Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016

Alright, so this week started off with a miracle! 

Monday- we are working with this Less Active named Mandy Moles, she is a huge blessing in our lives, she is so funny and witty. We have been working with her over the past couple of weeks and really have built trust with her. On Sunday her Mom who is very active came up to Elder Manos and started to just sob and thank for our efforts with her daughter. 

Apparently she has been so devoted to praying for her daughter to come back to the fold. Every time she would go to the temple she would put her on the prayer list and cry out in prayer every day to have something happen to have her back at church. Mandy would of never had missionaries at her house or would ever invite them back... 

This last week we saw Mandy, her mom and a friend. We were able to start out with a great conversion of getting to know each other that just faded right into a spiritual discussion. We taught a very powerful lesson about "receiving answers through reading the Book of Mormon". By the end of the lesson i asked if everyone can feel the spirit that was there. and Mandy answered with an excited "YES" because thats just how she is haha. After Brother Spencer and Elder Manos bore testimony about the Book of Mormon we left the commitment to study the scriptures with the purpose of finding the answers to the questions of your heart. Mandy was very excited to try this promise from the lord out haha 

Afterwards we had our "Family Home Evening" activity and ate M&Ms, fruit and played catch phrase and the evening that Mandy and her mother were very nervous about turned out to be the best thing they could of expected and were anxious to do it again soon!

Later in the week we had a great Mission Tour and Mission Leadership Council from Elder and Sister Hamula of the Seventy that was kind of the launch of changing almost everything about the mission. In short we talked a lot about being ready to lay it all down for the Lord,. Forgetting about yourself, Trusting in Him to take care of the rest, and living a consecrated lifestyle. It is something that the mission was needing because we have been seeing a trend of missionaries lacking in that aspect. Needless to say that the Tour was AWESOME. The Mission Leadership Council was very closely related to the tour but telling us more straight out that EVERYTHING is going to change in the mission.

We are very excited. its something that we have been hoping will change in the work. The Lord knows best :)

Love all of you!

Elder Mark Howland

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 22, 2016

This week we had such good work!  Cieara came to church with us and we had such a powerful lesson with her before. She had a powerful experience where the holy ghost was really strong and she is excited to continue learning. This week I learned so much about the power of following the keys because President Welch wants us to be more in Preach My Gospel and the other day I was studying and I spent the whole time in Preach My Gospel and the whole time things just felt different. The power was coming from doing what my priesthood leader asked of us. I realized that the commandment like from God doesn't matter so much as the obedience to it. That is why in the Law of Moses they had very different commandments than us and yet if they did it they still were blessed and progressed due to the obedience.

We are meeting with another man named John and he is the most sincere investigator I have ever seen. Heck most sincere than almost anyone! He cries during most lessons and even just during the prayers. He is like the most hardened man with such a sweet spirit. He has seen some incredible things that I can't even imagine and somehow he has gotten to a point where he is this in tune with the spirit. It really goes to show the power of repentance and the power of the Atonement that Christ gives us. No matter what we have done and no matter where we are at. God takes us from there and helps us progress.

Love you so much! 
Elder Howland

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016

Alright this week was good but I'm finding out that as time goes along it goes quicker and quicker! That is crazy! So this week Elder Manos and I had fun in the rain! I have never experienced this much rain as the last week in my life! Every day it is just dousing us and it is so funny! Elder Manos is from Seattle (just south of where I lived) and he is loving the rain! Personally I like the sunshine more but it has been fun because only one other time (down in Arizona) have I experienced rain that pours so hard that the windshield wipers are not able to keep up! At church we went all of 30 feet from the car to the church and we were soaked even though we ran! Hahaha

So the work is progressing and we have been having a lot of success working with less actives recently.  We have 15 less actives that were at church this last week! The best part about that is that as they come back and get excited about the gospel we are going to help them work with their friends and introduce them to the gospel. There is this one less active specifically that we are working with who is 19 and we want to see him serve a mission. Me and him are exactly the same and I just love this kid to death!

We had a Zone Meeting this week and they asked that I conduct the meeting which was kind of random but it was cool because I got to see the other side of things. Being able to see the missionaries as they were furiously taking notes or as they sat pondering the things shared or some even as they took little naps haha.  But everyone was getting out of it exactly what they put in and it was neat to be able to sit on the stand and witness that. It is an eternal principle, it happens in church and scripture reading and everything. I realized that maybe it isn't the quality of the speaker in sacrament that determines how good the meeting is. Perhaps it is our preparation and the degree of desire that we have to take advantage of the atonement that day. This week we were invited to take greater advantage of the atonement during sacrament and I took that to heart and had one of the most profound Sacraments that I can ever remember. And that was because of my preparation before and my pleading with God during that changed it! God is willing to bless us when we use our agency to follow him!

Love you!!!!

Elder Howland

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 8, 2016

There was no e-mail to post from Elder Howland this week.  His time to e-mail was very short.  Here are a couple of short sentences he wrote to me...

Hey mom, so guess what? I love you!

I will tell you about last weeks' zone activity next week because it is a crazy story!!! All good things but I want to send a recording! 

I'm sending pictures of Elder Manos my comp (which he did not send). He is bold and powerful and a leader and literally my best friend. I finally have someone I can trust and confide in out here and it is such a relief. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016

Things are going really well here, my foot is getting better now that it has been 2 weeks and in the mornings to work out we usually play some frisbee so I can run a little bit and start to stretch it out and exercise it but not too much to where I will make it worse. 

I just barely got a new companion whose name is Elder Manos and he is seriously like my best friend. I have had a rough time with companions to be honest I love them all but it has been a lot of work to mesh together very well BUT NOW?! Oh my goodness!!! I LOVE ELDER MANOS! And his name is not Spanish actually, it is Greek. It means 'God is with us'. I seriously had so much fun this last week and he is the same as me, we are going to do so much work here. We are in a struggling area hardcore and the last couple transfers we (me and my companion) haven't been unified in our efforts, I wanted to do a lot and now Elder Manos wants to do as much as me and so we are gonna do it! We are going to help the areas progress and see a lot of success... Long story short, I am sooo pumped for the next few weeks!

There is this German Exchange student named Marius here with a family in the ward and he has been coming out with us. Pretty much I've decided that when I get off my mission I'm going to go spend a couple months with him in Germany and it is going to be amazing, I love this kid so much and he is preparing to serve a mission.  So when I go we will definitely go do some missionary work to help prepare him more and help me continue to do it! 

My testimony has grown this last week. That is so cool to say. Every day seeing the progression is amazing. I have further deepened my conviction that I know that God answers prayers, I know that he gives us exactly what we need when we have the courage and faith to ask. Every day I have to be building on that faith and coming closer to him and make sure not to fall away. I look forward to the opportunities to do something hard and see if I trust God enough to do what he asks. 
I am super grateful for the emails, letters, cards that I received this last week where many of you mentioned an experience where you followed a prompting and saw a miracle. That was exactly what I needed, and your testimonies helped build my faith.  So thank you!

Elder Howland