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, June 27, 2011

Uma Festa na Igreja! E Mais Fotos! Perdemos Energia em Nossa Casa!!!

Oi! Como Vai!?

I dont have too much to report since last thursday, except that Im doing great and Im really loving Mossoró becuase of the Jovems here. They are truly a big factor on what keeps me going day to day, I always look forward to meeting them. Our Ward had a little party last friday night where the youth of the ward did some ``forro`` which is a kind of dance. Was sort of a play/square dance. Was a lot of fun and I got a lot of pics of the dance because I hired a photographer for the night. hehe My photographer was a lil kid named Sidarle and by golly this kid is awesome. He is super cool and loves spiderman. We talked about spiderman for a good half an hour. When I pulled out my camera to take a pic of the dance. He went crazy and asked me to let him take some pics. So he went to town and it fun to watch him run around taking pics. Thats pretty much how he became my photographer. haha. So i will upload a couple of the pics he took of the youth. Other than that nothing else too report besides I had one of the worst nights of my life trying to sleep without a fan. Elder Jay was trying to fix one of our outlets and boom! All the lights went out. we starting laughing about it for a bit but we were not laughing later on. Luckily the next morning we figured out how the circuit breaker in our house works and got the power working again. Well I love you guys very much and I cant tell you how much I love doing what Im doing everyday and seeing what matters in peoples lives. Im inspired by these kids who get themselves going and have a true desire for themselves to do something, like going to church for instance. I hope everything is going well over there, because it is over here. Até mais, Eu amo vocês!
-Elder M. Howell

Some awesome youth of our ward!

My plaquette, tie and my little friend bebe João

Clarisse dressed up in a traditional Forro dress

Iziranni and Cris dressed up

A little view of the Ward Party with Forro

Some of the Youth dressed up

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Hero and Transferencias!

Oi Todo Mundo!!! Como Vocês Estão? Como que está as coisas lá no Estados Unídos?

WOW, suddenly the air is not so thick, its still super hot haha, but metaphorically speaking the vibes in our house and between companionships are now very tranquilo for the lack of words in english...calm lets say. So for news on transfers and why Im writing to you a day late! So tuesday night we found out that I will be staying in Mossoró! Yay! Im way excited to stay and continue to work here because I have been working with a family who the ``husband`` is already a member but his ``wife`` has been waiting to be baptized for a long time now becuase they have been trying to get the money to get thier marriage certificate or papers. YES they are not married hence the quotation marks for the lack of words...The husband was previously married to another member but they got divorced and Tragically the husband of Leila the ``wife`` died in a car accident...So they are now planning on getting married next month! I hope that i will still be here. Another than that Im still way excited to work with a lot more people here with my NEW companion Elder Kitchen!!! He just arrived yesterday from Porintians some place around Joao Pessoa. We waited pretty much all day at a bus station yesterday to pick up our new companions. Elder Wright got a new companion as well, HIs name is Elder Jay. My comp is from springfield, Utah and Elder Jay is from Utah as well. So I live in a house full of Americans! AHH! Big Change! The only concern I had was with us speaking English more than Portuguese but so far we havnt spoken a word of English and how cool is That! We are way excited to celebrate the 4th of July! haha. My comp is Half Peruvian so as a companionship we dont stand out that much meaning we look more like brasileiros in comparison to Elder Wright and Jay who both of bright blonde hair! haha They get a lot looks...ha Elder Kitchen is way cool and Im way excited to work with him. He only has 10 months in the mission but he speaks Portuguese very well. I will miss my Papai (Elder G. Costa) becuase I learned a lot from him, but transfers and new companions are bound to happen...

So...about my Hero...That would be my Papa! My father Mark E. Howell who I have took upon his initials in my nametag in order to honor him and to always be reminded of the enormous example he is in my life and everything he has taught me. Lately as i have been studying the Book of Mormon I have seen how important and how huge of a role the example and infuences of our parents have in our lives. There are so many examples like with King Benjamin and Father of Ether and Especially with Lehi! Just at the very start of the BoM Nephi starts off telling about the influence of his parents. Well I gotta go. But i just wanted to say a HAPpy Fathers day to my Dad. and Share with you a breif message on the importance of being a good example. Love you guys! Have a great Week!,

Elder M. Howell

Monday, June 13, 2011

Big Thanks, Stake Conference and Things are Lightening up...

Hey everybody,

I dont know where to begin this letter, big surprise, always my problem. As of last week Im very sorry
I sort of left you guys off in the dark and its not fair to do so, so i will shed some light on what i was
going through. So without going into much detail two of the Elders of our house (Elder Julio dos Santos)
and my Companion have been going through some disobediance issues with the rules of the mission. Things went to the President.
Elder Julio dos Santos left yesterday morning to go Home...Something i never wanted to witness...My companion will be
transfered next week, and Im pretty sure i will stay here in Mossoró, so yes I am still in Mossoro if
you were wondering...Sorry other than i dont have anything else to say becuase my time is up already and
I was struggling a lot writing to the Pres. Love you guys as always and I promise i will write more next week. OH Thank you so much for the package!

Love, Elder M. Howell

Monday, June 6, 2011

Second Snail Mail Letter - arrived the same day as the first!

May 24, 2011

Ola Tudo Mundo!
Tudo Bem!?  (All is well?)
How is my family doing?  How are things in the Northern Hemisphere of the world?  Gosh…that made you guys sound very far away…I have to be honest, it’s really hard being obedient to not use the internet when it is so easy to get away with, but as a missionary wearing the name of Christ always (except when showering and sleeping) obedience means so much more to me than it ever has, as I’m constantly reminded of Christ’s example for us, the example that we need to follow.  Obedience is essential for a missionary as it is for everyone.  The trial of our faith to follow the Commandments and principles of the gospel that are best for us, even when we don’t like that particular rule/commandment or we don’t fully understand.  It is a test of trust and to save us from learning things the hard way. We have to accept the consequences of our actions in order to learn our lesson.  With obedience comes humility, you learn to deny the natural thoughts of man, which is pride, the desire to do things the way you want.  Obedience was the first law in Heaven and is what separates us from the dark side (putting it nicely) and pains of life, really anything that is evil in the sight of the Lord only leads to pain, no matter how many people might deny it.
Anyways, those are my thoughts on obedience, let’s move on.  So this past week was pretty good.  Things that stand out to me are:  Seeing horses and pigs in the roads doesn’t faze me anymore, sometimes occasionally a frog or two inside houses may land on me and surprise me, depends on what area, or the occasional gecko on the wall.  Still hot as ever here and its winter…I don’t believe it. 
Finally got accustomed to the food…in my bowels that is…I still haven’t tried goat stomach which I’m dying to try, it has a reputation.  Today in the “grocery store” imagine Elder Calhoun saying it, Elder G. Costa discovered they sell packaged chicken hearts and he was like “Nossa!”  “Wow! Have you tried this, it’s amazing?”  I was like, no, they don’t exactly have packaged chicken hearts in United States.  He was like “really!”  He wanted to buy it super bad but it was too expensive.  I, honestly being curious with my taste buds, wanted to try a heart or two.
Other than that, I’m doing good, the young people around are keeping me alive along with some families we know.  It’s always fun to practice my Portuguese with tons of kids surrounding me in Sacrament meeting. 
We received another American missionary in our house!  His name is Elder Wright and his is from South Jordan, Utah.  He has 5 brothers and one sister.  He is the first to serve in his family.  He is a really cool dude and he is certainly spicing things up here.  Its nice to have another person to relate to more.  I will send you a pic of me and him sometime soon.  Well, I really didn’t have any time today to write.  I promise I will write more next week.  Oh Elder Wright has more time than me on the mission, he was serving in Florida before he got here and he can’t believe the difference.
Well, I hope everything is going well, and I love you all very much.  Be grateful, Be thoughtful, Be curious, Be adventurous, Be spontaneous, Be empathetic, Be delightful, Be courteous, Be obedient, most of all be loving.  Until next week.
Elder M. Howell

Snail Mail from Brazil!

This letter should be blue…
May 19, 2011
My dear family,
By now you have certainly figured out I have not been writing you via email for some time now.  If you have not been informed, I hate to tell you that my privilege of using the internet has been taken away.  Missionaries who broke the rule of speaking longer than 40 min on the phone are being reminded that it is a privilege to talk to your families and all rules are commandments to missionaries.  The only person to be angry or disappoint with is me.  I’m devastated and I was very angry because of my ignorance.  I can no longer communicate with you very quickly, and I most certainly lost some respect of my mission President, which kills me.  I sincerely didn’t know the rule was only 30-40 min.  I thought it was a 1 hour talk more or less for many reasons, but I should have known better.  It’s in the missionary rule book.  I’m truly sorry, I will continue to write to you with letters…I will send you some pictures…Gosh I’m so upset right now, but I guess this is a lesson I need to learn to not assume the actions of others are right.  I thought we deserved a lil more time to talk because of all the trouble we had and for the effort and time you guys sacrificed to talk to me.  On the bright side…you will get some cool Brazilian letters…not that exciting…well enough with the Blue, let me give you some…
Good News…
So besides finding out about my punishment, things are super.  I found out I will be staying in Mossoro for another transfer.  WE had thought nobody was being transferred in our house, but today we found out Elder Moreira is being transferred!  Elder Julio will be training a brand new American missionary which means I will not be the only English speaker in our house.  Would have been better if it was an American who knew Portuguese already so then he could have explained some things to me more clearly but I am super excited to have someone (who is coming from the Provo MTC)to relate to more, and we can help each other out, offset the dominant super speed talk, which has been really great honestly, a great wake up call on how people really talk here, but I was really struggling to squeeze in words at first because there was no time to understand, and by the time I understood, they were talking about something else!  Living with 3 Brazilians has been great, very difficult, but truly great, but its going to be so nice to have an American to talk to.  I think I will pretend to not know English for a couple days at first. Haha.  I wonder what he is going to be like.
Other than that good news, I have been blessed to not be infected with the worst cases of pink eye I have ever seen in my life.  Seriously, I will send you some pics, because you need to see to believe this and my words cannot do it justice.  A lot of people around town have been infected.  It’s pretty bad.  Elder Julio do Santos had the worst case and maybe you will see sometime.  It was so bad he could barely open his eyes, he got his companion infected, Elder Moreira woke up one morning and looked like a monster.  Very luckily Elder G. Costa and I have not been infected yet…
So besides diseases, let me tell you about a rapaz named Jefferson (not Antonio’s brother) yup, another Jefferson, I know like 4 Jeffersons.  We call this Jefferson, Jefferson F.  His real name is Francisco, but he likes his middle name Jefferson more, which I have no idea why because there seems to be one too many Jeffersons in Brasil.  Anyways this Jeffereson F. is probably one of my favorites fo far, besides Antonio.  He is definitely the most progressed pesquisador of ours.  He didn’t believe in God when we met  him.  Which is unheard of in Brasil!  Because everyone at least has a belief.  So this Jefferson he lives on the road behind our church in the midst of the field.  His house as I like to say is the “clubhouse” for the main group of boys who play soccer like seriously everyday at the church.  We first met this soccer gang at the church.  We asked them if they wondered about the church where they play futebol right next to, they were like, “no, we like the futebol court though”  We were like seriously?!?  Have you ever wondered why there is  such a nice court here?  They were like “no we like the court though” hahah  Then we were like well can we share a message with you and explain why you have such a nice court here which you like so much.  Then they were like “allright” so we did end up teaching most of them as a group sometimes at Jefferson’s house which was so awesome.  At times it was just Jefferson and his brother Joao.  We actually really only started to teach with Joao at first, then Jefferson decided to see what was up, just being curious then I assume, because he didn’t want to have anything to do with religion.  So the soccer gang by the way consists of Joao, Jefferson F. Manuel, Klebes, another Jefferson, Naxell, Leonardo, Italu.  That’s the main group of boys we first met.  We had a ton of fun teaching these youngsters, joking around when we could, but then being serious when it came to the lessons.  We ended up baptizing Joao and Italu first.  Things with Jefferson were interesting…we taught him the first lesson (The Restoration) and the third lesson (Gospel of Jesus Christ).  Jefferson F. started to become interested and engaged in our lessons after some time, then he accepted to be baptized!  But then we asked him if he thought the Book of Mormon is true and if he believes in God now.  He said “no”.  We were like “why did you accept to become baptized then…” Then he said “I’m not sure…”  I thought we needed to give him more time and clear things up with him before a baptismal interview, but Elder G. Costa insisted on going through with the interview.  He said “he is confused, the baptismal interview can clear things up for him.”  I hesitantly agreed because I thought what is our district leader going to think of us having him interview someone preparing for baptism who doesn’t believe in God!  Or the Book of Mormon!  Or Joseph Smith was truly a prophet!  When they had the interview with him it lasted for about an hour…he didn’t pass of course…he needed more time and we needed to work with him more.  We told him tha tit is very important that he needs to pray sincerely and seriously think if God exists and if what we taught is true in order to be baptized.  We didn’t see him for a couple days due to us teaching other people and he was “busy”.  I was really worried.  One day when we were doing other baptismal interviews at the church, we finally saw Jefferson come by.  We asked him if he was ready for another interview, he said “yes”.  That was one of the most suspenseful interviews…turned out that he passed!  A miracle had happened!  I had the pleasure of baptizing Jefferson F. and he is one of our strongest baptisms by far now and he is one of my best friends here.  He is 18 years old by the way and he is going to received the Aaronic Priesthood next week and is preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood soon because he is seriously thinking and is excited about serving a mission!  So unbelievably cool!  “To see one of your baptisms start preparing to serve is an honor” said Elder G. Costa.  Jefferson said he really wants to baptize his younger brother who will be turning eight soon.  We gave Jefferson a suit jacket and a white shirt and tie and we all wore our suits last Sunday for him.  Was awesome!  The Bishop is going to call him as his secretary soon to prepare him more.  He is going to replace another Jefferson.  Hahah.  It is incredible to see the huge change in him.  From a young man who had no beliefs, was confused about life, didn’t have a sense of what kind of future he would like…is not on the straight and narrow and is making choices that will bless his life and others for eternity.  I can’t do justice describing his change on paper.  I’m so happy for him.  We ended up baptizing the whole main gang of soccer boys and we are trying to teach their families and get them more involved and be a more unified family.  (All the soccer boys of the gang are going to seminary!)  We are currently teaching Leanardo’s family…things are complicated with Jefferson’s family and with a lot of families here …a lot of them are not married!  Well that’s my brief story of Jefferson and I hope that I can make up for the loss of internet.  Probably can’t…this is going to be really tough.  I already seriously miss hearing from you just like that! On Mondays…but receiving personal letters will be nice.  Hope all is well…praying for you…always.
I pray that these letters will make it safely and will not take too long.  I love you.
Elder M. Howell
P.S. Here is my current address, but by the time you get this, I might be transferred…
Rua Nilo Persanha, 1039
Bom Jardim 8722-5712
Mossoro – PB
Also, one requrest, can you send me Elder Paxman’s and Elder McComber’s mission office addresses. 
Also plz let me know WHERE Marcus is going to serve and WHEN! This is killing me.  We are going to learn a lot of patience.

More Photos, Sweet is the Work when you work..., GREAT TRISTEZA...

Oi todo mundo, Ola do Brasil...

Well at the moment Im feeling like a mess...the reason why I was so happy to hear from you guys again so easily is because I have been feeling way more trunky than usual to be honest...Our work has slowed down and I have not been as lost in the work as I was before. I write what is on my mind, so what i write is sincerely whats going on in my mind because otherwise i would have nothing to say ha. I really dont know what to say to you guys for this past week becuase Im now in a situation of great frustration and complication dealing with my companion and the companion of Elder Wright (the new American Missionary living with me) and something they did last week to say the least. I dont want to go into much detail and Im not sure if i should...Freak...Im feeling pretty terrible right now and I dont have time to say more. The only thing that keeps me really alive with the Spirit and the will to work is working with people and making new friends and we have been seriously lacking that. On the bright side one of my favorite Buddies/recent convert, Jefferson bore his testimony yesterday and that really just made my week, to see the change and progress in him makes this work all worth while. I have written way more about my experiece with Jefferson in a handwritten letter. Dont worry about me, Im just going through some `little` trials. I will explain a lil more indepth next week more personally if you want to know a lil more but I hate to gossip and its way more complicated than you know and its trials of other missionaries that is affecting Elder Wright and I...IM STILL LOVING the people I know here so much and Mossoró! I encourage you to keep on praying always and live for the moments to serve others to make them happy becuase i know it will make you happy. I love you guys, glad to hear from you as always... Love, Elder M. Howell

Front Gate/Garage/Front View of our House, Nothing out of the ordinary...

Elder G. Costa, me, Elder Moreira e Elder Julio before Elder Moreira was transfered...

Guarana! of the Amazons!

Elder Wright and I enjoying some Guarana on a bridge overlooking the skyline of downtown Mossoró

Enjoying some Mangos!

Church Building of Bom Jardim, Mossoró

Futebol Court along the side of our Church

Beautiful sunset outside of our church

Batismo de Jefferson F. e Paula!

Jefferson F. there that rapaz is one of my best buddies/pesquisadores! And that Moça Paula is awesome too! She is super shy and it was a fun time teaching her...More about her later. I wrote a lot about Jefferson in another letter(handwritten)