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