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

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