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