Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rain, rain GO AWAY!

From Ethan August 18, 2014

We've been having crazy amounts of rain and thunderstorms this week. Monday through Thursday I bet it rained 60% of the time. Many stayed in their cabins or stayed home because of the weather so there were very few people out and about that we could talk to, however we had little miracles happen every day :)  Every time it seems nothing is going to happen, Elder Prosch and I have a motto from Galaxy Quest, "Never Give Up, Never Surrender!"

Brenda has been smoke free for 17 days! Here in the Twin Falls Idaho Mission the period of time in which people need to follow the Word of Wisdom before baptism is two weeks. So, now we can move forward in setting baptismal date with her! And though both Brenda and Sarah were sick, they both were at church yesterday!

We did some service for a well known lady in the community, Dia Danner, who has lived in Stanley most of her married life. She is on the Meditation Chapel Board, in the Mountain Mama's club and as a pilot gives tours of the Sawtooth Mountains from the air! Dia has been learning about the church and attends in the winter time quite regularly but is very non-denominational. We spent about three hour with her digging weeds in her yard and around her hanger, as well as digging out some trailers that have been buried in mud and dirt from all the rain. It was rigorous work which we got done in a jiffy :) We talked about the gospel a lot.  We also shared with her the scripture Abraham 3:24-25 which talks about why we are here on earth - to prove to God that we can follow all the things which He commands us to do.

Following the commandments will bring us the most happiness.  I've seen it in my life. I hope all people we converse with will have the inclination to better follow the commandments of God. That is my prayer and my hope!

~Elder Ethan Howard

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Worldwide Church

From Ethan August 11, 2014

Hello Hello from the great but little town of Stanley, Idaho! Serving in a town of 63 residents creates a challenge in filling our time, but Elder Prosch and I really try to stay busy all of the time by walking around town talking to tourists, contacting houses in the middle of nowhere, helping the town library sort books, baking cookies and treats for people and most of all sitting in the town square setting an example by reading scriptures on the benches!

People from all over the nation come to vacation here.  Many of the non-members do not like us coming up to them, so it is like hunting in Minnesota – we let them come to us. A lot of the tourists are members of the church who are so surprised that we are here full time and frequently ask, "What did you do right to get sent to Stanley?!"  I get to wake up every morning to a view of the Sawtooth Mountains with a green valley below!  :)

We had a wonderful experience with Sarah McInroy who has been coming to church and having lessons for a month or so. She had been having a rough time with friends back home.  After we gave her a priesthood blessing, she knew exactly what to do about her situation. Sarah, like Nephi in the Book or Mormon, is a faithful and loving person who is easy to forgive others who have done wrong to her. The next day we taught her about the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hand by those with priesthood authority and she has decided to get baptized!! She will wait until she is home in Oregon because she wants to introduce her family to the gospel. It's great stuff!

Church here is great and interesting.  Since the chapel is a non-denominational community building we have four services total, two of them being LDS. Each week there are about 200-300 Latter-day Saints tourists cramped in that little chapel for the morning services!  It is truly amazing and the Spirit is so strong every week :)  After our service is the non-denominational service, then the Catholic service happens. We are thinking of asking if we can sit in on their service just to see what it is like.  At the evening service there are mostly full-time residents - about thirty - plus around thirty more summer workers. We get to have priesthood meeting outside under the peaks of the Sawtooth :)

I love being here in Stanley around such great people and landscape. One of the things I love most about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that it is a worldwide church, the same all around the world. The doctrine is the same no matter where you are!  It is one of the strongest points of my testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly God's church, restored upon the face of the earth today :)

~Elder Ethan Howard

Monday, August 4, 2014

God's Creations

 From Ethan: Aug 4, 2014

    Boy oh boy has this week been busy! We had the awesome privilege having our Mission President, Pres. Curtis and his wife come here and teach with us.  We had lessons with Brenda and Sarah. We taught about missionary work, service, teaching and learning in the church and enduring to the end.  Brenda has recovered from being an alcoholic and has gained a deep testimony of the gospel. She is happier than she ever has been and is doing great missionary work by being "an example of the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12). With Sarah, we helped her read and understand the Book of Mormon.  Then we went with President and Sister Curtis to visit a Young Men's Youth Conference that was held at one of the camps up here. We shared our testimonies about missionary work and help train Young Men who are preparing for missions how to be effective missionaries. I love being a missionary! 
    On Friday we rode with President and Sister Curtis to our Zone Meeting which is in Arco, ID 2.5 hours away! In the evening we taught Mckayla Brunson, 12, and her grandmother Darlene Welkers! They live in Gooding, ID but are here for a couple of weeks. We met them last week.  Mckayla has gone to church in Gooding a couple of times with a friend.  Both loved to hear that the Gospel has been restored here in our Latter-days.  Mckayla has already started reading the Book of Mormon! 
     Today for P-day we took a hike up the mountain 8 miles round trip to Sawtooth Lake with a couple of girls from the branch and Kevane Needham, from Jamaica who we are teaching! It is incredible how much the terrain up here is the same as northern Minnesota!  The trees, creeks, lakes and animals are the same, the only difference is the elevation! The mountains here are so beautiful.  I could never get old of seeing them.  I think I said this in an earlier blog but I love being up here in the middle of God's untouched creations which really helps me feel his love for me! It reminds me of a passage from King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. 

" Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
 10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask insincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love… and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

 12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." 

The first two picture are from the hike to Sawtooth Lake.  In the third picture we are with is the Bar Tender at Red Fish Lake.  We are hoping to teach her soon. She is one of the few full time residents of Stanley.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stanley Idaho, Back in God's Country!

  From Ethan July 27, 2014

  Stanley is BEAUTIFUL! The mountains are huge with glaciers on top and it's green with pine trees everywhere. With lakes and rivers around every corner, it is a lot like Minnesota except there are mountains! It's like being at home camping again.  In the summer there are a lot of tourists with a lot of young people coming to work at the stores and resorts. At one of the biggest places called Red Fish Lake Resort there are 60 employees from all around Southern Idaho, a lot are returned missionaries and youth preparing for missions! There are also a lot of people from either foreign countries or other states. We are teaching young single adults from New York, Oregon, Florida, Jamaica and Bulgaria! It's pretty sweet. The church up here is held in a community chapel called "Stanley Meditation Chapel." There are two meetings, 8:30-10:30 and 5-7. In the morning there are at least 250 people cramped into that little building. It overflows so people have to sit outside ha, ha! A lot of people are flabbergasted that missionaries are here full time.
    My companion is Elder Prosch from Birmingham, Alabama who is super chill! We have a lot of fun together. We live one mile out of Stanley in Lower Stanley behind a store called "Jerry's Country Store" owned by a member who lives behind it, too. They have 4 returned missionaries who live there in the summers. Most members in the summer live on the resorts or near the place they work at. For being such a small town there is a lot of work to do here.
    We are working with Brenda Adams and Sarah McInroy. Brenda, 40's, works up here all year and has known the elders for a long time! She has a testimony of the gospel, but smoking is holding back from being baptized. She has been one week and 2 days without smoking! Addictions are tough, but I know if we accept the help from our Savior that anything is possible!  Sarah, 17, from Portland Oregon works at Red Fish Lake Resort for the summer. A non-denominational Christian, she really enjoys going to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here in Stanley. We invited her to baptism this last week.  She is thinking about it however, she did say if she knew the Book of Mormon was true she definitely would be baptized.
    The Book of Mormon is powerful evidence from our Heavenly Father that the gospel and the church have been restored in these latter days.  The Book of Mormon is another record of God's dealing with ancient people. It shares the same doctrine as the Bible because the Prophets in both are Prophets of God. I plead with everyone to read the Book of Mormon, ponder it and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. It takes a lot of faith to read it but guess what, that's what our lives are all about! Showing our faith and humbling ourselves to whatever God has in store for us.
   It is awesome to be back in the Mountains where I am so close to nature, so close to God's creations that are untouched.  I am blessed to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints :)
God Bless you all,
~ Elder Howard

Pictures of Ethan's living quarters and the community chapel.