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