Andy's Mission Scripture

Andy's Mission Scripture:

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

~Alma 29:9

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some info from Andy about the day to day...

Note from Dana...a couple weeks ago, I sent a letter to Andy that included a list of a bazillion questions I had about what his life is like at at the are a bunch of his answers:

I occasionally read the O Livro de Mormon whenever I can and I am able to understand most of it! My companion and I read during language study and try to translate every verse we read.

During personal study Im sad to admit I have fallen behind in Jesus the Christ but I try to read when I can becuase during Personal study I have started the BoM again becuase while Ive been here Ive learned a new way to read it and I need its influence in my day.

In companionship study we generally go over Preach my Gospel and Yes in Portuguese.

I do use my fast dry towel and I love it, it drys so fast!

Sister missionaries do go to the temple the same time we do but we are not allowed to participate in the prayer circle becuase we cant hold hands....

I sleep great! even without my pillow fort :)

P-days are on Fridays.

I see the Sloans and the other guys pretty often becuase the sloans and elder black are in my residence.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oi todo mundos! como vai! Feb 18, 2011

I don't really have that much to say this week besides the fact that my testimony of faith and obediance and the power of prayer and of the Holy Ghost grows stronger every day, along with my anxiety and anticipation to get out in the field...and I have only been here three weeks!  I have to admit that after the 1st week at the MTC the excitement of "Oh, I'm finally a missionary at the MTC!  I can't believe this!" starts to sink in after being here 3 weeks.  Don't get me wrong I still get those moments of "wow, I"m a missionary" and one of my teachers Irmao Cannon says that will happen a lot during my mission haha, but I hate to say that I've felt discouraged and a loss of enthusiasm while being awake for 16 hours days (way longer than I used to be awake for) and going on 3-4 hour straight times of MDT (basically free study time).  It's hard to stay focused at times.  Lately I've been praying a lot for diligence and it's helped a ton.  Plus whenever I feel the Spirit, its like my energy bar is refueled, and my drive to learn is back.  Luckily I feel the Spirit here tons as well :) and luckily I have two of the greatest teachers in the world.  I always look forward to class time with Irmaos Porter and Cannon and whenever they bear their testimonies in Portuguese, I feel the Spirit so strongly.  A couple nights ago Irmao Porter bore his testimony on fe' (faith) and he just started tearing up and he got me going as well (I'm such a crybaby when I feel the Spirit).  I can't tell you exactly what he said, not because I couldn't understand's because he was talking so fast, but I got the profound message he was trying to get across that faith is the foundation of our testimonies and of prayer.  There are countless examples of the importance of faith in the Book of Mormon, like Enos.

Also a recent example of having faith in the power of prayer was this week during TRC, which is the greatest practice for missionary work.  We first contact a random stranger through a door contact, then set up a lesson with them.  Then we try to teach this random person acting as an investigator about the gospel and the situations vary every week.  Well, before we were about to be assigned our investigators this week we found out that we didn't have enough volunteers in that day.  So our teacher told us to pray for someone to come and so we immediately did such and immediately after a bunch of people came in saying "um we're not scheduled to do this today, but we were bored and felt like we should come here."  It was amazing and just little things like that keep my testimony on prayer strong. 

Also on faith, Irmao Cannon said an awesome quote that I loved "Miracles won't happen for you if you don't believe in them, but if you do believe in them, they happen all the time."

We lost our District Leader this week.  He got his visa!  He left Wed. It was really sad to see Elder Harston go but it was great to see that visa's exist!  Your prayers are working, lots of Brazilian missionaries are getting their electronic visa confirmations!  Thank you so much for the prayers! Plz keep it up! I pray that everything is going well for you guys!  I love the MTC so much and the love that I feel from you guys and from the gospel and I love you all very much and wish you the best week!

Elder Howell

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Letter AND Pictures!

February 11, 2011

Ola!  Oi todo mundos!

That means hello! hey everybody!  Geez, what a week.  It seems like I always don't know where to begin because my weeks are so jammed packed full of experiences and great spiritual moments.  I can't believe its been two weeks already.  It's weird because I have to be honest, the days are really long here, some longer than others and some that just fly by, but they are all so rewarding, even the days when I'm stuck in class most of the day.  It's so weird, in high school I could barely stand staying in a class for more than two hours but here I'll be in class for like four hours and then have a meal and then be back to class for like another four hours ready for more!  I have to admit that it does get really exhausting, but I know that the Spirit is fueling my desire and energy to stay focused and learn in class.  Did I mention how weird time is here?  I'm sorry if I'm being repetitive. 

Anyway I have to say that I'm so thankful and appreciative and love you guys so much for all the love and support.  I now know what it feels like to receive a letter as a missionary and it's so great to hear what's going on at home and to just hear from you guys.  I'm sure it's a hundred times better when you're out in the field farther away from home.

I heard the greatest quote a couple days ago about missionary work:  "Missionaries are people who leave their families for two years (or 18 months) so other people can be with their families forever."  That quote really slid into homebase for me because before I didn't fully realize how fortunate I am to have this knowledge about families can be together forever and about temple sealings when there are other people out there that could be just dying to know this and that they are loved for just who they are and are missing the whole perspective on what life is really about.  This quote fueled my drive to spread the blessings of the gospel even more.  I'm ashamed to say how much I've taken for granted.  Growing up in the church, I never realized how much and how important the gospel has impacted and been a part of my life.  Here at the MTC I've watched a lot of videos in class about people's lives (that have just broken my heart and made me realize how fortunate I am) on how the gospel totally changed their lives.  For example, this boy Trent, born into the slums of Detroit, his dad left his family when he was five years old.  Just left with his mama and the clothes on their back and a junky old car.  His mama couldn't find a job anywhere, so they were just driving around homeless for a while, stopping and settling into some towns when his mom could get a job for a while, but then got fired.  Finally one day his mom got a steady job somewhere and they moved into a surburban house.  During all this timeTrent never really went to school.  When he went to high school he dropped out.  One day some missionaries came knocking on their door.  At first Trent didn't care at all for the message they had and didn't believe them.  Then those missionaries said, "Hey Trent, you don't have to take our word for it, but go straight to the source of all knowledge to know if this is true, pray to God."  So one night he got down on his knees and he felt something he'd never felt before in his life.  Long story short he was baptized and finished high school and went on to college.  Got his life back together and going, along with his mama.  I've got so many more examples but only so much time.

Devotionals in the gym continue to be amazing.  Singing "Called to Serve" with 2,000 missionaries makes me feel like I'm part of a righteous holy army ready to take on the world, like a stripling warrior, it's so awesome.  Every talk is so motivational.  Got to hear from the president of the Seventy I believe and his wife.  His wife said in impactful and inspiring quote that I really liked, "Return with honor, but mostly serve with honor." I hope to not just return with honor, but to have honor throughout my entire mission.  After devotional that night I got to meet my district president who had been out of town the last couple weeks.  His name is Pres. Shippen and he is a remarkable man.  He told us two just mind blowing stories.  Hi father or grandpa me Martin Harris Jr. the sone of Martin Harris, yeah, the Martin Harris.  So Martin Harris Jr. told Pres. Shippen's father or grandpa what Martin Harris had said on his deathbed.  He said he was visited by an angel with the golden plates in his hands and he had to testify this to his son.  This brought things close to home.  When  he told this story the Spirit was so strong everyone was just speechless in our class for a couple minutes.  It was incredible how strong the Spirit was. The next story wasn't as close to home, but it's still amazing and it really helped ease my stress about the whole visa situation.  It's about a missionary named Elder Bare.  This missionary was going to serve in Bulgaria and he struggled for weeks trying to learn this language, so much so he went to Pres. Shippen and broke down and cried that he could not serve a mission in Bulgaria because he could not learn the language.  And this guy was described to be the size of a bear, go figure, and he almost made Pres. Shippen cry.  Pres. Shippen told him that he would learn the language if he continued to pray to the Lord.  After 6 long weeks the language just clicked.  he finally started getting the language and he became the most fluent missionary at the MTC in Bulgarian.  Then the day came when visas came.  His whole district, but him got their visas.  He broke down again to the D-Pres and didn't understand why this  happened.  He was re-assigned to serve in Arizona.  Things were going terrible in Arizona for the first couple weeks.  Elder Bare pleaded to understand why he was sent there.  Then one day Elder Bare knocked on a door of one house.  The door opened and a man was standing there.  They said "hello" but this man didn't respond and started to speak some other language, Bulgarian!  Elder Bare then converted this entire Bulgarian family who had just moved to America for business for a short time.  After they were baptized his visa came.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Well, my writing time is coming to an end.  I hope everything is going well for you guys.  I know if you continue to have faith and pray to the Lord and read the scriptures your life will be blessed.  I continue to pray every day for you guys and I'm still loving the MTC and the Spirit I feel here.  Still loving my Portuguese class and my teachers very much.  I pray that I will continue to have the drive and enthusiasm I feel right now.  Til next week!

Lots of love,
Elder Howell

We learn how to walk on walls in the MTC...Priesthood Power?

Hey there!  This is where I sleep, one of my favorite places in the MTC.  I was just chillin there on P-day, posing for my companlhero.  Oh and there's my awesome Brasil flag held up by lots and lots of tape!  Best purchase made so far from the MTC bookstore.

My companlhero, Elder Estados (States) and I posing in our classroom ready to learn!

My amazing District in front of the Provo Temple:
Left to Right:  Sisters:  Taylor (Sao Paolo East), Jessee, Bailey (Santa Maria) and Myers.
Elders:  Welch (Joao Pessoa), Gariety (Sao Paulo West), Galvez (Joao Pessoa), States (Joao Pessoa), Clawson (Joao Pessoa), Collette (Sao Paulo West) and Hartson (Sao Paulo West). 
I love them very much, they have amazing testimonies!

A postcard of my favorite temple  above my desk, plus my fingers and name tag!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snail Mail from Elder Andy--February 8, 2011

Hey everybody! Hows everything going!?

I'm doing just super, but also super exhausted. I'm so thankful for P-days so my mind, body and spirit can just rest for a while during my hectic week. Now I like to think I know how Christ must of felt when He made Sundays for a day of rest, but to the tiniest little minuscule fraction of how He must of felt creating a world in seven days,thats not a good comparison at all, but it sort of gets my point across on how long and hard our days are here. Anyways a long slow week has flown by here at the MTC and I don't know where to begin. Well, I can start off by saying that I'm starting to settle in and get into the groove of things here. Seeing the new missionaries coming on on wed. amazed me that a week has already gone by, but at the same time it feels like its been longer. It amazes me how many missionaries come and go every week, its like a righteous circle of life. Today I got to go to the Provo Temple for the first time and I can't tell you how nice the experience was, let me just say P-days are my favorite days of the week, not just for the fact of being able to rest, but for the fact that I get to go to the temple. I got the package you guys sent me with the left over candy...and the Brazilian flag! Thank you so much! It really completes our room, my roommates love it. I have some awesome pictures, but I'm still figuring out how to upload them. Funny and torturous story goes along with that package. So I completely forgot that you guys were sending it. And one night during class over the intercom they call Elder McComber's name and my name and some other Elders' names to come down to the front office. Its funny here when the intercom goes off everyone quiets down and actually listens and hopes there name is called instead of high school here its the exact opposite. Anyways, our whole class quiets down and my companion looks me and says "maybe its your visa?" and that statement just rocked my socks off, we have a phrase now, like "when pigs fly" instead its "when my visa comes" so everyone thats going to Brazil is just dying inside for their visa. So anyways the class is silenced with suspense and my heart leaps when I hear my name. When I get outside my class there's Elder McComber (his class is right across from mine) and we leap into each others arms and start hollering thinking this is our time to go. So the walk to the front office just sucked the life out of me. Finally we got to the front desk and Elder McComber just had [taken out for confidentiality, at Elder Howell's request - not his visa though] haha and I just got my package. Haha not that I didn't really appreciate seeing the package, it just was the false alarm that killed me...Haha anyways I got to psyche my class out when I got back, I was like coming through the door "I got my v...package." They didn't think it was funny but I got a good laugh. Everyday here at the MTC has its moments, but I can't remember them all because the days are starting to blur together. Next time I'll grab my journal for more "moments" but I'm stuck waiting for my laundry again right now amongst chaos. Every lesson and meeting here is done with such dedication and full of heartfelt meaningful things, I love it so much. I had the opportunity to hear from one of the quorum of the seventy. He gave such a great talk on how everybody in the world has the "light of Christ hidden in themselves" or "has the bean inside them" and we as missionaries need to fertilize that bean or bring that light out from inside, through the power of the Book of Mormon! He had so many unbelievable examples, like a woman who had been addicted to drugs her whole life and some missionaries baptized her in a matter of six weeks, so unbelievable considering people take months in rehab and still have problems. Theres some more stories, but I'll tell you guys later if you want to know. His name was Elder Duncan by the way. Anyways whether my visa comes or not I know whatever happens is for the best and its the Lord's will. Besides how cool would it be to serve in two mission fields and have two calls done! But please continue to pray for all the missionaries waiting for their visas and to soften the hearts of the Brazilian ambassadors and the ambassadors around the world. I hope everything is going well at home. Til next week!

Muito Amor!
Elder Howell

Friday, February 4, 2011

The latest email....Friday Feb 4, 2011

Hey! I just wrote you guys a big letter a moment ago explaining my 1st week more thoroughly because the computers we use during laundry time are so packed most of the time so now I got a couple minutes to spare. Things here are so great! but lots of hard work! but you know what they say that the hardest things bring the greatest reward! Um it depends on what day. Some days we wake up at 6:30 and go straight to the gym to warm up our bodies to play some basketball or some volleyball or to run around there indoor track! I said before that Ive always wanted to run on one of those and they just happen to have one here! Some days we wake up and go immediatly to class to have personal study time, yes, and then we have breakfast around 8:15 and then come back immediatley for class to study portuguese for like 3 to 4 hours...Some days we wake up and stay in our dorms to have personal study then have companion study then breakfast and then class. Our days mostly consist on being in class learning Portuguese all day and I love it! Some district meetings and devotionals are thrown in there too! Sundays are probably the best for spiritual thoughts because thats when we have the big devotionals with everybody packed into the gym and the gym is transformed into like a minature version of the conference center. Its that picture you saw with the 2,000 missionaries that Elder Holland was in! Anyways I missed you guys too when I went to the temple today but it was a sight to see the celestial room full of missionaries! Love you guys lots and have a great week! May the spirit be with you, Elder Howell.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our First Snail Mail!

Sat Jan 29, 2011  4:15 pm

Hello again!

I guess I just found out that I will not be able to email you all my thoughts and concerns because I can't get it out in 30 min. at least here at the MTC because things are a lil crazy.  My first four days here have been truly muito oitimo (so awesome).  I'm already, seriously, confusing some words in English with Portugese because of how much time I'm spending studying it.  I've probably spent over 40+ hours in a classroom learning Portuguese and studying how to preach and that may sound bad, but I can't get enough of it.  Time just flies by in that classroom, and probably because I have two of the most amazing teachers!  Brother Cannon and Brother Porter.  They both are returned missionaries from Brazil who speak Portuguese fluently.  In our classes they only speak Portuguese.  I'm in this thing called the "pilot program" and they say missionaries who have gone through this program are far more successful with the language on their mission.  First day meeting them was a bit overwhelming, but they were surprised that I was responding to them and understanding what they were saying.  Thank you so much again for Rosetta Stone or Eu Sou muito agradecemos por estudio isto. 

I got my first companion.  His name is Elder States.  Well I don't know if a companion at the MTC truly counts as a first, but I think it does.  I actually first met him before the MTC at the airport going there.  He's from WA and is also going to Brazil, big surprise right.  I call him Elder "Estados" and I love him like a brother because he is so awesome.  When we were eating lunch one day and we were just nonchalantly eating and I look up and he says "you want to see something cool" as he has this gigantic scar from his wrist to his elbow on the bottom of his right forearm.  I just choked on some food and said "that's cool" and he began to tell me how he was on the road to a football scholarship and everything was going his way.  Then one game he jumped up to catch a pass and a guy clipped his legs and his whole bodyweight fell onto his right forearm and just shattered his bones almost out of his skin.  He almost lost his arm. He questions himself if he would be serving a mission if that didn't happen to him.  It was such a humbling experience he said as Heavenly Father helped him get through that pain.  I call it his "testimony scar".  He has physical proof of a testimony, how cool is that.  The scar is pretty sick as it has staple marks going up the side of it.  It's so gnarly.  God works in mysterious ways. 

When I first received my "missionary package" in the bookstore on day one, I was welcomed by an awesome "shirt and tie" letter (the letter was actually shaped like a shirt with a tie).  It was from Elder McComber, Elder Black and Elder Cardon.  As the guy handed me the package he said "that's a real cute letter you go there" with a smirk on his face.  I laughed and walked away. 

The 2nd day is somewhat of a blur of Portuguese to me right now.  On the third night we met our district leaders and had a testimony meeting.  My district is comprised of 8 elders and 4 sisters, named Elder Holston, Collett, Welch, Howell, States, Gariety, Galvez, Clason and Sisters Bailey, Taylor, Jessie and Myers.  The sisters bring a real sweet spirit to our district versus our obnoxious elder behavior.  That night was really profound.  One testimony in particular really struck me and that was Elder Galvez's.  I don't want to get too specific but his mom was a drug addict and his dad's not a member and his brothers and sisters have really looked to him for strength and he has brought his family closer with the gospel and his testimony of it and I think his mom is about to be baptized and he decided that he wanted to bring more families together by serving a mission and hopefully his example will touch his father.  I really admire his strength and will to be able to leave his family which he basically took care of to serve the Lord.  To show his appreciation to the Lord.  I thought I had it hard.

Well, the food here is great and I love my roomies and I can't describe to you my love for our Church and I pray that you guys are doing as well as I am.

Until next week!

Lots of love,
Elder Howell