Monday, June 27, 2016

Elder Howland just notified me that the mailing address he gave me is slightly wrong.  It's supposed to be:

Elder Mark Howland
1103 Arrowhead Crossing Apt. E (not 3, which is what he told me initially)
West Carrollton OH  45449

Sorry about that !!!
June 27, 2016

This week was fantastic and I should tell you about it but what I need to do more is bear you my testimony because I don't do that enough.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He suffered and died for me and because he did, I am healed from my past, I am forgiven every day, and I am empowered to do His will. I can never forget Him for all he has done for me and because of all he as done for me He will never forget me. 

I know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is a Prophet called of God to restore the blessings and covenants that we need to attain our potential and glory. He lived and died so that we can have all that the lord desires to bless us with. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and I know that that is God's word. I know that it is true, with every fiber of my being I know it is true. I am able to hear His voice through it and can find no more joy than when I am able to hear and act on the things He needs me to do.

I know that Thomas S. Monson is our current Prophet and leader and that if we follow what he and our other leaders teach then we will find happiness and eternal glory. God promises us this.

I know that God loves me and each one of us specifically and knows us more intimately than we can imagine. We are exactly where we are because he needs us here to protect his children and teach them his ways. 

I love each of you and am grateful for all you do for me and my family. 

Elder Howland
This is a picture of Elder Howland with another elder (don't know his name) at the Columbus Ohio temple.  They were able to go as a zone with their mission president before he left to go home.

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016

We are going to the temple this week with President Porter, just our zone and it will be our last time seeing them. I haven't been to a temple in 8 months and it has been killing me, I am so excited to go! I also can't wait to meet Mr. Tim Welch (new mission president)! He is going to change our lives! And I hope he starts with a more lax music rule! Just kidding just kidding.

So this week was awesome, do you remember me talking about Jeffersina? Well we finally met her again and her family and they are soooooooo awesome! Like elect to the highest! We gave Jeffersina a blessing and her non-member husband and kids were so funny and were so great! They were like a mormon family but without the mormon, I didn't understand it haha but we will be teaching them. And then there is a family, the Griffins.  The mom is awesome and has read the Book of Mormon 3 times since January.  The dad is not a member but we have been teaching the two of them and they are reading in the Book of Mormon together every day.  He is making so much progress and it is fantastic! 

It is so fun working with families and we love them so much! It is just great :)

Love you all,
Elder Howland

Monday, June 13, 2016

Here's the picture right-side up.  Thanks Lamont for your help...
June 13, 2016

So... funny story.  My mission president said hey come down to Kentucky on Saturday so I drove an hour down to Kentucky without any idea of why I was going there. So I drive down there and we are expecting a bunch of missionaries aaaaand we were the only ones... So then we are sitting outside the Stake President's office freaking out and then President Porter was there and he said you are about to meet a general authority... Major freak out...  So we walk in and this guy who's name is Elder Grow sat me down and gave me a letter with my name on it from "somebody that you know" and I am like dead... Things going through my mind are like... I'm being sent home, MY MOM IS DEAD, horrible things, I don't even know what I'm thinking... So I open it and I'm like should I read it out loud?? He tells me to just look who it is from and... MOM??!!?!?!?!?!?! Are you kidding? I drove down an hour and met a general authority all so my mom could send me a letter hahahahahahaha It was so cool and when he told me and we were done, he said alright lets take some pictures! Haha 

So it ended up being really cool.  We were invited to some trainings for the Stake Conference where we learned about working with the ward council. Elder Grow is sooooooo funny! It was so great to have him teach us so many things and to receive revelation for our zone! 

That is probably the biggest thing that I have learned is the importance of hearing the voice of the Lord. I have found that revelation comes to us whenever we ask. It is funny how many times God tells us in the scriptures ask and ye shall receive. So I have developed a testimony of his talking to us. It has taken some effort but I have gotten better as I have written down a question, then studied and invited the spirit. God is bound when we do what he says. And I love him.

Elder Howland

(Elder Howland sent a picture but it's upside down and I can't figure out how to rotate it, so I'm going to attach it the way it was sent.  I wish I was more electronic intelligent...)

President Porter, Elder Wilcken, Elder Howland, Elder Grow

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 6, 2016

Elder Wilcken and I and Sister Bukhari and Sister Witherspoon all bought matching t shirts and are wearing them right now. It has cats riding unicorns like horses all in the clouds. Yes I'm pretty sure I just un-matured like 6 years. (And my grammer apparently went with it) hahaha

I had this weird realization... 9 months is next week. This is the first step to where I'm like okay I have been here for a long time. I have been aware of each month just because it goes so quick and I literally can't believe that it is going so quick! But this is 9 months. It is just crazy!

This week was awesome, quick miracle and I have to go.

It was 8:30 at night and we got a call saying we needed to be at the church so we left but the spirit said that was a mistake. So we got out of the car and talked to a couple people no big deal. But then we decided to not go to the church and instead went to go see this other family that we met this week. We went there and there was nobody home but then we knocked across the street and found a member from years ago who used to be a missionary but came home early and invited us back over!!! He is all tattooed up and stuff but sooo cool!

Love you guys!!!
Elder Howland

This picture was sent to me by a ward member in Miamisburg, Ohio.  Elder Howland was working on a service project for the member's neighbor.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016

This week was dang good! It is crazy that they are going by so much quicker than ever; next week is the last week of the transfer. 

So something I found out this week is that this zone that we are in is struggling more than any other zone in the mission. President Porter has taught us in the past that you put your priority in helping your bottom area (in business, missionary work, everything) and by helping raise your lowest area you raise the average of everything. So he has stacked this zone. I've known that since day one, I just didn't know why. So yeah he is trying to turn this area around and so I am surrounded with some of the best and most powerful missionaries out here and that is so cool. I am learning day by day how to be better by learning what they do... But that is boring.. 

Monday was exciting though! We had a Memorial Day finding challenge and it was sooo fun! We got together as a whole zone and went to parks and around town and spent the whole day finding new investigators, in fact that was the only goal!!! We went to different parks and we were never with the same people every hour or so we would come back together and switch it up and it was tonzzzz of fun! So last week we got 38 new investigators together as a zone all week... On Monday we set our focus on finding alone and we found... 39 new friends to start teaching!!!! In one day! As much and more than the whole last week! :) We also had so much fun and became more unified as a zone which always helps things haha

I went on exchanges in Eaton which is the sticks kind of city if I've ever seen one! I'm jealous that I'm not out there.  It was so cool because I was with Elder Miller who came out at the same time that I did and he is such a stud! We put 2 of their investigators on date which was so awesome because our area is struggling so I haven't seen a whole lot of success in it in the last month. We are going to be working hard this week to help those friends we have now to progress and feel the spirit and voice of the Lord!

We had a leadership council yesterday with President Porter and it is his last one before he goes home so it was pretty emotional. I learned so much about hearing the promptings that God is trying to reach out to us with. My goal is to become so familiar with his voice that I can know when he is talking to me and act immediately on it.

Whoa... this one was way longer than the last few haha

Love you guys!!!

Elder Howland