Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014-08-01 now whenever we walk past cows I watch carefully

Hey Everyone,
This week was good.  I love Colcapirhua.

We started playing early morning sports with 6 of the other missionaries in the zone at a soccer/basketball court close by our house.  We wake up at 6 get there at about 6:15 and then play for half an hour.  We switch between soccer and basketball every day.  It's fun and it's nice in Cochabamba in the mornings.
Gilber likes to shine shoes
Last P-day we had a barbecue and played soccer with the whole zone at one of the churches. Today we went with 4 other missionaries to play tennis. We also visited the Floreses in the morning. Tomorrow is Anghy Lou's birthday.  Marco had a big breakfast waiting for us.

Jessica and Daniel went downhill this week.  They failed our appointment, and another day when we stopped by they said they didn't have time to talk. Hopefully we get to teach them this week.

I don't remember if I've talked about Kevin before.  He's a great 15 year old kid who comes to church every week.  He wants to be baptized but we were waiting for permission from his parents.  His dad told us he had to wait at least until his (Kevin's) mom gets back from Spain so they could talk about it.  His mom has been in Spain for a long time but got back about a week ago.  This week when we went to visit Kevin his mom was there and joined us for the lesson. We taught about the restoration and it went really well.  His mom seems like a great person and also told us that her son seems completely different from how he was when she left to go to Spain. She says she thinks that going to the church has gotten him oriented and making good choices. Kevin shared a powerful testimony with his mom about how he'd come to know that the church is true.  It was a great lesson and on Sunday they came to church together for the full 3 hours.  We have another appointment tomorrow.  

Things are still going ok with Luis Miguel.  We had a lesson with him yesterday in the afternoon.  The good thing is that this time his adoptive mom sat in on the lesson with us.  (His real mom rented at his adoptive mom's house.  She left Luis there when he was 1.  The owner of the house took him in and he doesn't know his real family)  She is really nice with us always but wants nothing to do with the Mormon church.  She says she is comfortable being a Catholic.  Even though she doesn't want to come to our church she is incredibly supportive of us teaching Miguel.  She chimed in during our lesson several times to say that she reminds Luis Miguel to pray every night.  She also wakes him up and sends him to church.  She even wants him to get baptized. Hopefully with a little time we can get her to give us a chance too.  I think her listening to the lesson yesterday was a huge step in the right direction.
These last couple weeks we received several references of people to teach in Kami.  Kami is a little pueblo that's part of our area but about 15 minutes in car from the main part of our area.  This week we decided to go spend Wednesday afternoon there.  About a year ago missionaries worked there for only about a month and besides that there haven't been missionaries there.  I think it's fun to go to places like that where the missionaries don't really have a presence.  We draw more attention from the people because they aren't used to seeing us there. Before we left, my companion and I knelt to say a prayer to ask God to help us to have success in Kami. We packed up lots of pamphlets and contact cards and went.  I felt the Spirit strongly and I felt really good about going to Kami as we headed there.  Once we got there, we went to contact the references we had and didn't really have much luck with that so we decided to just start talking to everyone. We walked around the central plaza talking to everyone we saw.  That did go well and we set up a lot of appointments for this week. Then we decided to go knock some doors.  That went well too.  We taught 2 families on the spot and set up a bunch more appointments.  We also somehow wound up in another smaller pueblo called Collapampa that is also our area. It's basically an extension of Kami but the there were sure to tell us that it's not Kami. Kami look mostly dry except for the part that is Collapampa.  It had a lot of water and was green.  It also had a lot of cows too. One took off running and just missed ramming me (not sure if it was trying to hit me or not). That freaked me out and now whenever we walk past cows I watch carefully to make sure they aren't going to try and run me down.

when the herd of cows was following us
The plan for now is to spend every Wednesday there and if things are working out to choose one more day and spend 2 days per week working there.  I'm really excited about how things will go there.  The people are generally pretty poor and seemed very receptive to us last week.

I love being a missionary.  It's great.  

I have found that doing good things makes it easier to do more good things.  Almost everyone has good intentions and from time to time feels very motivated to be better.  The hard part seems to be keeping the motivation they feel.  Motivation in the gospel commonly seems to come when people have gotten lazy and stop doing as much good or start doing bad things.  Something makes them feel bad about how they are living and they suddenly are excited to fix things.  That's not ideal though.  We can keep ourselves motivated always to live the gospel by being strong-willed and thinking about the eternal consequences of our decisions.  Those who do good receive spiritual support and protection that help keep them doing more good things.  Choosing to do good things is not always the easiest or funnest thing to do in the moment.  But God doesn't just ask us to do the funnest and easiest things.  He asks us do what's right.  As you choose the right it will become easier and easier to do. 

Helping others makes us feel good.  Pray for opportunities to perform meaningful service and then serve when those opportunities present themselves.  Have a great week everyone.

Elder Howlett

P.S. James 1:16,22   

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014-08-25 I love being a missionary.

Hey Everyone,
This week went by really really fast.  

I think part of the reason is that on Thursday we had the leaders' council.  That took up almost the whole day. All of the zone leaders and the sister training leaders meet up at a church in Cochabamba and we talk about how to make things better here in the mission.  It was really fun because 10 of us were from my MTC group and I hadn't seen some of them in a long time.  It was also interesting and well done.  President spoke a little.  One of the new things they announced is that in the coming weeks they are going to launch a mission Facebook page that Hermana Hansen will be in charge of.  You can look for that in few weeks.  It was a good spiritual meeting and I left excited to try some new things in our companionship and in the zone.

My companion and I are still getting along well.  He's a good guy.  I don't remember if I mentioned that he's kind of a clean freak though.  This morning I swept the study room and then he went in right after and redid it.  The house is always really clean though.  It is a lot of fun to be a missionary especially when you have an awesome companion.
my area
I ran into two converts from Alamos this week. One was the Parra family.  They are all doing very well and are planning on getting sealed the same day they were baptized--Sept 14th.  I'm super excited for that. Especially since you can always get permission to go to the sealing of your own converts.  I also ran into Oliver Torrico and his wife Consuelo.  He is the ward secretary now and they are also doing very well with church stuff. They were the ones who got married and then he got baptized that same day. They are also planning to be sealed during the coming months.

We found a great brother and sister this week. They are Daniel (14) and Jessica (17).  We taught them the restoration this week and they were very interested and understand well the idea of praying to know if it is true. We stopped by last night to see how it had gone with their prayers and Jessica told us that she believes she received an answer that it is true.  Daniel said he didn't get an answer yet but told us that as long as he gets an answer he wants to be baptized.  We have an appointment with them and their mom this week. We talked to the mom for just a second on Sunday and she also seems very nice.  Their baptismal date is the 27th of September. I really think that they will get baptized. 
walkin' in my area

Everything is still going well with Luis Miguel.  We had 2 lessons with him this week and he came to church. The only thing that's not going that well is that his mom has no interest at all in listening to us. She really likes us a lot and makes sure her son is ready to go to church by 7:30 and likes that we teach him.  However, she says that her life is calm and she doesn't do bad things but she doesn't like going to church.  Hopefully we can get through to her one of these days, she is a really nice lady.

This Sunday the bishop gave me about 15 minutes heads up that he needed me to give a 15 minute talk.  I spoke about ordinances and filled the 15 minutes.  I think it went pretty well.  It was easier than the last time I did something similar so I think that means that my Spanish is still improving.

The kiosk we have to do once a week in this zone--I enjoyed it more this week than last week.  Its surprising to me that almost everyone I contact knows someone who's a member of the church.  I don't really feel like having the kiosk up makes too much of a difference because even though most people can read, probably about half of everyone doesn't read very well.  If we ask them about the question on the display they would struggle to sound it out.  That doesn't work very well for 2 reasons.  One is that a lot of people are self conscious about their difficulties reading and two they can't really think about how to answer the question because they are so focused on figuring out what the words are.  It's basically just a few hours of street contacting when we do the kiosk.

you can see a lady and her son reading a pamphlet we gave them in the background
I love being a missionary.  I really do.  It is so fun to go around and just teach people about the gospel.  The gospel is truly the best and most important thing anyone can have.  The gospel has been a huge blessing in my life.  It is incredible how much God does for us.  He's done a lot for me.  I'm grateful for that. I know God is aware of us and loves us.  I know the Jesus Christ lives.  He is our Savior.

Make sure that you are living the gospel.  Life is better when you are.  Help your family and friends live the gospel.  When you do, you are participating in our Heavenly Father's work.  

Happy new school year to everyone too!  I hope it's a good one and I'll be back before this one ends.

Elder Howlett

P.S.  Joshua 3:5