Monday, September 14, 2015

Homeward Bound - The Finale of Elder Howard

From Ethan: Mon, Sep 14, 2015
    Thursday is the day! I'll fly to Salt Lake City and then right on to MN so I'll arrive home at Noon. That seems so early compared to most missionaries but then again it's only a 3 hour flight compared to most foreign missionaries 15 hour flights. It still hasn't hit me that I'm going to be released and back home in FOUR days. I feel like I'll wake up in a week and still study and expect to go out and teach like normal. But, it will be so nice to finally be able to make a midnight Taco Bell run that's for sure! Freedom is eminent ha ha.

      This week has sure been a week of reflection. I read my whole journal one evening and it was amazing of the flood of memories that have come back into my mind! I haven't written in my journal as much as I should but I am glad for the times that I did write! Idaho is such an amazing place. I remember opening my mission call, expecting to go some exotic place such as Argentina, and reading Twin Falls Idaho. My first thought was, "What did I do wrong??" ha ha ha, but now after two years the words of my dear friend and Stake President at the time, "I feel an impression that Twin Falls is the mission just for you.", has rang true in my ears! I can't express the love that I have for such a beautiful land and people of Idaho. From the forested mountains of Salmon and Stanley to dry deserts of Mountain Home (true, the name doesn't fit the landscape) and Burley, to the canyons and gorges of Kimberly and Hagerman, the land of Idaho in all its simplicity has found a fond place in my heart. This week was Stake Conference here in Hagerman and almost all of the speakers commented on their love for the small towns of this state. I completely agree with them! There is a comforting feel of a small town and it'll be a shock going back to Minneapolis on my flight home. The biggest town in our mission, Twin Falls, is about the size of Andover or Anoka but still doesn't compare to the size.

       During Stake Conference we heard some amazing talks on bringing Christ into our Sabbath day worship, continuing the spirit from our Sabbath day worship to the rest of our week and viewing eternity with a "glass half full" kind of attitude. But nothing brought the Spirit to my heart more than the music that was shared. As I said, this week was a week of reflection and I thought to myself, I've had so much fun out here, a little too much fun at some points but I wouldn't change any of it for anything else. The experiences that I've gained and sometimes going through the repentance process has helped me understand our Savior's Atonement so much deeper than before. My heart was touched at the words of the hymn, I Stand All Amazed, especially the line in bold print, 
        "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
       Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
       I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
       That for me a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died
       I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
       To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
       That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
       Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

       I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
       Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
       No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
       Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
       Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me!
       Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"

It seems that I now have the same condition of my father, getting emotional whenever I bear testimony or talk of sacred things. But it's okay because I know that it is the love of my Savior and Lord that I am feeling throughout myself when I bare testimony of the reality of the Atonement. As I said last week and I will repeat again, without Christ we are nothing. A line from my Patriarchal Blessing tells me that my mission will be a foundation for the rest of my life and I feel that will come true. I am so grateful to all the people who have supported me, especially my family, and I thank all the wonderful people of Idaho who I have grown to love. Last of all I thank my God and His Son, Jesus Christ for providing me will all the amazing experiences and knowledge over the last two years. My testimony of the gospel has never been more solid and I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the face of the earth today. Thank you all so much and I look forward to seeing and talking to you upon my return! 
      -Elder Ethan Howard, of the Idaho Twin Falls Mission

(P.S.  In the picture Cameron is the short one and the others are Brandon and Katie Knight and Samantha McRorey, some of Cameron 's close friends and the ones who introduced her to the gospel!)

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Last Full Week in Idaho

Holy Comoly only 10 days before I return home to Minnesota! Today for ou r last P-day we are hiking to a waterfall at Thousand Springs here in Hagerman. This last week will probably go by way too fast. It's hard not to focus on going home because I am so excited to see my family, friends and to be able to do what ever I want when ever I want, but at the same time there is nothing quite like being a full time missionary. There is a certain part of the Spirit with us as set apart missionaries of the Lord and people can feel it. It's the Lord's help in our calling and I hope it's not a drastic change when I get released. So with that in mind I am planning on testifying of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel more this week than any other week! Then again I should have done that my whole mission. I've thought the whole two years about going home with no regrets , "NO R EGRETS", but it seems at the end of any journey that hind sight is 20/20. The only regret I have is not being more bold about the truthfulness of our message 100% of the time, because I know it's TRUE! 

   Next week here in the Wendell ID Stake is Stake Conference. So yesterday was the last Sunday I was attending the ward here in Hagerman .  In fact it was Fast Sunday and Testimony Meeting, so I got to bear my testimony at the pulpit. The bearing of testimony is awesome because as we bear it, we can feel the Holy Ghost testifying if what we are saying is true and that makes the testimony even deeper. I have felt that every time I bear testimony of Jesus Christ being our Savior and Redeemer, of God being our literal Father in Heaven and the Restoration of the Gospel and the blessings it has brought into my life. Even Joseph Smith's testimony bears witness of Jesus Christ. 

      " And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
       For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
       That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."
(Doctrine & Covenants 76:22-24)

 I can add my testimony to that of the Prophet Joseph Smith, that I know God lives, that Jesus Christ is His son and that we all saved through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ if we come unto Him and follow His gospel and teachings. I know that without Christ we are nothing , that without the gospel our lives will never reach the full potential that God has given us. A ll I've experienced in the last two year s point towards the truth of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His church on the earth today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

~ Elder Ethan Howard

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Serving a Spanish Mission for the last 6 Weeks??

From Ethan: Mon, Aug 31, 2015 

I don't know if I mentioned that with our combination of areas, Wendell and Hagerman, that we serve in the Spanish Branch for the Stake also! Elder Calderon is native to Chile and moved to Utah when he was 13 so he is fluent in both languages. There is a lot of Spanish work here in Idaho, they say that almost half of the population of the Magic Valley (Southern Idaho) is Hispanic. So I've been working on my Spanish and I think the extent of what I can say is "Sorry I do not speak Spanish, but I know the church is true." and that works for testifying! Most of what Elder Schuck and I do in lessons is read scriptures in Spanish and I'm sure we sounds like a couple of blancos (white boys). I cannot imagine what it would be like to teach the gospel, understand peoples needs and be able to overcome issues while speaking a different language. I now have a higher respect for those missionaries that go to foreign countries with little to no education in a foreign language. I know the Lord helps them out with the gift of tongues in certain situations. I haven't put much work into learning the language but I hope I can experience that! 

Going in between Wendell and Hagerman has made us a lot busier but we can't get as much done with the lack of time. It seems like after Cameron's baptism, work here in Hagerman has really slowed down. We haven't been into contact with Xandre, and Vanessa is moving this week. We are going to see her tonight for one last time unless she needs help packing a few more things. Last week we did have an awesome lesson about Enduring to the End. Sharing 2 Nephi 31:20                         " Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
  and Mosiah 2:41, one of my favorite scriptures! " 41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness."
 We just encouraged Vanessa to continue with the gospel throughout her life and keep searching for truth in prayer. I can say with out a doubt that this gospel and the church is the best thing for people in their lives. As we come closer to the Lord and worship Him and follow Him, He blesses us in every aspect of our lives just like King Benjamin says in the scripture in Mosiah , " For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual." I have seen the Lord bless my life, my families lives and the lives of the people that have come to a knowledge of the truth of this gospel on my mission. All these experience in my life reconstitute my knowledge of the reality of God and His son Jesus Christ. I know it's true!! 

  Well, just a couple weeks left as a full-time, set apart missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am not excited to lose this calling, but I am excited to return home to my family and continue to share the gospel with those that I love. I assume my last entry on this blog will be my full testimony but over the two years I've shared parts my testimony throughout my writings and I hope they have given people hope in our Savior and His redeeming power. That is the main point of this whole thing! So I hope it helps :) 

Last Baptism?

From Ethan: Monday, August, 24, 2015

The Baptisms went great! Marilyn Medina an 11 year old who we were teaching in Wendell got baptized also that day. and Cameron's went super well! Lots of people attended, the Spirit was there and no hiccups or anything. Those will probably be the last baptisms I see before I come home so it ended well.

Here is a picture from Marilyn's baptism, she's the 11 year old from Wendell. I was waiting for pictures from Cameron's baptism and ran out of time so I'll send them next week!


A Trio Again

From Ethan: Monday, August 17, 2015 

Another mid-transfer change up happened! One of the missionaries in the area next to ours, Wendell, went home so Elder Schuck, Elder Calderon from Wendell and I are in a trio! Yeah for another Trio! We will cover both the towns of Wendell and Hagerman for the next four weeks. Elder Calderon is a Spanish speaking missionary originally from Chile but moved to Utah a couple years ago. He is our District Leader too! So we are bouncing between the two areas and using both houses, Wendell is about 15 miles from Hagerman. It's pretty crazy sometimes but we've got a good schedule to include both areas.

Cameron Lockler pushed the baptism back to this weekend the 22nd, because her parents had to close their restaurant last week and it was a little hectic, but everything is settled down and she's good for Saturday at Noon! It''s nice to see Cameron's parents really supporting her in her decision to be baptized. We have everything set up and it's on like Donkey Kong.  Xandre still is avoiding us and isn't doing well. It'll take time for him to get back to a point where we can teach him.

In Wendell there is a lot going on! there are two wards over there and some great investigators on each ward. Also this weekend on the 22nd an 11 year old girl named Marilyn Medina will be baptized! We have already had a couple lessons with her and will have two more before Saturday. We've been meeting everyone in Wendell and Elder Calderon has been meeting everyone here in Hagerman so we've had some great lessons and such this past week.

We have a bunch of exciting things happening this week so it'll go by quick! Tomorrow we are going to the Temple together as a District, that'll be the last time I go here in Idaho. Then on Wednesday we have a Zone Conference all day and then the two baptisms on Saturday!! It'll be a joyous week for us!

Here's a picture of last weeks fishing! and also some good ol' Hagermelon's

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Opposition in All Things

From Ethan: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

We've had some ups and downs this week. Xandre Orth has taken a few steps back. Satan is attacking him very hard in his personal life and it's tearing him down. A couple experiences at church and with his family have turned sour and they were all misunderstandings. I feel super bad for him. We are trying to help but he isn't responding to our texts or calls anymore. He was really progressing. His Aunt says that he is just going through a rough patch but still says things that shows he is working things out in his mind and heart. I firmly believe that the Adversary is working on Xandre because he doesn't want Xandre to have this blessing in his life. One week Xandre was really happy and doing well. Now this week he isn't. Like it says in 2 Nephi 2:11, "there is an opposition in all things." We are just hoping and praying that Xandre can win this internal battle and see the strength that comes from believing in Christ.

 But on the other hand, Cameron is getting baptized this Saturday the 15th! We were thinking the 22nd but that's one of the days of the County Fair. NO ONE MESSES WITH THE FAIR OUT HERE! It's a huge deal, so this Saturday in between morning and evening Volleyball tryouts for Cameron she's going to be baptized! It'll be awesome. It's been really cool to see the Spirit work in her life and her testimony grow since she's been taking the lessons and going to church.

Other than that we are still working with the Bieroths, William Percival and Vanessa Stone and her boy Chandler. Her other daughter, Cheyenne, moved back with her father in Washington this past week. We found out that Vanessa and Chandler will be moving up there in September. We'll be sad to see them leave. 

Today we are going out to Billingsley Creek Ranch, owned by the past bishop here in Hagerman. We will fish in the lake, play volleyball on the beach and just fool around with the rest of our missionary district! Should be great and I'll try and get some pictures!

~ Elder Ethan Howard

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Progression is the Key

From Ethan: Monday, August 3

Hey everyone! We got t he transfer call today . It looks like I will end my mission here in Hagerman with Elder Schuck!! I am super grateful for that because he has been one of my favorite companions and has kept me working hard. We've also been able to see the growth of many people and find success in our work every week! This week we are especially excited because both Cameron Lockler and Xandre Orth have told us that they want to be baptized! 

Starting with Cameron, one of our biggest things with Cameron is that we both felt that we needed to wait for her to bring up baptism and not push her in anyway to make sure she has a testimony for herself. She is very close with a lot of ward members here and we never wanted her to join the church because of peer pressure. Last week we committed Cameron to specifically pray to know if what we have been teaching her is tru e and she did just that. W hen we came into the lesson this last Thursday , she told us that she wants to be baptized! As we were talking we suggested a date at the beginning of September right after school starts . She replied, "You know, I was thinking before school started actually. I really want to do this!" We were astounded at her desire. So it's looking like August 22nd is the date that Cameron will be baptized! We are super excited for her and we have seen such a change in her countenance. She lights up the room every time she walks in the door and is seeking knowledge now instead of just hearing the words in one ear and going out the other. She has recognized the change in herself even and told us that she is more aware of her decisions, mostly modesty and language. I love how the gospel can change someone 's heart and I've seen that in Cameron.

We had an amazing lesson with Xandre this week too! He came into the lesson seeking knowledge just like Cameron and asked us a bunch of questions right off the bat. In answering his questions we were able to teach all of the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we talked about baptism he as well came forward to us in having the desire to do so. He even asked his Uncle, Tony Ramirez who was recently baptized in February, to baptize him before our lesson! Xandre is such a sweet guy who has had a lot of bad happen to him in his life. He was able to recognize the change in the Ramirez family after being baptized and felt the Spirit the first time we met together and he came to church. I've never seen someone become attached to the gospel as fast as him. We haven't set a firm date as to when he will be baptized but it'll be with in the next 6 weeks because he really wants me to be here for it.

  Seeing the change that the gospel brings to peoples lives reminds me of the quote from the movie, "Meet the Robinsons ," "Keep Moving Forward ." I love that quote because it encompasses what the path of our lives is all about. Through the rolle rcoaster of life we have our ups and we have our downs, but it's how far we go that matters. Progression in both Physical and Spiritual aspects is the key to living a fulfilling life. As I enter my last six weeks of my two year mission I must keep that in mind. When I get home I cannot "swan dive back in to Babylon" (My old life) as Kevin W. Pearson said, but I must Keep Moving Forward!! It'll be a trip that's for sure :)

~Elder Howard

Monday, August 3, 2015

Good ol' Idaho!

From Ethan: Monday, July 27, 2015

The weather has gotten MUCH better with temps mostly in the 70’s and 80’s and above average rainfall which is nice.  After almost 2 years, my clothes are in great shape. I’ve only ruined 2 shirts my whole mission and my socks aren’t getting holes in them! Aren’t you proud of me?

We had an awesome in-the-moment missionary experience last Saturday.  Walking to our car after a lesson, we heard a guy jamming on a guitar down the street.  Immediately I thought, “Oh, let’s go talk to him!”  Then I looked at my watch and it was time to go home.  In the car, again I got a prompting to go talk to him, so we did.  It was a little awkward at first, but he warmed up.  Kevin Olsen, from Atlanta Georgia, is a deeply religious guy who recently went through a hard time so he is driving across the country to Oregon to see his children.  Our meeting was definitely inspired of God.  We shared the restoration of the gospel, the calling of the prophet Joseph Smith, and the divinity of the Book of Mormon. Kevin said, “I know God is not dead and He talks to His children so why couldn’t He have a prophet on the earth today?”  We told Kevin he could find out for himself that these things are true by reading the Book of Mormon.  He agreed and we had a prayer with him before we split.  I’m convinced I will never see Kevin again but I know I shared truth with him.  I hope he sincerely reads and prays.  The answers that await him will change his life!

Other exciting things happened this week including getting puked on by a dog during the middle of a lesson, hiking “Box Canyon” here in Hagerman, getting to run a jack hammer for the first time, grinding fish guts at a fish processing plant and going to a Rodeo for stake Pioneer Day celebration to watch team roping, barrel racing, pig wrestling and more fun games.  Too bad we couldn’t participate or else my white shirt and tie would be brown from rolling around in the mud and poo! 

That’s good ol’ Idaho for ya! =)

~ Elder Howard

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lots of Ears and Lessons

From Ethan: Monday, July 20, 2015

‘Twas an awesome week in Hagerman, ID.  I couldn’t ask for a better 7 days!  We had great opportunities to help people, give service and teach the gospel including a new investigator, Xander.

For physical work this week, we weeded a rose bed, took out some young trees, moved water lines, landscaped a rock bed and helped harvest corn. The first of the sweet corn is ready for harvest right now and we picked 4400 ears!  I appreciate food in grocery stores a lot more now. But they say don’t talk about others in a corn field. . . it has ears.  Also, don’t do anything illegal in a potato field. . . it has eyes. Ha, ha, ha! Anyway, helping people in service is always a pleasure. =)

Seven of the people we are teaching came to church this past Sunday, Vanessa and her 2 kids Cheyenne (15) and Chandler (9), Cameron Lockler (17), William Percival, Morgan Ramirez (15), and Xander Orth (16). Here is a little about what is happening with these people.

Vanessa’s daughter Cheyenne is only here for 5 weeks because she lives with her father in Washington, but we were able to meet with them 3 times this week.  We taught about repentance and giving up our “weapons” of rebellion like the people of Ammon in the Book of Mormon. Cameron (17) has come to church a few times with her boyfriend member of the ward (congregation.)  She is pretty open to the gospel.  We talked a lot about baptism this week, but we tread carefully because we want her to know for herself, choose baptism for herself and not for her boyfriend or anyone else.  We are stressing the importance of reading the Book of Mormon to find out for herself if this gospel is true.  William’s dad is hindering us from teaching in their home, but he still comes to church every week which hopefully will help his testimony. Morgan’s family was baptized in February but she was not because she got offended at church which shook her testimony.  She is super independent, so she wants to find out if this church is true for herself, not just follow her parents.  Xander, Morgan’s cousin, has noticed a change in her family since joining the church. He has had a rough life and a contentious home so he desires good in his life.  He has found peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Both Elder Schuck and I were very excited about all the good that happened this week.  We have been trying really hard to include these people and others in our prayers.  Prayer is powerful in helping people come closer to the Lord and feel the Spirit.  The Lord answers prayers. I have no doubt about that!  It is because of answers to prayers that I decided to serve this mission. I know this is where the Lord wants me! =)

May God bless you all and I invite you to keep Him close.

~Elder Howard

Monday, July 20, 2015

Search and Find Him

From Ethan Monday, July 13, 2015

Hello! Sorry for not writing for a couple of weeks.  It gets way too easy to get lost in activities on P-day. 

A couple weeks ago we went to a dairy farm in Gooding, ID.  We fed baby calves, one sucked on my finger, and we milked adult cows!  That’s sure an experience.  I could tell that when an Elder or Sister was afraid to touch a cow, it became uneasy.  So I put my belt of courage on and just went for it!  It turned out to be pretty easy. =)  This week we went with a family to Eureka Cave just out of Mountain Home.  Then we took out trip a little farther north to Anderson Ranch Dam where we skipped rocks and fun things like that.  Hopefully, the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency, Pres. Owsley, who lives in Hagerman, will take us Sturgeon fishing.

As for the missionary work, we’ve seen some good progress.  The church members here are awesome missionaries!  Recently, a young man, Cole Kress, brought Cameron Lochler, a girl he is dating, to church. On top of that, one of her good friends invited her to Young Women’s Camp.  At camp she expressed an interest in learning more about the church, so they set up an appointment for us.  We have been teaching her for two weeks.  She told us that she felt the Spirit at a testimony meeting they had at camp, so she seems open to accepting the gospel.  This week will teach The Gospel - faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. So, we’ll talk about baptism and see where she is at.

Yesterday we read more scriptures with Vanessa Stone and her two kids.  We read 2 Nephi 25 one of my personal favorite chapters because it focuses on how Christ is the center of our faith.  Three verses capture that vision:

“there is none other name given under heaven save it be this  Jesus Christ . . . whereby man can be saved” (2 Nephi 25:20)
“for we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God: for we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23)
“and we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

What great scriptures, right? After reading those scriptures it was easy to testify with the Spirit that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that we must look to Him as our example and the author of our faith.  We must believe in Him in order to return to live with God one day. That’s what the gospel is all about!

I love moments like that where we can testify of our Savior.  It makes this work so real and so worth it! If you haven’t read those scriptures, I would invite you to do so on your own time and find your own personal faith in Jesus Christ. I know He is my Redeemer and my Savior and yours as well. Search Him out and you’ll find Him in your heart.

With that have a joyous week!
Elder Howard

P.S. My mailbox is starving.  Write me a quick note.

Elder Howard
560 State Street North

Hagerman, ID 83332

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The "Why" of Church Attendance

From Ethan June 29, 2015

Holy Comoly, I can't believe it is almost July!  I've been in Hagerman for nearly 5 weeks already?? My goodness it is going way too fast!

Hagerman is a good area, a little different than all my other areas.  There was already work here when I arrived, but that's where the struggles have been.  The Elders before us were great and made a ton of relationships here.  Now that we are here in their place, the people they were teaching have kind of dropped off the face of the earth.  Some have been out of town every week this summer.  Some won't return our calls.  Some even asked us to stop coming by. =/  That is heart breaking right there!

On the brighter side, there is one family we are working with that has shown a lot of progress.  The Bieroth family's dad grew up in the church over in Mountain Home.  The Elders before us baptized two of the children, but one child and the wife haven't been baptized yet.  They've all been coming to church for a few weeks.  This week we gave a lesson about the sacrament.  The sacrament is the "why" in church attendance.  In all the covenants or promises we make with God, we promise to keep His commandments yet all of us are imperfect and make mistakes every day.  When we are baptized, all our prior mistakes are washed away.  Every time we take the sacrament and apply the Savior's atonement, the same thing happens! It's like a roller coaster, up and down, up and down, but this roller coaster, if we give repentance our all, ends in the Celestial Kingdom with our Father in Heaven. =)

William and Ken Percival aren't progressing.  William isn't reading the Book of Mormon or staying for Sunday School and Priesthood meeting at church.  He and his dad look too far into things especially scriptures picking them apart, bringing doubt into their minds.  Really the gospel is incredibly simple as taught by the Savior Himself in 3 Nephi 11:31-38.  It is faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  That's all folks.  Our mind and stubbornness or pride that makes the gospel complicated.

Well, the time is flying by and I'm just trying to hold on by my fingertips until the end.

Love Elder Howard

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Crazy Hot

From Ethan: Monday, June 22, 2015

I’ve been dying out here in the heat.  Almost every day it gets above 90, sometimes over 100 and the sun is crazy HOT!  Missionary work is hot as well as we consistently have 3 – 4 people to teach every week.  Elder Schuck and I teach fairly well together.  Here is a little bit about some of the people we are teaching.  Vanessa Stone and 2 of her 3 children are taking the lessons.  Her husband and one son, who drink, smoke, and never wear shirts, are pretty against the church.  It’s a tough environment to teach in, but they came to church this week.   William, whom I wrote about last time, is 12 years old and sees the church more as a social outlet right now. Shanee is 13 year old. And we are starting to teach Cameron as 17 year old who went to Girl’s Camp with her best friend and is dating a young man in the Priest’s Quorum.  It is nice to have so many members open to sharing the gospel and fellowshipping in such a small town.

Elder Schuck and I are the only Elders in Hagerman.  The number of missionaries in our mission is slowly decreasing.  Just this last transfer, two areas were combined into one so that now one set of Elders covers 4 wards (congregations.)  I wouldn’t be surprised if Hagerman is closed or combined since it is so small.

(Here is a little bit from Ethan’s message to Mark and I)  We drive a 2014 Chevy Cruze.  It’s like a lunchbox car!  We live in a full house – 2 bedrooms, kitchen, livingroom and bathroom – all by ourselves.  It’s big, kind of old, and run down.  If we take a shower while using the washing machine, it bubbles up and smells bad like rotten eggs/sulfer.  There is no Air conditioning either.  There are a ton of spiders, bugs, and frogs in the basement, so we don’t go down there much!  Good ol’ missionary life!  It’ll be fine for 3 months!

~ Love Elder Howard

Here are a couple pictures – one of the house we live in and the other of the valley where Hagerman sits.  It is quiet which I like, but not as much trees as MN.  I miss trees so much and that’s why I liked serving in Stanley so much!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

First Impressions

From Ethan: Monday, June 15, 2015

T’was a fairly interesting week in Hagerman,ID.

On Monday for Preparation day (P-day) we went down the canyon in Jerome to the Snake River and climbed to a cool waterfall.  During the adventure, our phone fell into the creek.  After drying it out the screen stopped working, so Wednesday we took a trip to Twin Falls with the 2nd Counselor of Mission Presidency to get it fixed meanwhile he and his wife took us to the mall, out to eat, and exploring Twin Falls.  It was cool!

On Thursday I had an interesting experience with first impressions.  A young man about 24 years old has been coming to church on his own for a couple weeks, so we visited him at his home where he lives with his parents.  His father answered the door saying, “Boys, I recognize the suits. What can I do for you?”  We asked for William and he invited us in.  We sat at the kitchen table with William while his father sat in the living room watching T.V.  I have learned that the more you are interested in someone the more they will be interested in what you have to say, so I like to ask questions to spark conversation about someone.  This back fired terribly.  When I asked William questions about his hobbies, family, beliefs, how long he lived here, and so forth it only took a couple minutes until his dad stood up and sternly asked, “Kid, do you work for the police dept. or something?”  Shocked I stammered out a quiet, “No, sir.”  Then he said, “It is boys like you that rub me the wrong way.  Now you better stop interrogating my son or I’m going to ask you to leave!”  Speechless, I stared at him, holding my prideful tongue and eventually squawked out, I’m sorry, sir.”  Luckily my companion saved me by starting to talk about the gospel and the Book of Mormon.  William’s dad stayed for the lesson. William committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  After the lesson I noticed 5 guitars in the living room.  I asked who played and William’s dad said he did.  Courageously I asked if he would play something for us.  Then he let me play with him and we ended up on a good note with him inviting us to come back!

After getting reprimanded, I said a silent praying asking God to soften the dad’s heart.  God does answer prayers.  Experiences like that are priceless.  Luckily I held my tongue, letting God solve the issue.

Today we are going to Mountain Home for P-day to visit friends I have made there.  We might even get to play volleyball or go to the sand dunes!  I am super excited!.

Until next week, stay classy. =]

Elder Ethan Howard

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Last Transfer

From Ethan: Monday, June 8, 2015

Hello Family & Friends,
                Hagerman, ID is my new area, a cool little town on the Snake River down in a valley almost exactly half way between Twin Falls and Mountain Home.  Hagerman has a population of about 700 – 800.  We also cover the two very small towns of Tuttle and Bliss.  The main attractions to Hagerman are fish hatcheries, fishing, cattle and last but not least watermelon farms!  The fish, mostly trout is supplied to restaurants nationwide and the watermelons to grocery stores nationwide.  One perk to being here is that Mountain Home is in my zone, so I can go there on P-day!  We have a trip there already planned and approved for next week June 15th.  :) 
                After an unexpected change, my new companion is Elder Schuck from Rolla, Missouri. Rolla is south of ST. Louis and east of Springfield where my grandfather lives.  Elder Schuck is similar to my childhood friend, Charles Florman, in every way – mannerisms, sense of humor, personality, preferences, and physical build – which is awesome because it often feels like I’m 9 years old again on a sleepover! 
                For being such a small town, I’m surprised at the amount of missionary work and opportunities here in Hagerman.  This is the first area I’ve been to that has had past sets of Elders who were good and hardworking. So, we have inherited some great investigators and families to work with.
                Boy oh boy, the past couple of weeks have been a time of learning humility.  I can be a very prideful person.  A big part of my mission has been learning to shovel away my pride and humbling myself.  A couple of things I have come to learn is that humility is being selfless, lifting others up, putting others before yourself and respecting them. Christ is the perfect example of humility.  When we humble ourselves to His and the Father’s will, we can come closer to them.  We all have weaknesses and make mistakes, but the Lord says in Ether 12:27, “And if men come unto me I will show them their weaknesses. I give unto men weakness that they may humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
                In Christ’s atonement, He gave up everything for us imperfect humans, so why can’t we give our all? We can!  We are not perfect, but we can sure do our best to keep the commandments and do good works.  We must ask ourselves, “Which way do I face?”  No matter how far we stray, we can always repent and come unto Christ.  This gospel has changed my life.  I know that Christ lives. I know that the Father is merciful, forgiving and loving.  I testify these things are true and I bear that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

~Love,  Elder Howard

P.S. Due to some circumstances I will not be using email anymore, so if you can, please write me a letter!

Elder Ethan Howard
560 State Street North
Hagerman, ID 83332


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memorial Day trip to Stanley!

Sent: Tue, May 26, 2015 1:30 pm

Happy Memorial Day to everyone! I am so grateful for those that have put their li ves at risk and given their lives to secure the freedoms that we take for granted so often. I hope we all can respect our amazing country and our American Flag which is a symbol of our freedom. I get emotional every time I hear or sing our National Anthem because of the great respect I have for the founding fathers of this country and all those who live up to par with what America really stands for.

Kimberly has been great this last week! Yesterday for Pday (preparation day), The Bybee family from here in Kimberly invited us to go mountain biking and exploring in Sun Valley and Stanley!! We called our Mission President to ask if we could go and to my surprise he said yes! We left in the morning after our studies and cleaning. We arrived in Sun Valley around noon biking around town for an hour or two, then went to Stanley where I got to visit some amazing people that I met when I served there. Going back to Stanley was a little like going back home to be honest. I never thought I would be up there again so soon. I love it so much! My heart was warmed by the sight of the mountains and the association with the people up there. Sadly some of the stores weren't open for the season yet so we didn't get Papa Brunee's pizza, but we did however get to go to Red Fish Lake Resort, the most beautiful place on earth!! I got to see the Clegg family who I missed a bunch and they are as wonderful as ever, (Shout out and thanks to them for letting us be at Red Fish Lake as missionaries and providing us with so much!). I am super serious about wanting to work up there for the summer of 2016. It's like heaven on earth! Here are some pictures of Stanley!   

When we got back to Kimberly last night we played Ultimate Frisbee, my favorite game of all time, with one of our wards at a ward Memorial Day Party at the park. I love the people in Kimberly, they are all so down to earth and kind and loving. On our walk back home in the evening we walked past a non-denominational youth pastor's house which is right across the street from us. There were a couple of young guys our age who came up to talk to us. They were really great guys and they knew the Bible super well; I was impressed. We discussed seeking and finding truth, and what the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" really is. After awhile there was a whole group of young people around us discussing The Word! To say again, I was very impressed with the knowledge of all of these young men and women, age s sixteen to twenty-two, and how much truth they were speaking. The big point where we disagreed was the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Most of them were trying to prove with verses in the Bible that the Book of Mormon was false. I asked them "How many of you have actually read and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true?" Only two of them said they had done it and they didn't mention if they got an answer. We invited and encouraged them to take the challenge of the Prophet Moroni when he said " And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." I know with all of my heart that if we sincerely ask God after we have read His word if it is true or not, that we will get an answer. I am amazed at how many people will simply not read The Book of Mormon just because of the rumors they have heard about it or because they fear that it is true. If you want to know what it is all about read it for yourself!!! I Testify that it does contain the true Gospel of Jesus Christ just as is in the Bible and that The Book of Mormon is True. I only know because I have read it and prayed about it, and I have received an answer.

 I am amazed by this picture of a church sign because of the truth it actually holds. Even those people know it!

~ Elder Howard

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


No blog from Ethan this week, but here is a short message included in his email to me (his Mom):

Sorry, an Elder just told me about his haircut appointment, so I won't be able to write a weekly email, but I gave a talk in one the wards here about service. It was awesome to connect the dots between our baptismal covenant expressed in Mosiah 18:10-12 and our willingness to serve, aka comfort those that mourn and stand in need of comfort, etc.  As we become better disciples of Jesus Christ our DESIRE to serve will increase! Missionary work is the greatest service because we are helping others in all the ways of service as well as bring them closer to Christ. Then they can serve in the Church and serve others even better! It was interesting to see the change in me being on a mission, now I have a way better desire to serve. :) 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Call and Transfers!

Sent: Mon, May 11, 2015 12:32 pm
Transfer calls came in this morning! I am staying in Kimberly, becoming District Leader again and getting a new companion! My new companion is Elder Schmidt from AUSTRIA! He was in my district over in Burley a couple months ago so I already know him! He has a really cool German accent and has been out over a year so we should work well together! He is a little soft spoken and quiet but that's probably a good thing because I'm usually talking like a mad rabbit all the time. It'll be great to have him here in Kimberly!

Happy Mother's Day all you wonderful Mother's! :) You really do make the world go round. I am so blessed to have a mother that is kind, loving, forgiving, righteous and humble. She did well with me growing up and I can say I wasn't the easiest child to raise, but she made it work! Yesterday I was able to Google Chat most of my family. I saw my mom and dad, both grandma's, one uncle and all my siblings and nieces and nephews. My, my, oh my, my have they grown like crazy! My oldest nephew was talking to me, showing me his Cheerios and saying "I love you Ethan," that was pretty heartwarming, if I may say so. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family who sets a great example for me at all times. I am so blessed that all of my family are keeping the covenants they have made and are all sealed in the temple. I am so blessed to have the knowledge that we will be a family together forever :) Those are the greatest blessings of life! Now it's my turn to follow in their footsteps and make the right decisions in life. 

Good things have been happening in Kimberly! The ward is super supportive.  I am starting to really love the people here. Last week we were able to meet Nick Orozco who has been interested in the church for a while but has been moving and switching between living places and missionaries.  About a year ago while Nick was going through a divorce, his neighbor in Kimberly, Bro Ward, introduced him to the Book of Mormon. He started reading it to gain comfort and solace through the divorce process. Well he found it alright! In the past six months he has read through the Book of Alma and loves it! His family is very strong Catholic, so he is having a hard time with his parent’s acceptance of coming to our church. We are trying to soften the hearts of his parents to let him have his freedom so he can experience the sacrament and all the blessings of attending church. He already has a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel. When he makes church a priority in his life, he will be ready to come unto Christ through baptism :)  The testimony is there. The next step is making a commitment. We hope we can help him!

I have been seeing some sweet cars in Kimberly and Twin falls, a 1965 Mercury Comet and a 2015 Maserati Ghibli ! That's a $71,000 car right there... Also I got to hang out with a little bull calf and feed him! It's was sweet! Good old Idaho for ya :) 

~ Elder Ethan Howard

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Three Missiateers!

From Ethan: Mon, May 4, 2015 12:08 pm

Since Tuesday I've been in a trio, or tripanionship! So in other words I am with two other missionaries. We jointly cover both of our areas for the next week and a half until the real transfer date. Covering four wards at one time is a little tough, but we never find ourselves with nothing to do that's for sure. Also with limited miles for our car and Kimberly (my area) about seven miles from where we live in Twin Falls we are having to really plan out our travels and walk places that are fairly close. So right now I am living in Twin Falls, only a little over a mile from our Mission Presidents house and the mission office as well as the Twin Falls temple! Also we live right across from an Episcopal church which has a cool bell tower with a cross on top. It makes a great sight for sunsets that's for sure. 

The two Elders I am with are Elder Roth and Elder Johnson. Elder Roth was in the MTC with me!  We have been out the same amount of time. It's been cool discussing the last year and a half of our mission. He is from Atlanta, Georgia but doesn't have any form of accent from there. Elder Johnson is from Lehi, Utah. He has been out three months less than Elder Roth and I. Elder Johnson was trained in Challis at the same time I trained my former companion Elder Mace in Salmon! We were in the same district up there, Challis being about 50 miles south of Salmon, but that was over a year ago! It is really nice to serve with two missionaries who are considered "seasoned Elders." We are all able to teach lessons and contact people proficiently and it's fun talking about old times on the mission.

Rewind to last week Monday, Elder Cardon's last day. Monday evening we were going around our neighborhood in Kimberly saying goodbye to Russ and Maggie, and a couple of other people Elder Cardon had grown to love. On the way in between houses we had two great experiences that came out of no where! I'll just talk about one. We were walking past a house where two guys, Richard and Garrett, were unloading logs from their truck. They actually called us over!  Right when we got up there they started asking us about the Last Days and the second coming of Christ. Richard was very educated in the Bible and also World News and he started going off on all the crazy stuff that is happening in the world. The conversation turned to faith and Elder Cardon took the chance to speak up. He asked Richard if he had ever thought about modern day prophecy or read the Book of Mormon. Now this was a shocker to me because Elder Cardon has never spoken up... EVER.. in a conversation until now! I was in awe as I witnessed Elder Cardon teach this man Richard through the Spirit all about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, how we can have faith that we will be alright during the Second coming of Christ and have a sure foundation on our Savior. It was awesome!! Richard accepted a Book of Mormon from us to read. He doesn't live in our area cause he was just helping Garrett move these logs but we hope the Elders on the other side of Twin can teach him more. It was amazing to see Elder Cardon grow and be ready for that opportunity. It helped me increase in my faith that "with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26). I know that He was with Elder Cardon that night. After that experience another similar one happened! I love it!

All these experiences will be life long and I am so grateful for everything that happens on my mission. It truly is the best two years of my life but also for my life.

Elder Howard

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Only Thing Constant in Life is Change

From Ethan: Mon, Apr 27, 2015 10:22 am    

With Elder Cardon going to the MTC this Tuesday I am due for some change! I still don't know what is going to happen tomorrow but I guess I'll find out what's down when I get to the Mission Office to drop him off. We will meet Elder Cardon's family at the mission office tomorrow, then he will drive down with them to Provo, stay over night and enter the MTC on Wednesday. Two weeks late r he will return to our mission . He might come back to Kimberly, but it's more likely that he will go somewhere else in Idaho. On top of all the transfers a couple of sets of Elders are moving residences as well so we are all changing places and companions and what not! It is most probable that I will get a new companion tomorrow but I might also go into a trio and jointly cover two areas. The last couple months have been just filled with change! Deep thoughts of Elder Howard : in reality, the only constant thing in life is change.

A lot of the Elders that came out with me are suffering from a term called "trunky". Being trunky is a complicated thing but it is mostly missing home, feeling depressed about the work and wanting to be lazy. For some reason right around 20 months is when most missionaries start feeling this way, some before and some after. I'm lucky enough not to have a trunky feeling all the time, but with the movie "Avengers: Age of Ultron " coming out on Friday I have been catching myself being jealous of all those who get to see it right away , ha ha. But there are a couple of Elders in my district that I've been helping to see the joy in our work... well really The Lord's work! I love love love being out here and helping people come closer t o Christ everyday. Rejection is not that fun, but it's the trying that really counts. I will be super sad to be released as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But I still have 5 months so it's all good!

Not much has changed in the work here but Russ and Maggie came to church yesterday! It was great to have them there .  We had a nontraditional lesson before church as well! We taught Russ how to tie a tie. It was cool. Also the trees and flowers have been blooming here like crazy!! It always smells super good outside this time of year. But that's about it, you'll find out next week who my new companion(s) is/are. Thanks for all you do! Love and Miss you guys :)

  -Elder Ethan Howard

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Truth and Power of the Restoration

From Ethan: Mon, Apr 20, 2015 10:44 am

   I would venture to say that my favorite part of being a missionary is teaching about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. The Spirit that comes from teaching people about a true Restoration definitely cuts people to the heart. We were lucky enough to be able to share theRestoration video with Russ Gaynor this past Friday. My favorite part in that movie is after Joseph Smith had the first vision, he tried to tell a preacher about it. The preacher told him not to speak of it anymore and that it didn't happen. What Joseph said afterwards is, "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it." That just gets me good! I feel the same way about the Restoration of the gospel. I know it's true because I have prayed to God and asked if the Book of Mormon is true scripture. I got an answer and I KNOW it is true! Now I can say, "I know it, and I know that God knows it."
  The thing I love about our missionary work is that we never force people to believe. We always invite people to pray and ask God to find out for themselves it is true. In Preach My Gospel it says, "Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of the power of the Spirit: 'True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals . . . feel the Spirit working with them, or when they see the evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. These experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word. This is how we come to feel the gospel is true' (“Now Is the Time,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 75)." Our main focus as missionaries is to lead people to an experience where they can feel the Spirit of God witness the truth to them. If that doesn't happen then people just go off the word of two eighteen to twenty year old young men or women and never really have a testimony planted in their heart. 
  But back to Russ, having a baby has really opened his heart to the gospel. Their little baby Andrew is so cute! But after watching the Restoration video with them Russ mentioned to us that he feels it is true but wants to really find out in his heart, so we invited him to pray, obviously! He said he would and we gave him a Book of Mormon to read and pray about. Good stuff!

The more we get to know this area the better it gets. We are still struggling to really reach out to everyone we can and finding it hard to help people progress but the harder we work the better it'll get! We are still really lucky to have so many wonderful people who have us over for dinner. We get by pretty well. Elder Cardon goes to the MTC next Tuesday! I still don't know what will happen, if I'll get a new companion or be put in a trio but whatever happens I'm sure it'll be good.

Good things are happening!
Love you all :)
-Elder Ethan Howard

Monday, April 13, 2015

Some things you can't count, really count.

From Ethan: Mon, Apr 13, 2015 10:34 am
So far I think Kimberly has been the toughest area I have served in. Then again it is a little bit like Mountain Home where we started out with nothing but things are getting better! Elder Cardon and I hit the pavement hard this week and we got a lot done but it hasn't been showing in our reports of numbers. It is a little discouraging but I love this quote from Albert Einstein," Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count."

From General Conference this April we learned from President Uchtdorf in his talk On being Genuine that "if Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics. What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart. He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care... and how we lighten their daily load. And the Savior would want to know how you and I grow closer to Him and to our Heavenly Father.". We know you cannot count how much you love people, or even how much you try to help them. Only the Lord knows our desires and how hard we are really working to progress the work forward. Elder Cardon and I have been struggling with rejection this week. It seems like nobody wants our help to come closer to Jesus Christ or even learn about Him! Two families we have been trying to help come back to church told us they didn't want visits anymore. I feel so bad when that happens and ask myself, what did I do wrong? I don't know why they decided to discontinue our relationship but I know that I am trying my best to help people and I know that God knows as well. 

On a more positive note, Russ and Maggie Gaynor had their baby this last Friday! His name is Andrew and we get to meet him today over lunch :) We are also going to go on a hike with our Twin Falls North Zone down in the canyon here in Twin so that should be fun. I'm grateful for the wonderful missionaries I serve around and also the wonderful member of the church that have us in their home when we are struggling to find things to do.

Idaho is still the best!! (You know besides Minnesota!) To my surprise, there are an unruly number of Green Bay Packers fans out here. I cannot figure it out other than they are just band wagon fans. VIKINGS >>> Packers.

Love you all and thank you for your support!

- Elder Ethan Howard  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!!

From Ethan: Mon, Apr 6, 2015 10:04 am
Hello friends and family, Happy Easter!! It just keeps getting better and better every Christmas or Easter out here on my mission. I think the reason being that I am growing in my relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. I never realized how important He really is in my life until now and I'm sure that realization will become bigger and bigger as I live my life. In our discussions with people this week, while our message is always centered in Christ, it was even more focused on our Savior and the Atonement which he performed in our behalf. I came to a bigger knowledge of all of my faults and how far I am away from "perfection". We were lucky this weekend as well to hear from our Prophet and Apostles during General Conference. I have said before in this blog how lucky we are to have a modern day Prophet and Apostles. I am very, very grateful to the men called to leadership positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for all the sacrifices they and their families make. I'm sure it is a blessing for them just as I feel the blessings of being a missionary! 

We had a great time this week being able to share the Restoration with a man by the name of Russ Gaynor. He is married to a member of the church and while doing some yard work with him he told us "you know guys, I really do feel a light from her and her beliefs."  Russ and Maggie are in an important life changing time in their journey as a husband and wife, they are just about to have their first baby! Maggie is seriously like UBER pregnant and the baby should come this week! Well along with the Restoration we shared with Russ, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" ( The Family: A Proclamation to the World) which is a proclamation given by the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley in 1995, preparing us to protect our families from the bad influence in the world and define God's views on families and their importance. We felt the Spirit testify strongly in our discussion. At the end Russ agreed for the most part and told us "in the future I can see our family all together sitting at church." Russ has felt the Spirit, I know he has! He said that he doesn't make decisions quickly so we are giving him time to learn more but I know he has good desires.

Time is flying by too quickly! My second Easter has passed, my second birthday, (Dang I'm 20 so I officially have to grow up... nah), also my second March Madness has almost passed! I can't wait to finally be able to follow it closely next year but for real I'm sad my Spartan's lost but #GoWisconsin! Some mission news: There are six zones in our mission. Carey, Jerome, Burley, Rupert, Twin Falls North and Twin Falls South. Our District, Kimberly District, just got moved from the Twin Falls South Zone to the North Zone! So that means that I have served in all the zones besides Rupert. Who knows if I will serve in Rupert but I've really jumped around the mission a lot. I love all the area's I've served in. the people of Idaho are amazing!! Pretty close to the coolness of Minnesotans but not quite :) Well Happy Easter and remember out Savior Jesus Christ in your life. Remember His perfection, miracles and grace. And watch this cool Video!! ---> " BecauseHeLives"

Love you all! - Elder Ethan Howard

P-Day Outing

From Ethan: Mon, Mar 30, 2015  

(This was to me, his mom.  He did not write a group message or to anyone else.  I guess he must have been too excited about their outing!)

Well Elder Cardon will leave to the MTC on April 26th, I'm staying with him until then and that's in four weeks so I don't know what will happen the other two weeks of the transfer... Maybe a trio or I'll get transferred mid-transfer again. Today we are going to Shoshone Falls here in Twin Falls, which apparently is a waterfall even higher than Niagra Falls! But there isn't as much water because they haven't released much from the dam so I don't know what it'll be like.

Spring Has Arrived!

From Ethan: Mon, Mar 23, 2015 11:26 am

It has been super nice weather as of late!! Just about every day it gets into the 60's and the sun is shining. With the nice weather we've been able to meet people outside and do some great service! We met a guy named Danny Rios and we are helping him get his house ready to sell. He is a great guy who would literally do anything for anyone! He is originally from California and has lived here in Kimberly for five or six years with his wife and three kids. We were just talking to him about how awesome service is and how we love to help people just cause and then all the sudden he was like, "Yeah you guys can come over anytime you want and just talk about... stuff". I'm pretty sure he was going to say God or religion or something like that so we went over yesterday and set up a time we could teach him and his kids! We will see what happens. If his heart is open and we invite the Spirit, miracles will happen :)

Recently I've been studying and thinking a lot about kindness and charity. Those are two things that are really essential to our path to true discipleship of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 7:1 it reads "Judge not, that ye be not judged". I've seen judging take the worst out of people and myself. Way too many times I will judge a person by their outward appearance and not have anything to do with them but I always think, that's not what Christ would do. No matter what a person looked like, no matter if they had leprosy or were rich or poor or black or white Christ would always be their friend and help them. If we want to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to act as he would! So let's abolish judgments from our minds and love everyone :) Let kindness and charity flow! I know I am going to focus on become more kind and charitable this next week and hopefully the rest of my life! I know it'll be great :) Love you all! 

-Elder Ethan Howard 

Friday, March 20, 2015

More Music, Kimberly Easter Cantata

From Ethan: Mon, Mar 16, 2015 10:26 am
We had a great and interesting week. Here in Kimberly there are a lot of people who have been baptized into the church but simply do not take part in the blessings of coming to church or much less anything to do with church. We have been talking to a lot of those people in the past week and you know, to be honest  sometimes I get really frustrated with them. I haven't heard so many excuses in my whole time here in Idaho than I have this past week. People saying, "We use Sunday as family time to go hunting" or "The church is too pushy with our kids" or "People at  church judge us." I know this church and this gospel to be an aid of personal growth. You know the common saying "Pain is Gain," well it's not so much pain as it is hard work to become more like our Savior. It seems as if some people see that "pain" as a negative thing, yet in reality it is a good thing! One man in church this week said, "Repentance is the opposite of punishment." I know repentance to be a good change in our lives, not a bad change. Our bishop sent us to ask certain people if they want their names taken off the church records, which would mean a renouncement of their baptismal covenant and losing the gift of the Holy Ghost along with other things. And every one of them has said no! I wonder why they would want to keep their baptismal covenant, yet not be a part of the gospel or coming to church?  I know that everyone has some faith in them. Everyone has a gut feeling to do good in the world, it is just a matter of getting down and doing them. We are trying to help people receive blessings in their life that our Heavenly Father has waiting for them! We hope to spark some extra faith in people and help them exercise that faith in order to grow it. We won't get any stronger unless we exercise a particle of faith.

  One thing that helped me grow my faith this week was an Easter Cantata here in Kimberly. For those who don't know what a Cantata is, it is a gathering of a choir and orchestra to play sacred music. Boy oh boy do the people of Kimberly have some musical talent! The choir had almost 100 people in it and they were accompanied by a small orchestra. People from all sorts of backgrounds were there either attending or performing and the spirit at that Cantata was amazing! I am particularly prone to feeling the spirit through music and I had chills and goose bumps most of the time. I thought, during the performance, if I wasn't a believer coming in, I would definitely be a believer coming out! I don't know how people could deny such a strong spirit! The whole time the choir and orchestra were playing, pictures of Christ were being showed through a projector that went along with the words. Seeing pictures of our Savior, while songs of praise were being sung about Him added a lot to the performance. I love music and everything it offers!

   Well that was the highlight of the week other than find a new family to teach, the Hamoka's! Rudy and Carol are in their 70's and have a daughter, a couple a grand-kids and like six or seven great grand -kids living with them. None of them has ever heard about the gospel or read the Book of Mormon so we are starting fresh! They have awesome questions and awesome personalities. Love you all!

-Elder Ethan Howard

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Southern Hills of Idaho

From Ethan: Mon, Mar 9, 2015 11:38 am

After the first week in a new area it always gets better. Right when I came here we knew nobody… I really mean nobody!! So this last week all that we did was meet people in the ward and people that the previous missionaries had taught. It went very well but it was pretty stressful trying to remember everybody's name. I can remember back to places like Mountain Home and Burley with lots of people to meet. It took me a couple months to really love the people and the area, but Kimberly is different! Maybe it's because I've done this more than a couple times!  I really am starting to love this Kimberly area! We have met some really fantastic people. Probably my favorite is an older woman, Jean Johnson, who was baptized in December. 

Jean and I made an immediate connection because she was born in Milaca, Minnesota which is just one hour from my house! She moved to California when she was a little girl but she still knows what it's like back in the greatest state of all :] She is an amazing lady! Last September she was invited to church by her neighbor. The first Sunday there she felt the spirit! She has only missed one day of church since then! She was baptized in December and has already been to the temple to d o baptisms for 22 of her ancestors! Now that's what I call converted to the gospel. We still have a lesson with her every week, pretty much review. We don't teach Jean, she teaches us :]

We also had a fun trip this weekend up to a youth camp out in the Southern foothills of Idaho! We were able to tell of the First Vision in the woods to all the youth and the Spirit was super strong. Being out in the wilderness, close to God and all of His wonderful creations, telling of a miracle that happened just 200 years ago was quite the experience. We also shared with the m how we can share the gospel with people by letting them feel of the Love of God. We can share the gospel by simply smiling at someone and letting them have a better day. It was an awesome experience and YAY! There was like 4 feet of snow! 

Well Kimberly is awesome and I am learning a lot from the people I am meeting as well as Elder Cardon my companion, I am sad we only have like 3 weeks left. Thank you for all your support and I'd love to hear from you!

- Love, Elder Ethan Howard

Monday, March 9, 2015

Emergency Transfer to Kimberly!

From Ethan: Mon, Mar 2, 2015 11:29 am

Crazzzzy week!! Some stuff happened in the mission so a bunch of changes were made.  Elder Te'o and I were chosen to split up and move to new areas. I am so sad I had to leave Burley but now I am in Kimberly, ID! This town closely borders the south of Twin Falls. There are about 3,000 people in Kimberly with 6 wards!! That’s a super high density of LDS people living here. We cover two wards and have a car half of the time, just like in Mountain Home. My new companion is Elder Cardon from Idaho Falls, ID! Crazy, right? Well, he is a trial missionary and will serve for two transfers to see if he is ready to serve a full-time two year mission. Elder Cardon has been on his mission for 8 weeks so he has 4 more until he goes home to decide whether he wants to serve full time or not. It's a little bit of a struggle because he is very particular about things and has a very short memory. He has only been in Kimberly for a week so we are pretty much white washing the area (starting from scratch.) It's really hard and a bit of a challenge but I am up to anything! 

Back in Burley I have some news. We were super excited this last Tuesday to get a text from Taggert Patterson (the 13 year old Chinese boy) on his dad's phone.  The text read "this is Taggert. I am ready to be baptized." YAH!! Taggert is so awesome. He has been praying and praying for the desire to be baptized and he got it!! He will be baptized this Saturday Mar. 7th but sadly I won't be there for it. The missionaries there are suppose to send me pictures and a program though! Even though I won't be there I am super happy for Taggert because his wish has been granted. He finally has a place in his heart for Jesus Christ :)

Well, we are working and working to find some people to teach here in Kimberly. We don't have anyone yet but the Lord will provide somebody, I'm sure of it :) I have met some great members here who are all really cool so with their help this area will be kickin' in no time! It's been a crazy week and I'm sure it'll get even crazier but you know change is good. I love Burley and I am sad to go but I am hopeful that Kimberly will grow in my heart just as much.

Thanks for all your support and love you all! 

-Elder Howard