihan suffers from bad dementia, but never had a frown on her face the whole time. I was absolutely amazed at how happy these people were with their lives. They all take time each day to study the scriptures and pray to Heavenly Father. In turn He blesses their lives and fills their homes with His Love and Happiness! This trip down river made a big impact on my vision for the future. I have seen how happy people can be if they just choose to live their lives in the straight and narrow path of the Lord. 
     Besides this trip down river we have had some awesome things happen to us. Remember Lance Ingersen who is not a member of the church? Elder Te'o and I gave him a Priesthood blessing before he had surgery.  The surgery went very well and he is all healed up! He and his wife are the Chiropractors in town.  They offered to give us free chiropractic work!! On Wednesday we got X-rays of our spines. Oh boy... my spine is screwed up! My neck is not curved right, my middle back has some vertebrate that are twisted and off-center, and my whole lower back is shifted to the right. I blame it on all the times I did stupid stuff during camping trips like sledding off a jump over the creek, jumping off a pine tree into some snow which turned out to be ice, falling off a cliff in the boundary waters, etc. But I am getting it fixed FOR FREE! ha ha awesome sauce. Since they are giving us service for free, we are going to ask if we can give back by sharing the gospel with their family. I am pretty sure they will gladly invite us into their homes :) 
     Well this week has been totally awesome. Chuck Springer is having back surgery tomorrow! We are giving him a blessing tonight but please pray for him! After his surgery he can start coming to church, then he can the waters of baptism. :)  Thank you all for your support and love and prayers.  I can really feel it. :)
I give my love back and hope you have a fantastic week!
-Love, Elder Ethan Howard

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

Sorry I couldn't get a message out last week.  We ran out of time and had to split and stack wood for a guy! We still do lots of splitting and stacking wood. No accidents since my face laceration though :) The scar still looks pretty rugged. It'll be there for a LONG time. People around town have been calling me "The Wounded Warrior" or "Harry Potter" recently, especially when I wear my glasses around town. Honestly, it is a good introduction! A little thing to break the ice right away.
    These past couple weeks we had a bunch of cool stuff! We went down to Jerome for a Zone Conference. On the way we "accidentally" ran over a bunny, a little Mocking Jay and a hawk almost flew into the side of our van!! It flew an inch away from the windshield!! It was nice that Jerome has a Wal-Mart to stock up on food for cheap prices. We taught 4 new people last week!
 1. Cierra Hubb loves coming to church and has been stuck at home the past year with a bad living situation. She was taking care of three of her half brothers and sisters while her father and step mom were out partying and working. Finally she got out and is now lives with her grandparents who are members of the church. We had an awesome experience while watching a video called, "The Restoration" which portrays the story of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the church.  Half way through the video her expression changed from nonchalant to very meek and humble. She said after the video, "Now I know Joseph Smith was a prophet in our day."  I know that she felt the Holy Spirit while watching that video.
 2. Scott Eison, works on a ranch owned by some member out in Leadore, 50 miles away. He had a struggled in high school with drugs, alcohol and jail. When he got out, he turned his life around! He has been to church a couple times.  He agrees with all the doctrine of the church! We gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to read it and pray about it. He said, "Absolutely, I will read and pray about it. I pray all the time!" He was going to come to church this week but he got an abscess on his cheek. He cut it open, then it got infected. His kids got sick, too. Bad week for him.  I think Satan is working hard to keep the truth away from him! We are seeing him this Thursday.
 3. Shawna Burch came to the church for financial support a month or so ago. Bishop Williams gave her a Book of Mormon. She has been reading it and finds it to be the word of God! She had us over to talk about the church and the Book of Mormon. She is continuing to read it and we are inviting her to church this next week. We really pray a lot for the people who come to church that they will feel the Spirit  It works!! People can see their attitude and lives change when they humble themselves to the Lord, give their time to praise Him and learn more about Him at church. Shawna has been struggling with depression all her life. She said, "When I read the Bible or the Book of Mormon I feel happier than I have been most of my life." Truly the Book of Mormon and the Bible are words of God to help his children.
 4. Chuck Springeri is a man Bishop Holmes asked us to check on! He told us we came at the perfect time! He broke his back about a year ago and has been at a pain level of 9 or 10 the whole time.  He only feels well enough to have people over at his house once or twice a week. He told us he got a morphine pump implanted on his side a couple months ago but it hasn't been working.  He found the morphine was going straight into his stomach and out his body, not to the spot where his nerve is being tipped. He has talked to missionaries a lot and in his worst times of pain he tries to read the Book of Mormon. Over the past year he has come to know the Book of Mormon is true. He is ready to get baptized after surgery to fix his morphine pump! 

    Honestly, with all these people, it was no amazing thing we did as missionaries, but God led us to these people and has used His hand to guide these people to the true church, God's true church on the face of the earth. God loves all of his children and is guiding them to the truth at all times and in all things. I am lucky enough to see and notice His hand in my life as well as the life of others.  I am super excited to see what this next week and month holds for all these people.
     Boy oh Boy, for some reason this week my thoughts have been turning back to Minnesota! In getting to know elder Mace better we share a lot about our old lives and recently we have been talking a lot about music. I loved being in plays, choir and band concerts back in high school.  I really miss it! I miss my trumpet and guitar the most, but I know in 1 1/2 years it'll be that much more fun to play. Wow, the time has flown by.  I have already been out here for 4 months! In just a short while I'll be 1/4 done with my mission!  (Elder) Nick Bystrom, who is done with his mission now and served here just a couple months before me, came to visit Salmon. It's been sweet to go around with him and visit people he knew! I can't wait till that is me and I can come back here and fish and hunt all I want!! But enough dreaming, back to work!! I love to hear from you all.  Sorry I can't reply to everyone every week. Send me a letter!! My address is below.
Love you all and hope to hear from ya soon!
-Elder Ethan Howard (

#1 Sunflower
Salmon, ID 83467

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sometimes Ya Gotta Play Hard Ball

Sent: Mon, Jan 6, 2014

Wow, oh, WOW! We had an amazing week! There are three people that we are working with who have made tons of progress towards baptism and gaining testimonies this week.
     So, Sister Shirley Hoy was a lady we found just going around knocking on people's doors three months ago. Her husband was a member of the church who passed away last year in December. At first she was very closed off, but had respect for the church so she let us in. About a month in we gave her a Book of Mormon which she has been reading and studying off and on. After these two months she has really started to actually ponder whether or not Joseph Smith translated this Book or not. After reading many parts of the Book of Mormon she has found that the doctrine in the Book of Mormon is the exact same as the Bible, that the writing is of a kind not found in any other book and that the Book of Mormon seems like a true testament of Jesus Christ. The only hold up she has is if Joseph Smith is actually a prophet of God or not. We found a speech given by Hyrum W. Smith at Ricks college in 1988 called "The Restoration of the Church" commonly known as "Why 1820?" It is incredible! It gives dates and facts as to why 1820 was the first time in modern history that the church could be fully restored in this latter day. In Revelations, John the Revelator talks about a book with seven seals.  We are living in is that Seventh seal. The seventh dispensation where the True church set up by Christ and the true priesthood of God is on the face of the earth.  I know that as Shirley ponders and PRAYS about this church, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, she will know by witness from the Holy Ghost that it is true.
     Samantha Ladd has made the final commitment!  Her baptism will be Jan. 18th. It has switched a lot but this is the time!  We were over there three times this week.  On Friday we broke up her cigarettes, made the program to her baptism and called her mom down in Tennessee so she can be here for Sam's baptism!  Sam asked me if I would be the one to baptize her.  I am so honored to do it! I have known Sam the whole time she has been in Idaho and have grown to love her a lot :) She is a trooper! She came from a life of drugs, money, men and beer to now living in Idaho with her son, learning about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not smoking, drinking or fooling around with guys! She has so many wonderful people here in Salmon who have taken her and Dylan under their wings. I have loved seeing Sam grow in spirit and start a new life here :)
     This last story is one I will remember my whole life. I have known Richard Greig since the first day I arrived in Salmon, Idaho. He has had missionaries in his home for 14 YEARS! We knew that this time going over there we would make the decision whether or not we would continue to teach him. We really listened to the Spirit and asked him many inspired questions about what is holding him back from baptism because I know the he knows this church is truth. He said smoking and drinking coffee and other personal things. I told him that I loved him and if there is anything holding him back that he could tell me. He finally expressed his physical disabilities- not having control of his legs was one main thing holding him back.  I don't even remember what I said, but I held my hand out and said "I am offering you my hand, if you take it we will give you a priesthood blessing to help you quit smoking and once you have you can be baptized by true priesthood authority." He stared at my hand for about a minute and my heart was pounding. He finally grasped my hand and firmly shook it. I am a bit embarrassed to say that I broke down into tears of joy. I was overcome with happiness because I know how much this gospel has changed and will change his life. Now he and his wife who is already a member can make the steps towards a sealing marriage in the temple and be a forever family! This experience I will remember my whole life.
       I continue to see miracles happen in the changing people’s lives for the better. I love it here in Salmon, ID and it is crazy I have been here for three months already! I would not complain if I stayed here the rest of my mission but I know where ever I go I will continue to see the work of the Lord hasten and people come unto Christ. Like I have said before, this mission has changed my life and will continue to! If you have any questions or just want to talk email me! I love you all and hope the best for each and every one of you!
- Elder Ethan Howard (

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Day Picture

Christmas Week!

Christmas was a blast! All week people brought us gifts of food. Our whole kitchen is stuffed with cookies, fudge, chocolates, candy, cakes and fruit. The people out here are so giving! We spent Christmas eve with our ward mission leaders family, the Silcocks. They live up north out of Salmon in a small town called Carmen. For dinner we had elk steaks, chicken strips, steel head trout, grilled shrimps, potatoes and crescents! DELICIOUS dinner! We then sat around and played guitar and sang Christmas songs. Their son, Jake Silcock, got back from his mission in Peru two years ago. We had the opportunity to Skype a family that lived there! Brother Silcock and I played and sang Feliz Navidad for them!
6 am Christmas morning we went to the Bingham's to open presents. I thank you all for the gifts you sent! It was very wonderful to feel the love from my family and friends. We had a blast throwing wrapping paper at each other afterwards. Then we went to another families house for Christmas breakfast! Bacon, french toast, egg and sausage casserole, muffins and sticky buns! We get fed so well here.. They are the family that offered to do our laundry for us! We had the wonderful opportunity to video chat with our families :) It was so awesome to see face to face and talk to my parents, siblings, grandma's, aunt and uncle and my niece and nephew! I'm so glad everyone is doing well. The rest of the day we played games, had dinner at Bishop Williams house and watched the movie "Ephraim's Rescue"
For missionary work this week we visited a lot of people! We had an awesome lesson with Shirley Hoy, an 83 year old woman whose husband was a member but passed away about a year ago. We gave her a Book of Mormon a month ago and we were surprised to see it all marked up with sticky notes, pencil marks and papers. I love to see that because I know she has been studying and reading the Book of Mormon. Everyone who reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it WILL find that it is true scripture. It is another Testament of Jesus Christ brought forth along with the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for our further learning and understanding of the Gospel. It was written by prophets just like Noah, Moses or Abraham just in a different part of the world! Shirley asks the best questions. She will find the answers as long as she prays! Her desire to find truth will be answered by her faith in Christ :)
We split wood for Samantha Ladd and helped her set goals to quit smoking and be baptized. Last night she said she was quitting for final! She set baptism date of Jan. 10th. We explained how the atonement of Jesus Christ can change the desires of her heart. As she enacts faith in the Lord, He will bless her with strength. After she has shown that faith, she can be strengthen yet again by the covenant she makes with Heavenly Father in baptism :)
The Holidays were wonderful and joyous! I am excited for this new year to find more people to share the joys of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with. Being a missionary and serving the Lord is the most wonderful thing I could ever think of doing! I am living the LIFE! It's super fun and I see miracles and good things happen every day. 
Love you all and I hope that if you have any questions about Idaho, about what I do everyday, about the Gospel that you don't hesitate to email me! I love hearing from all of you! Have a wonderful New Year! Love you all!

-Elder Ethan Howard (

Upcoming Christmas

We spent more than half of our week down in Twin Falls for transfers and a Mission Christmas party. Sadly we had to make the trip twice. Elder Te'o and I drove down to Shoshone, ID on Tuesday afternoon  and slept over at our Zone Leaders house. Sleeping over at the ZL's house is always super fun! We usually stay up way late and play games, wrestle and talk ha ha. Wednesday I had to leave Elder Te'o and got a brand new missionary as a companion! His name is Elder Michael Mace from Chandler, AZ. He is not used to the cold at all! He is a good guy, plays piano, guitar and saxophone, sings well, played football and swam in High School. We get along fine. I will miss Elder Te'o a ton, we had way too  much fun in the short 5 weeks we had together. He is in Rupert, ID serving as a Zone Leader.
    So we drove back Wednesday night. Thursday we had an Awesome day. Ed and Chrissy Davis have recently come back to church and their two daughters, Kailey and Jessica, got baptized about 3 months ago. A good family friend, Chad Meyers who lives with them, has come back to church, too! Sunday they received the Aaronic Priesthood! I was so happy for them and their families :) Ed and Chrissy are working towards having their family sealed in the temple! They have another good friend named Tommy. He is a tattoo artist, alcoholic and smoker. Having seen the changes in Ed and Chads lives, Tommy also wants to come unto Christ! He accepted the invitation to have lessons with us missionaries and the Davis family! I am super excited to teach him more about Christ and how Tommy can receive Him into his life! That night we had dinner with Jim and Angela Evans, a family recently baptized. Jim has struggled with chewing tobacco but a couple weeks ago I promised him if he quits that us missionaries would watch a football game with him! Turns out he is quitting and using jerky chew to quit ha ha. In a couple weeks we have to watch a football game with him :)
    Friday we drove back to Twin Falls to go to the Temple and have a Mission Christmas Party! The day was great. We got an update about Elder Silver, the missionary who had major head surgery a couple months ago. He got the piece of skull replaced on Thursday and is recovering Extremely well! There have been 46 baptisms in his home ward this last month. Elder Silver asked the people in his home town to have the missionaries in their homes to see what Elder Silver was doing these two years and 46 people have accepted the gospel, How crazy awesome is that! The Lord works in mysterious ways.
   We got back Saturday and have had a couple of great days! Elder Mace is ready to learn and work hard. I am SO EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS! I get to video chat with my family on Christmas day for about an hour :) Have a Merry Merry Christmas and I urge you all to reflect on our Savior Jesus Christ, His birth and His Heavenly Mission on Earth. He is our Savior and Redeemer, the one who atoned for our sins. He is and should be the most important person in our life! I love Christmas season and Hope you all enjoy your Christmas week!

   Love, Elder Ethan Howard (