Monday, January 26, 2015

A Visit from Elder M. Russell Ballard

From Ethan: Mon, Jan 26, 2015 12:05 pm

Surprise! Our mission was visited by a living day Apostle! We took a trip to Twin Falls for a mission conference on Saturday to hear from Elder M Russell Ballard. Boy, he was a lot shorter than I thought, but spiritually powerful none the less! Accompanying Elder Ballard were Elder Nash and Elder Allen of the Seventy.
      To start off the conference Elder Nash asked us two questions, "Why do we wear the missionary name tag?" and "If Christ were hear in Twin Falls, what would he be doing right now?" He then turned to 3 Nephi chapter 11 and gave a short training. From what the scriptures tell us, Christ would be doing the same thing we are just way more effectively. Inviting people to come unto Him, believe in Him, and be baptized in His name. That was a great boost in faith for us knowing that we as missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ are doing the very same thing He would do if He were here.
      Elder Ballard then gave us a discourse on how our power in teaching comes from faith and an underlying knowledge of the gospel. He gave us counsel to "Everyday wake up on time and enthused about the work you are going to do today, bring that enthusiasm into your studies." This strengthens my testimony that knowledge of the scriptures will help us effectively share the gospel with others. If we take the example of Apollos in the Acts, if we learn from the Holy Ghost in our studies "the way of God more perfectly", then we will be able to "mightily convince [people]...shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ." (see Acts 18:24-28). Elder Ballard gave us oodles of great council in which I'll sum up with these statements. 
  • In order to put off the natural man, we must lose ourselves in the service of others.
  • Christ is as close as we'll allow Him to be.
  • We are representatives of Jesus Christ. We do what He would do and say what He would say. This includes what and how we teach as well as our attitude and appearance.
    It was a great Mission conference and fun of seeing all the elders and sisters in the mission.  We are still seeing success here in Burley. Slowly but surely people are making their hearts open to believing in Christ fully and being baptized in His name. Ron Heisinger told us this week that he has been able to see how Heavenly Father has put certain people in his path and in his life to bring he and Shirley to the point that they are at right now. They simply love church and all the activities that are going on, they love reading the Book of Mormon and are in Alma chapter 18, and they are preparing to be baptized here in February. I could not find such great people anywhere else in the world!
    We are just about done getting all the plans for our Musical fireside ready and are super excited about it! For all those who see this in Southern Idaho YOU are invited! Feb. 8th at 7:00 pm here in Burley at the Unity church building. 275 S. 250 E Burley, ID 83318. It'll be a blast with cookies and lemonade. :)

Well that's it from here! I am hoping to record the musical numbers at the fireside to share on YouTube but we'll see what happens. TAKE LUCK!

-Elder Howard 

Monday, January 19, 2015

He is Proud of you

From Ethan: Mon, Jan 19, 2015 12:37 pm

Hello friends and family!  It has been another great week in Burley Idaho :) Because it is Martin Luther King Jr. day, the library is closed.  We are at the Family History Center here in Burley with limited time. So here is one lesson that sticks out from last week which I would like to share with you.

The same family that had us over to Skype this Christmas (The Morgans) brought a good friend and her two sons to church with them yesterday. Theresa Zemke and her two sons, Zay and Xander, also had lunch with us after church. Theresa grew up in Utah.  A member of the church her whole life but as she grew up she faded away from activity. She is a massage therapist.  The Morgans were one of her first clients.  After a couple years they began to be just like family. Well, fast forward a couple years to yesterday and Theresa and her two sons are in church! When Zay walked out the church to their car all he could say was, "Wow I had such a good time and I feel so good!"  We were able to teach them about the Love of our Father in Heaven and how He blesses us as we follow Him and our Savior Jesus Christ. I got to bear my testimony to Theresa that God was proud of her for taking the steps leading back to Him. She and her sons have a great desire to follow the Lord and I know that when anybody comes to that point in their life that our Father in Heaven is SO proud of them and has a smile because of their choices and actions :)

We are having great success with the people we love such as the Millspaughs, Hiesingers and Wattersons. They were all at church yesterday and are feeling the spirit in our lessons and while reading the scriptures. It's that love of God workin'!

-Elder Howard

Monday, January 12, 2015

This Darn Thing Called Agency

From Ethan: Mon, Jan 12, 2015 11:56 am

Well to my immense dismay there were a lot of disappointments this week. Things that Elder Te'o and I worked towards and prayed about just didn't happen the way we wanted them to. Key appointments with certain people, people coming to church and Ramiro's baptism, all didn't happen this week. WHAT A BUMMER! In these moments I always have a little "beat up" session with myself, thinking of all the things I could have done better. It's sad but I need to look at them as moments to improve.  Also I have a firm testimony of The Lord being in charge of everything and that everything happens for a reason.  One of my all time favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 2:24 "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things."  Although our Father in Heaven cannot take away our agency, He has a plan for us to return to Him.  Perhaps all the disappointments that occurred this week are all part of a more grandiose plan that I am not aware of. That's probably the case and I have faith that it is!

With all the disappointments there were still some good things that happened! One man is accomplishing some great goals. Seth Graham is becoming a real saint! He made some New Year’s goals to participate more in the Young Single Adult ward to make his testimony more solid before baptism. So far he has come to church and all the other activities in the past two weeks. Last night we were able to sit with him at a Worldwide Devotional given by Randell L. Ridd, Second Councilor in the Young Men General Presidency. He gave an awesome talk about living with purpose and having real intent. He mentioned reading the Book of Mormon not just to finish it, but to really find out if it is true. He also mentioned working towards fulfilling your job to the best of your ability and not simply working towards higher positions. It was great for me to hear and I think also Seth gained a lot from it.

Elder Te'o and I are in the final stages of planning our Musical Fireside for Feb. 8th at 7pm here in our Unity building. Our focus is for people to feel the Spirit and the love of God. Once that happens then a testimony and a foundation of faith can be rooted in our hearts.  Four other people will be sharing their talents and testimonies, too.  It'll be a great night!  We're looking forward to it :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Sent from Ethan: Mon, Dec 29, 2014 12:00 pm

Hello and Merry late Christmas to all! I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as I did here in Burley. The last couple weeks I had been hoping and praying that we would have some snow for Christmas day and Hallelujah my prayers were answered with about 6 inches of snow on Christmas Eve :)  Burley is in a massive valley between two mountain ranges, so the landscape is very flat and the wind is terrible. Snow drifts were covering the roads and instead of the snow falling to the ground it was flying horizontal! But it is snow none the less so I am ecstatic!

Christmas Eve we spent most of the day stopping in people's houses to share a little thought about Jesus Christ. Perfect, right?  In the evening when we went to a Mexican Fiesta! Wow there was a lot of authentic food, Grandpa Farfan is straight from Mexico.  In the white elephant gift exchange I got stuck with Sardines and crackers.. Whooo! We went to bed and woke up to a White Christmas, yeah!! I got to video chat with my family Christmas morning and see my little nieces and nephew growing up fast. The rest of the day was filled with fun, food and games. Pretty great Christmas and I could definitely feel all the love from friends and family :)

We had a neat experience this Friday with the Smith family. Howard and Jolene Smith are heirs to some really neat historical artifacts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are in the care of the Legion Sword of the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Noble Family Bible, locks of hair from Joseph and Hyrum Smith and a Musket owned by Joseph Bates Noble dating back to 1812! The stories of these artifacts are way too long to put on here so see the link! Seriously at first I was like "wow.. cool... it's a sword" but the more we talked about it and finally when I saw it in person I was amazed at the spirit around this thing! It's equivalent to a sword carried and owned by Moses! Both were great Prophets of the Lord and it was really cool hearing the history of these artifacts and learning history that I didn't know.  

With the New Year upon us a lot of goal setting and planning is happening in the next few weeks that will be preparation for a great year. Holy Smokes I can't believe it's almost 2015! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Elder Howard (