Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Here are a couple of pictures from Elder Howland showing the bruising around all his toes from his dislocation (left foot) last week...yuk !!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016

I realized something the other day again. I have enjoyed my time here serving a mission more than any other time in my life. When I serve God I am happier than at any other time! It is crazy that by doing the things God asks us to provides us with happiness!!! :) I go through "little Gethsemane's" and love it because that is where the growth is. I can enjoy the easy and fun moments because they're easy and fun, but the critical times that I remember most, and learn the most, and grow the most, and help others the most is when I am going through that refining fire!

For example, I had a certain companion out here that it was so hard being with him! Sooo hard! I wanted to be more obedient than he did and wanted to work harder than he did and yet I found myself being less obedient and diligent because I didn't want to make him feel bad. I was literally caring more about what men think than what God thinks. After a while I made up my mind that no matter what other people around me do, I will be obedient and diligent. Looking forward to real life and applying the same concepts, I realized that my friends or maybe even my spouse might not be as diligent or obedient as what I know we should and so I asked myself if, heaven forbid and this is very dramatic but, if my wife went less active in the church would I try and make her more comfortable by not going to church also? Or would I set the example and go and try and lovingly lead her back to Christ also? So now I know and it all came because of a hard time. :) That is why I love them! If I had been around a perfectly obedient companion my whole mission, I would have never learned that I had the power to stand on my own for what I know is right. And you know what? That companion started following my lead and being more obedient. Happy ending! 

Transfers are here but I dodged a bullet and I'm staying. Elder Wilcken is leaving which is kinda sad because he has 5 weeks left before going home and has to do it in a new area. Hopefully he goes back to an old area though! 

So I had a crazy week this last week, on Monday I dislocated a few toes while playing soccer and that has made walking all day rough but it isn't too bad. My companion Elder Wilcken and I also both got super sick with this ridiculous cough that has been plaguing us! I'm living in Dayton, Ohio and really like it. This place is like half ghetto and half super ritzy it is wierd. Kind of like West Valley except the nice parts are wayyy nicer! So the families that feed us dinner are the nicer ones and so they spoil us sometimes :) It is nice!

Love you all,
Elder Howland

Elder Howland doing a service project...

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016

Today's e-mail from Elder Howland is super short.  Once you read it, you'll understand why:

So just so you know I am doing just fine. I'm doing A okay. But I just got back from the urgent care where I got a few toes relocated after dislocating them playing soccer. So I can't email a big one and I apologize but put this up there and it will be exciting :) Seriously I'm just fine. I'm walking around and everything. I'm doing well. But I will tell you about it next week. I love you and again I'm doing really well. I mostly just wanted to email you because I knew you would see the charge onto my debit account and would be worried. I love you and today is already much better than this morning :) I love you!

Elder Howland

P.S.  He sent a follow-up note saying it was only 2 toes, but one was dislocated in 2 different places.  Well, it'll be interesting to hear the story next week, right?

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016

SO! On Monday the 4th of July we met this woman named Alice and I think I mentioned her in my last email. Well, she is a member who hasn't been to church in 17 years and after meeting her on her porch, she invited us back for dinner.  On Saturday they had us back over and we had an awesome time! They have amazingly behaved kids who are so involved in the discussion even though the 2 boys are 9 and 13 and the 2 girls are 15 and 18. Like whose kids are that into Jesus at that young of an age?! They are so great and we can tell that Alice really needs us, but we haven't found what that need is yet. She really needs help in raising her kids (even though she is doing an awesome job so far) she says. She says that they are individually and collectively in a place of crossroads so they want some direction from God. Alice is awesome; she still has a strong testimony of the gospel and it is funny because we didn't even really do much to find this miracle. 

What a testimony that God knows each of us individually and knows where we are and what we need. God knew Alice was there and so he sent a couple of clueless yet diligent missionaries to go find his lost sheep. What a humbling and awesome experience to be a part of it :) And then Serena (15 year old) came to church; the rest were out of town or at work sadly. But we are going to help them come this next week :)

This week was awesome, we saw miracles and we had interviews with the new mission president. We also had a leadership council and soooo many meetings but we ended up still fitting everything else in. God makes it happen; it is awesome! My testimony is growing so much and one thing that stuck out to me in church this week was "Go the long way home." We were talking about service and it is nice to think about each of us going just a little out of the way to go help some one :)

Love you!
Elder Howland

The caption that came with this picture was, "Scripture Power."

Dinner at a member's house, with their family.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 5, 2016

We had p day on Tuesday this week because of the holiday yesterday. I'll share a quick miracle with you from the holiday yesterday actually.  So it was okay... In the morning we didn't have much success... like at all haha. We were like ugh it's raining and lame and nobody is home and nobody is answering their door and we are being frustrated... So we ended up back at the car and we were like hey let's say a prayer! So we said a prayer and I was like hey, lets walk this way! Elder Wilcken was like alright! So we walked forward and turned the corner and there was this lady sitting on her front porch like 5 houses up and I muttered over to Elder Wilcken "target acquired" haha.  So as we passed he pulled the most cliche yet effective "Can I give ya a card" *insert picture of Jesus to hand of investigator* and it turns out she is a member already! So she hasn't been to church since she moved here to Miamisburg and now she has 4 kids and she invited us back over for dinner on Saturday (score!) and we will start teaching them then! Aww yeah!

Good stuff, I love that God is always leading us. When we are doing his work he leads us, but we have to invite in his Spirit and ask for it!

I am finding something new that is making the scriptures soooo much better! So when I read I don't read. I read the words, find the applications in there and then use them in my life! It makes them so great! Quick Example- Ether 6:5 is the first one that I did it with and is probably my favorite go ahead and read it before continuing......... Okay so this is awesome, we all go through trials in our life right. That sounds like these furious winds that are blowing us but the key here is where it is blowing us to. "Towards the promised land" Yes the trials and such that we are experiencing are taking us towards this glorious promised land, the goal of what God wants for us, which is what? Exactly, immortality and eternal life. The Lord sometimes sends these furious winds and sometimes we curse him for it but that is only because we can only see the waves and wind in front of us and we don't have that eternal perspective to see the land that it takes 344 days (for the jaredites it was that long but in the scriptures, like when Ammon wandered in the wilderness for 40 days, it just means a really long time. And like the Israelites wandered for 40 years? That means a really really long time). So it is fitting they would use it here because we can't see the promised land yet.  It is a really really long ways away but we can know that God is blowing us towards it because that is his work and glory. 

I hope that that made sense! I don't want to read through it again to make sure. But that is the stuff that I want to find in every chapter and every verse! That is why I am excited for 40 years of studies!

This is awesome, I have actually written something worth while for once!

Love you,

Elder Howland

This is Elder Howland with his companion, Elder Wilcken, and his new mission president, President and Sister Welch.