I am so grateful for the experience I had this week! This is a real letter and not one that I hurry and throw together due to a time constraint. :)
So on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 (my sister's birthday) I made a commitment to read the book of Mormon by the end of the transfer which was today Monday May 15, 2017. I did it with another missionary because he was struggling especially in terms of his testimony of the Book of Mormon. We were in it together and we have worked it together. He was really struggling with even a desire to study in the mornings and I wanted to simply take Moroni's challenge which Preach My Gospel asks us to do often. So we did the math and we started reading 44 pages every day. All of studies consisted of reading and about 2 hours of personal time each day was focused on this. I knew that I would see some evidence that showed me God's love. I had seen it before and I knew I would again.
Saturday came and for some reason I struggled a lot. Sunday the same thing. I was lethargic and depressed and to be honest I don't think that I had felt that way in the whole time that I have served so far... BUT. Sunday I talked with Elder Payne which helped, and then even more so Lynn texted a scripture for me at literally the most perfect time.
Alma 58:11 "Yea and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit [Elder Howland] with assurances that he would deliver [him] yea insomuch that he did speak peace to [his] soul, and did grant unto [him] great faith and did cause [him] that [he] should hope for [his] deliverance in him."
I felt that scripture hit me like Joseph Smith felt James 1;5 hit him. I knew that I needed to look to the Lord for my deliverance. It kind of surprised me though because this is literally what we do all day long! Teach people about how they can receive relief and comfort through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and here I am not applying it! So I got on my knees and I told the Lord all that was on my mind and right then I felt the relief that I needed. All throughout the Book of Mormon the main message I have gathered this time through is for us to remember the mercy of the Lord in delivering our fathers out of bondage. I remembered right then the times that I personally have been delivered, this time as well as in times past.
I have taken the challenge of Moroni and when I read the Book of Mormon I remembered the many mercies of the Lord unto the children of men from the time of Adam. I pondered it and I asked Him to take my burdens. I know that he did. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers because he did mine. I asked for a revelation that the Book of Mormon is true, and he showed his intimate awareness, love, and mercy for me.
Things are going really well here, I am sad to leave my area but I am going to a really nice area and with a companion that I used to serve with a year ago. Elder McKellar who is from Trinidad and Tobago and the funniest person in the world. I'm going to be his last companion before he goes back home. Eastgate here I come!!!
Elder Mark Howland
Elder Payne and Elder Howland
Elder Payne and Elder Howland with Lynn (right...his left) and a person he didn't identify.