Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March 27, 2017

This week has been glorious! I mentioned Lynn in my email last week well this week she got baptized! I will be sure to include some pictures. Now that the story is over let me share with you it from the beginning from my perspective!

So I came into Cincinnati without much going on... Lots of fun! So after a week we met Lynn! She knew the missionaries through her friend Mitchell and loved the feelings through the Spirit! 
We went to our District meeting that week and the Spirit was so strong. I was listening and was able to receive revelation straight from God. There are times when revelation comes as a generous thought or good feeling or softer inspiration. This time I heard God's voice. He spoke and I won't say the exact words but pretty much he said that there was someone in our area that was ready for the message of the Restored Gospel in their life and that they needed to be baptized while I was here this transfer. It was very specific. I rejected the fear that came from that promise and knew that I had to work my hardest to help bring it to pass. 

Well since we started to teach her she fell in love with the Book of Mormon flying through it spending hours in it each day. She knew it was true through the power of the Holy Ghost. We asked her to be baptized (after calculating the required 3 Sundays attendance) on April 8th.  She had some concerns and asked some questions but was leaning towards doing that without enthusiasm. Now that isn't in this transfer because our transfer ends on April 3rd so I knew that Lynn was awesome but there was still someone out there who was ready for the message of the Restored Gospel and who would be baptized this transfer. Several days later while studying for our next lesson with her I read in Preach My Gospel under How do I Help People Prepare for Baptism and had the thought that we should ask her to be baptized on March 25th. That didn't make sense to me because it didn't fulfill the qualifications for baptism, but I kept thinking about it ALL day. When we got to Lynn's for the lesson I still was thinking about it but I couldn't go through with it... Well about halfway through the lesson she was explaining something and I simply decided to act. I asked her if I could rudely interrupt her haha and said "I don't know if I am even allowed to do this Lynn, but the Spirit has been urging me all day that I should ask if you will be baptized, not on April 8th, but on March 25th?"

To my surprise and everyone else's also there were no questions, no hesitancy. Lynn said that she had been waiting for years for this and yes she would be baptized on March 25th and she was so excited! Well this Saturday Lynn was baptized and it really showed me 2 things. 1. God knows his children. He knew that over the last year Lynn had been praying for a church to start attending and for someone to come to her door to help her come back to him. 2. God's word is sure. When he promises something he WILL make it happen. It reminds me of a scripture "...for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

In Preach My Gospel it says that "You will succeed in your work as you learn to receive and follow personal revelation." The last few weeks of my life have been testimony of the truthfulness of that statement.


Elder Mark Howland

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017

This week has been awesome! We had exchanges and zone conference and everything... It was just so busy. But we worked hard and it was so fun and the time flew by! Fun fact of this week. I started and finished my week with the same companion! :)

We are teaching a woman named Lynn and her friend Mitchell and his 16 year old son named Timmy. They are the most wonderful people that I have ever met! I have so much love for them I can't even describe! We go and share lessons and we all feel the Spirit so strong and we each learn so much. It is truly the way missionary work is supposed to be! They are progressing towards baptism and they have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. It really is the key to everything, through that we can learn the truthfulness of the entire gospel.

So the best thing of this week happened on Sunday. I was having a somewhat stressful time right after church and then we started to visit people and find new families to teach and I noticed that right as we started to find and knock doors I just had so much joy come into me! I just know that the Spirit is in the Lord's work and it is such a good life! The funniest thing is that just like 2 weeks ago I was struggling with feeling love for the area and the work and all that... Well the cure for me was the same advice that President Hinkley's father told him... "Forget yourself and go to work." Very wise words.

Man life is great! I keep getting told that I'm very optimistic and I can kinda see that. Life is so great and it is even better when you look at the good so why not!? :)

Much love from Cincinnati!

Elder Mark Howland

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 13, 2017

Alright well hopefully things are calming down here. Things are so good. I have much need to tell you about Lynn and Mitchell and Timmy! I have so much love in my heart for them and I haven't shared it yet! So I can't even describe how great they are. I will just share a quick quote from Lynn- she is reading through the Book of Mormon and she said "I'm just wondering where it has been all my life."

I think that is a beautiful thing. Being able to share this message with people that are literally looking for it but just don't know where to find it. 

Things are so crazy but being a missionary is so great!

Elder Howland

I don't know who are in these pictures other than that it's a variety of people Elder Howland serves with or serves...

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Elder Howland has a new address:

Elder Mark Howland
5355 Tompkin Ave #1

Cincinnati, OH 45227
March 6, 2017

Life is crazy! I can't even do life anymore! So for those unaware my mom back home has had a tough week in the hospital. Then out here in the last week I have been apart of not one but TWO Emergency Transfers. Transfers were 2 weeks ago then I moved this week and now today I am going to move back to my old area and with another new companion. I'm done hahaha It is was all good until like 5 minutes ago I got the call for the second transfer. I was sooo happy with my new companion and my new apartment and having....

Sorry I don't like to complain. I am repenting. Really though it is pretty funny. Like wow life is crazy!

This was a stressful week but there were so many blessings! Instead of talking about the work can I talk a little about trusting in God? This week I really needed to trust in God. And even right now with all these changes I need to be trusting Him. So last Monday my world kind of got rocked when I found out that there were going to be changes with my companion and I also found out my mom was in the ICU. My brother obediently followed my Mom's instructions not to tell me much and so I was left kind of in the dark not really knowing anything. 

One thing that I learned from before my mission working with Living Scriptures was to "Control the controllable." The rest you can't bother yourself with. So I did that this week. I pushed all worries of my mother to the side. But I didn't forget about it. I have an experienced testimony of fasting and so last Monday I began my fast for my mother's health, pleading with the Lord. I knew that whatever the Lord's will was would be done but I took the example of the Importuning Widow in Luke 18 and applied it. I feel so very blessed that my older brother- and for years my hero- worthily holds the Priesthood and used it to give her a blessing in her time of need. I believe that these combined with the many prayers of loved ones on her behalf helped in her recovery.

But more than the Priesthood of the blesser the most important thing is the Faith to be healed. I was just studying that this week funny enough. What a blessing it is to have a rock for a mom. Firm and steadfast and always an example to me. My best friend. 

Well things are crazy as life usually is but Christ is the center. Christ is the constant.


Elder Mark Howland

(Elder Howland sent some pictures; I have no information about people in them)

Monday, March 6, 2017

February 27, 2017

So this week was GLORIOUS! Being back to Cincinnati was great the first week! I was able to on exchanges back in Norwood and was able to go see some people I knew from a year ago! In another year I want to come back and experience it again. Mission Trip!!!! Yeah! And can I just say that there is so many good things happening! This has been a week of miracles both in our companionship as well as in the work. here is just one for instance. Like there was this one lady who we met and she invited us back and that is great... And then we went back and taught the Restoration and it was amazing. She said that she felt something that she didn't normally feel (She is pretty spiritual aka Southern Baptist) and that she wanted to continue investigating the church and oh by the way like the day before I met you I received the Book of Mormon I ordered online!!! What?! That was so crazy!!

And then our first day we met this guy Robert. He had done some drinking the first day we met him but regardless we came back and actually we taught him every day this week because he loves having us come over! Physically he looked so much better each day! The first day he wore really torn sweats and baggy stuff. The next time it was kind of messy. And yesterday he looked pretty good, collared shirt and everything. In addition his home was cleaner and cleaner each time! We could see him changing each day and he was changing spiritually also.

These were just a few. As a companionship we have grown closer together. Elder Sheffield is a stud! Things are just so great and way better than I can hope to convey in the little bit of time that I have.

I love you, yes you. :) 

Elder Mark Howland