Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017

 Lynn said something to us the other day that she is tired of doing "good" things. She wants to start doing "God guided" things now. Don't we all have millions of good decisions in front of you but where is God guiding you? 

Another story from Lynn to answer the last question. So Lynn loves the Book of Mormon. LOVES it. She is in Alma right now and she only started reading it for the first time a month ago. She feels the Spirit really strong and it provides her with comfort and peace. So last week she started reading the Doctrine and Covenants and in a couple days she got clear to section 52 and the whole Joseph Smith History! She is so great! But on Thursday she was feeling spiritually low- she recognized that she hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon and so she read it that morning. She said that she didn't even read a whole page and she felt the restorative feeling of the Spirit come back into her. I think that that really illustrates what we are all are looking for. And simply I would call it 3 steps. 1 Recognition- self assess and notice something is disharmonious, 2 Humility-be willing to recognize that your way is causing the problem and 3 Repentance- making the changes necessary to bring you back into alignment with the Spirit. 

One other thing that reminds me of is this last General Conference. Wasn't one of the main things President Monson asked us to do was read the Book of Mormon specifically everyday.

I want to share a scripture with you that I memorized. These are actually my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon right now. Mosiah 29:19-20. This is a common theme throughout the Book of Mormon. 3 Nephi 4:33, Mosiah 7:33... There are so many times it talks about the Lord delivering us. That is truly his sole purpose. He is the one that can free us from the bondage we put ourselves in.

19 – And were it not for the interposition of their all-wise Creator, and this because of their sincere repentance, they must unavoidably remain in bondage until now.

20 – But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.

The Lord has and continues to deliver me. I know that this work is true. I know that Christ is our redeemer and I know that the Book of Mormon brings me peace and joy and love EVERY TIME I read in it.

Elder Mark Howland

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017

Easter was such a great day! Our Mission President's wife volunteered us to sing This is the Christ in Sacrament a few weeks ago and so Easter Sunday was the day that we did it. Elders Hurst, Bischoff, Payne and myself sang while our ward mission leader played the flute and another good friend in the ward played the piano. It was so good and in combination with the talks- it was just a glorious, Spirit filled Sacrament. It was the first time I have performed musically in front of anyone (mostly because I have always been really just a terrible singer!) but I loved it a lot and can't wait to do it again!

We had a Zone Conference this week and it was the weirdest one I have ever been to haha President Welch didn't actually talk all that much, we had more music in it that we have ever seen. It was really nice though. The cool thing was that I received the answers that I needed even though there was much less shared than usual. (The only complaint that I had was that the lunch was awful haha) I came with questions and I left with answers... and more questions haha

Right now I am surrounded by some pretty stellar missionaries and so I feel pretty lucky! One thing that I was pretty sad about a few weeks ago was that I didn't feel very connected to many of the members here in this ward but over the last few weeks that has really changed and probably my favorite  part of missionary work has really come in again. This area is full of some of the best people and I could go on and on! 

I hope you had as great of an Easter as we were able to enjoy!!! :)

Elder Mark Howland :)

 Elder Howland and his companion, Elder Payne, with some other people.
 Elder Howland and his companion, Elder Payne.
Elder Howland with his mission president's wife, Sis. Welch.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 10, 2017

This week has been Glorious! 

Well it started off pretty bad in that the Sisters that I was in the MTC with went home... But on the bright side at least I can talk to them more now!

The rest of the week was glorious though! We had a social media day Saturday this week where we had the opportunity to teach people all about the Prince of Prince. I love sharing this message. The first thing we did was organize a service project across the street from our apartment this whole last week and so in the morning it was the first thing we did. It was awesome using the neighbors to help us to do a good thing. We took pictures. I'll send them next week. 

Sunday we had a cool experience! We were fasting for a miracle to happen among the Young Single Adults here and then we say a miracle! So We have been teaching this girl Chelsey. She said Saturday night that she was coming. Then Sunday morning she called and said that she was ready. We were going to pick her up with some members because this is her first Sunday coming to church. She called back again and said that she was having an anxiety attack and she couldn't do it. I assured her that it wasn't a big deal, she didn't have to go but I asked if we could still come and introduce the members. She allowed that. So on the way over with the members she called back again and said her anxiety is getting worse and that we shouldn't come... but we were right around the corner from her and so she said it was still cool that we come. So she came out and we talked for like half an hour. And after that she felt better and wanted to come! So we went to church and she loved it and she even bore her testimony! It was really cool and I love that we can add our testimonies to that of Peter when he declared that we have not followed cunningly devised fables but were eyewitnesses to His Majesty! We see miracles daily! God's work is going on and never halting!

Elder Howland

I'm not sure who the sister is, but this is Elder McKellar with Elder Howland.  
They were previously companions.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 3, 2017

Of course I'm going to talk about conference! It was so great!!

One that particularly meant a lot to me was by S Mark Palmer. Not just because his name is Mark haha and not just because he had a cool accent also! But I love the story of the rich young ruler and I love how he focused on the Lord's love for him! It seemed like every single talk had a list of 3 things to write down! It is really a great way to plan your talk but when every single person does it it's like cmon!! But I love how several people in conference talked about seeing others through God's eyes and S Mark Palmer was one of them.  The best part of conference was receiving answers. Another great part is receiving chastening. I had the wonderful opportunity to have both haha

I had a problem that I didn't know how to deal with and I won't go into specifics here but I needed some help from above. So going into conference I was determined to seek my answer and the way it happened was interesting. All weekend I was searching and on Sunday morning I woke up in the middle of the night with a phrase in my head so I got up and wrote it down so I wouldn't forget by morning, and it was "if something you want doesn't exist- create it." Now I don't know about you but that was kind of cryptic to me. I didn't know how that applied. But I liked it and I thought I could use it in the future for like my job or something. But during the Sunday afternoon session I realized that the answer to my question was love. And I was chastened for not expressing my love more. So I realized that love was what I wanted and didn't exist. So I need to create that love for all those around me. Everyone deserves to feel loved and I was withholding that from some because I didn't agree with some of the things they did. I don't know if any of this makes sense haha

Moral of the story: The Spirit illuminates our understanding and it also is like fire and chastens and corrects. The Church is truly Heavenly Father's Kingdom here on the Earth. Those that we heard from are His servants and they spoke the words He knew we needed. I know that they set us on a straight and strait course.

I love you.

Elder Mark Howland