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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)