Monday, October 27, 2014

I Met 2014 Winter Olympic Silver Medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace!

From Ethan: Mon, Oct 20, 2014 12:32 pm

This week started with a lot of disappointments and frustration with no one being home and not having anything to do, that all changed on Thursday after Elder Baggins (Bagley) and I watched a video during companionship study time. It helped get us into the Spirit! And want to go out and get stuff done!! After that we had some awesome contacts with people, service opportunities and lessons. 

Noelle Pikus-Pace, American Skeleton racer, Silver Medalist in the 2014 Winter Olympics came to Burley for a youth fireside! She and her husband gave some really amazing talks about how the struggles and failures in her racing has shaped them into who they are. Noelle gave some really good insights on what she learned from her crashes and other disastrous events. Here are two stories that I loved!

 The first story is from the World Championship preliminary race in Germany when she was 19 years old.  Because she was young and new to world championship races, her team mates gave her advice about this German track. They told her to look out for different turns in the track telling her they could flip her off her sled. As she approached the starting line she watched a Japanese woman and a Canadian woman both crash on this track. She started down the track already nervous and scared.  Having made it through the first 9 turns, she was approaching turn #10 and recognized it as a full 360 degree turn with 3 "pressures". The pressures are dips in the track designed to bring you up to the roof or down to the bottom of the track. She had the thought, "I'll just go with the flow."  Then she let the pressures bring her up high and down low. To her demise, the third pressure brought her up way too fast.  She crashed into the roof of the track losing her sled and ending her run.  The thing she learned from this run was to avoid the pressures of the world.  Do not go with the flow of society. We need to steer through the evils in this world and keep our focus on the straight and narrow path leading back to our Heavenly Father. 

The second story is of a miraculous Priesthood blessing of healing.  She noticed that the man transporting the sled weighing 65-70 lbs. from the truck to the plane was a little older.  Not wanting him to throw out his back from lifting her sled she quickly cut in front of him and lifted it herself.  Well, you can guess what happened!  She threw out her back, the DAY before her Olympic trials!  The pain was incredibly terrible, she couldn't sit up straight.  With faith that her Lord could heal her to perform her best, she asked her husband for a Priesthood blessing of healing.  The next morning after a terrible night’s sleep with her back still out, she knew she needed to show her faith in the Lord by going to work no matter what the pain. Jogging like a cripple on this track, she was praying in her mind. About five minutes into the run on a random step her back popped back into place and the pain was gone!! WHOOO! She went on to make the Olympic team and win the Silver Medal! The Priesthood Power of God is REAL. I can tell you first hand that I have seen it work in my life and the lives of other. We are so lucky to have the restored gospel in our lives accompanied by the true Priesthood authority and power of God. It's amazing!

I was super lucky and blessed to be able to meet Noelle and her husband. When she was bearing her testimony she asked, "Are there any missionaries here?"  Five minutes late to the fireside, we were way in the back but we raised our hands proudly!  Pointing to us she said, "Look at those servants of the Lord! If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, get one from them and read it! Good job, Elders". Holy smokes! We also got to meet her and get some pictures with her :) I got to hold the Silver Medal, Check it out!!! That definitely made my week :) Check out her story at

-Elder Howard

Another Transfer?!

From Ethan: Mon, Oct 13, 2014 1:11 pm

HA. Just kidding, I'm staying here in Burley with Elder Bagels (Bagley) for another six weeks! I'm finally starting to get to know most of the people in the ward and the people who live around us. Changing areas is always a struggle because we essentially need to put all the names of people we know in the back of our minds and fill up our memories with new names and faces. I'm thankful that God gave me a pretty good photographic memory to be able to handle this fairly well.

Our mission was visited by a member of the Quorum of Seventy this week! Elder Christoffel Golden from Johannesburg, South Africa came to our Zone Conference on Thursday. At 7:15 in the morning we had a leadership meeting for all trainers, District Leaders, Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. Elder Golden was a bit late so I got called on to play prelude music on the piano. Turned out I had to play for 45 minutes! (Thank you, Taleah, for teaching me the basics of piano!) In the meeting, one point really stuck out that I need to incorporate in my everyday life. Elder Golden said, "To get really good at teaching, you have to get really good at learning". With Elder Bagels being fairly new to the mission I need to teach him about lots of things. Elder Golden's advice tells me that I also have to learn a lot from Elder Bagels to be a good teacher.

We had a great lesson with the Heisingers about the Restoration of the Priesthood and the divinity of the Book of Mormon. To have an understanding of the Restoration, we need to have a full understanding of the Apostasy. Historical and Biblical evidence of an apostasy just years after the ministry of the early Apostles is undeniable yet very hard for some people to accept. The Heisingers are those people. I can totally understand what they are thinking though, they asked some really great questions which we answered, then testified of the need of a Restoration. I could literally feel the Spirit increase whenever we testified! We just hope that Ron and Shirley were able to feel it. We invited them to not take our word for truth but to really search it out and ask God.

One of the biggest things that I learned this week is the need to "watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds" (Mosiah 4:30). It seems to be a problem here in Idaho and Utah of people not living what they preach and it rubs off on people who aren't of our faith. The talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks this last weekend was very timely. I implore people to watch their thoughts, words and actions and "be the change you want in the world" (Mahatma Ghandi). We need to strive to live all that we teach and not be hypocrites. We don't realize the mockery of Jesus Christ's atonement when we perform deeds contrary to what we say and present on our outward facade. Please be watchful! Read this talk!!

Love you and pray for you all!

-Elder Howard (

Unity in Burly, ID

From Ethan: Mon, Oct 6 1:07 pm

Here in the Unity wards (congregations),  Elder Bagley and I have been sharing the scripture Ephesians 4: 11-13 "11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."  God gave us the organization of the church so that we can improve on our weaknesses as well as help others, too! It's a great message for everyone, especially the people in the Unity Wards! :)

We set some baptismal dates with Easton and Slayter Watterson. Their father, Shay, is working towards being able to be the one to baptize them. They shared with us the difficulty of coming back to church after not attending for such a long time. Elder Bagley and I both bore our testimony of how attending church is a blessing and helps us be better disciples of Christ. The Spirit was so strong in the room we all were getting emotional and stuff, Aaah, I'm such a boob when it comes to that stuff. But we are super excited for the Wattersons! 

We also watched General Conference with the Hiesingers! I loved Conference so much and took a lot from it. The Hiesingers really enjoyed it as well and were able to learn a lot about the church. You can bet on the modern day Prophet and Apostles to do that pretty well! The Hiesingers are reading the Book of Mormon very thoroughly!! They committed this week to ask God if the Book of Mormon is True. Like President Uchtdorf and Eyring talked about in Conference, everyone must receive revelation from God to make sure knowledge of something.  Revelation from God will exceed any earthly education we can receive.

My favorite General Conference talks were President Uchtdorf's talk during the Priesthood session about "Lord, is it I",
and Elder Lynn G Robbin's talk about "Which way do I face?"
Some of my favorite quotes from conference go like this – 
-          Courage is the form of every virtue at its test
-          teach the power of prayer, not the routine of prayer
-          God resisteth the proud, but gives grace to the humble
-          Our personal work is but a drop in the sea, but if we didn't do it the sea would be one drop less
Sorry I can't tell you who said these and I probably botched them really bad but we are so lucky to be able to have these words of wisdom and knowledge at our finger tips! I know I am going to try my best to have these words change how I live my life. Burley is an exciting place. Lots of farmland and people who have years of wisdom to share with us! I think my time here in Burley will be very well spent :)

-Elder Howard (

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Emergency Transfer to Burley!

From Ethan: Mon, Sept 29, 2014 12:16 pm

Guess what, I'm in Burley now! A couple of missionaries had to go home early and unexpectedly due to personal issues and sickness. I left on Saturday from Stanley for a 4 hour drive with my Mission President and his wife down to Burley, ID. Yesterday was a full day! I met a lot of the people we are teaching and a lot of members living in our area. We cover a farming area south of Burley called the Unity Wards. We have those two wards, Unity 1 and Unity 2, and also the Young Single Adult Ward! Yesterday we went to church at the Institute Building with the YSA Ward and wow oh wow there were a lot of people! Compared to back in Minnesota the building is about four times as big and about 4 times as many young single adults. Well before I get more into what Burley is like let me tell you about my last week in Stanley.

This past week was full of craziness and excitement. We had Elder Garrish from Challis come and join us in the middle of the week.  With three strapping young men we got a lot of service opportunities! Dia Danner went down into her basement one evening to find a huge pile of dirt from her house foundation caving in. Elder Prosch, Elder Garrish and I spent a good amount of Friday digging it out transporting the dirt with buckets. Boy that was hard work! We got to celebrate a day of hard work by going to the Elk Mountain restaurant with our main man Officer Tom Barret, the local Stanley law enforcement. We usually have dinner with him once a week and we've become bro's! Hopefully he'll get to sit down with Elder Garrish and Prosch to talk a little more about the gospel and how much it can help him. (Hint Hint Tommy Boy)

 The last event I attended was Brenda Adams baptism!  Without a church building up in Stanley and no baptismal font, her baptism was in a very unique location - Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch at their hot springs pool! It was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have ever been to. Brenda has been waiting a long time to be baptized and finally make that covenant with God. Yesterday she was given the Gift of the Holy Ghost!  I am glad that I got to stay long enough to see Brenda be baptized :) To see her face light up with the love of God is one of those memories I will never forget :)

Here in the Burley Unity area we are blessed to have really awesome people we are teaching! Tonight we are meeting with a family, The Wattermans, who are coming back to church. We are teaching their two sons the lessons before they get baptized.  Easton (14) and Slater (11) are two busy bees who both play football, basketball and baseball.  Their family hunts and goes camping a lot. I am super excited to get to know their family and help them increase in their faith!  The Patterson family recently adopted a 13 year old boy from China named Taggert. He speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently and very little English. Growing up in China he heard very few things about God or Jesus Christ. He is very curious now he is with his adopted family who are active members of the church. He is noticing how happy and joyful they are about their Savior Jesus Christ and he wants to know more! He has been taking the lessons for a couple weeks and the things he has been learning are amazing to him. He is a little dude filled with curiosity and faith! The last people I will tell you about are an older couple, Ron and Shirley Hiesingers. They have lived here about three years and have recently started attending church and reading the Book of Mormon. They are really down to earth people looking for the joys the gospel can bring into their lives. Yep that's about it! My companion is Elder Bagley from Richmond, Utah. He has been on his mission for only 9 weeks so I am finishing up training him! He is pretty shy and quiet but very nice and willing to do whatever. I think we will work together very well! I'm excited to be here in Burley to see what happens! Peace out folks!

-Elder Howard