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, April 30, 2012

Thriving in new area....

How are you. Sorry today im not going to be able to give a big report on my week, I promise ill describe everything next week and i will try my best to in the phone call or skype in 2 weeks!!! I was wondering if you guys could do me a huge favor and send me a cd of the band Evanescence...Madison will know who im talking about. Here there is a boy i know who is obsessed with this band and an original cd of them would make him go crazy. He is an unactive member who we are trying to reactivate. We baptized a young boy named Anderson yesterday. He is great guy and we will try to teach his family now. We have two families we are working with who  are super specail to us and i forgot to mention that last pday we arranged a marriage. we filled out the papers and we are planned to do a marriage and a baptism of a family on the 17th!!! Things are going super here. I have never been so worried about so many people and thinking about them in my life but ive never been happier... I think about you guys a lot haha and how much i hope you guys will see a difference in me, how much i will try to help out at home on my return, i have so much to tell you guys...Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was everything i imagned he would be how it would be to be in the presence of an apostle of Christ. I felt something different shaking his hand...Until next week!! love your son Elder Andy

Monday, April 23, 2012

First couple weeks in Canguaretama...Elder Holland on the way!! Great Pics!

OBA!!!! Hello everybody!

Hows it going? Im doing fabulous! haha Gosh i always have this problem...where to begin...Can i just tell you that I love little old fashioned towns...theres just a cool vibe about having a main street with eveything that you need and a big park where everybody hangs out to just to have a little chit chat. Here in Canguaretama i found out that the church here is only about three years old!!! As in the first missionaries that came here was only three years ago! Its awesome to be in a place where the church is just starting
to grow its church is of need of strong active members...OUr branch presidente told us that the future here is with the youngens...We are working here mainly in the center of town as its real close to the chapel which makes it easier for us to bring people to church. OUr area is huge and i still havent left from the center of Canguaretama. There is a whole other city in our area called Goianinha where the other dupla is working! They are in charge of the group that is meeting there...which as in the baptisms we have planned for over there may turn into a branch shortly! Well im super happy to be here working with an awesome companion who is from the same group of G. Oliveira! Elde Cicero is always animated and excited to work, he has a gift in small talk with people, im learning tons with him...Im also super excited because something unbelievable is going to happen tom!!! Im going to have a training with an apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland himself!!! We are going to travel to Natal for a special training with him only for Missionaries!!! Im dying here...its going to be something else! Well to answer quickly your questions about Mothers Day...I would prefer skype, I would love to see you guys! :) But whatever is more convieniente for you guys...Here the internet seems to be good miracously...Lets plan on the monday after Mothers day if thats good with you guys? ILL fill you guys in with more details in the coming weeks. Glad to hear the weather is sunny over dont even have to ask if it is here...haha Well love you guys para carumba! haha Have a splendid week! Plz pray for us three baptisms we have planned this week...José a young man and Anderson another young boy and Kessia a young lady....Muito AMor! Abraço, Elder M. HOwell

PS. Hope you guys enjoy the photos!!!

Chapel of the Garden Paulistano in Campina Grande

Campina Grande Zone

10 Fingers = 10 Months
(as in 10 months left in their missions!)

X All!  Elder Clawson!

Dinner with Alexandre and Fam!

An Easter dinner with Sister Fatima and Family!
With Ivy, Larissa and Iraildo!!

A White Easter!
Alexandre's family and Karina up on the left!

Alexandre's family!
Me, Alexandre, Neves embracing Maria de Lourdes (their granddaughter),
Arthur and Diogennys (their granddaughter's boyfriend) and Elder G. Oliveira! 

One cozy ride to Canguaretama!!!
We managed to fit all our luggage and us three
missionaries into a little taxi...

The home of Canguaretama!
Elder Franco with the hat...Elder Broad with the flute...
my companion Elder Cicero! Like Spiderman!

Brother Joseph and I.
My "X's" Leader...
(mission leader maybe?  Andy writes all these captions in Portugues :))


Monday, April 16, 2012

Hello! Tudo Bem!

Wow! Its PDay again! Time flies right...Its flying by too fast really...Im here in my fourth area
of my mission already with my sixth companion! Ive got so much too write but so little time!!!
SO Im here in a little town called Canguaretama about an hour and half drive away from Natal and
Joao Pessoa it seems. Our area used to be a part of Mamaguape which was the zone of Joao Pessoa but with recent changes our area was moved to the Zone Ponta Negra which is in Natal. We are really in no mans land here! To meet with our zone we have to grab a taxi. Luckily for our district meeting we will just meet here in our chapel. Here in Canguaretama it is a branch, not officially a ward yet. This branch has been trying to get enough members to become a ward for quite some time now. When this area first opened to the missionaries the church started to grow here tremendously fast but unfortunatly most of the members have become less active...To become a ward they need to mantain a frequency of 100 active members every sunday and a set amount of preisthood holders...Apparently the dream of becoming a ward is almost a reality! There are about 70ish members who are coming to church weekly and President Cesar of the branch told us that they only need two more preisthood holders to start making plans to build a chapel here! An oficial Chapel!!! We are going to work our butts off here to build a beautiful new chapel here! There are us four missionaries, Elder Franco and Broad and Elder Cicero and I working in the same area to reactivate members and to find these future preisthood holders, future leaders of the Church. We got a lot of work to do here but we have fire in our bones they say to experience a branch turn into a ward! This town is super cosy! haha Here downtown they say the ``centro`` there is a beautiful park with a fountain and palm trees open to the public and a huge beautiful catholic church. It really is the center of a atraction and an awesome place to do contacts. Here almost around every corner we run into a member! The youngens here are always excited to see us and excited to do splits with us. At the park its easy to run into a member and just start to talk to someone with them, its great! My work here is easy to do divisions as a district leader as the only dupla that im in charge of lives with me! haha so when we do a division we will work in the same area and sleep in the same house! haha. Elder Franco is a crazy guy who is in love with japonese culture so i became his friend at first sight. Elder Broad is american! He is from Odgen! He is a great guy who is in love with Hawaii and has polynesian ancestry! Elder Cicero my companion is quite the character, he is from Maceió, Elder Mcombers mission! More on him my time in unfortunaly up!!! I gave a talk yesterday about the book of Mormon and how important it is to have a testimony of him to stay active and strong following the example of Jesus Christ. I was called for the third speaker so i had to give a talk for 20 minutes and i didnt know until yesterday of how long my talk should be!!! I was very worried but aparently a talked for almost a half an hour!!! haha I dont know how! ANyways love you guys tons and have a splendid week!!! Ive got things to mail to you guys! Letters and my Diary... Com Muito Amor, Elder M. HOwell

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Best Easter of Andy's Life!

Ola todo mundo!

Gosh...i dont even know where to begin...I just had the craziest emotional rollercoaster ride week and
i am literally left speachless here. Let me begin to say that Yes, Papa my last Easter in the Mission was the best Easter of my life...Elder G. Oliviera and I... and I should say the Bishop and Diogennys an awesome member, we baptized a family of four this past Sunday as well a a young 18 year old girl named Karina...I cant describe the feeling of joy and gratitude to the Lord for allowing this to happen and allowing me to esperience this in my life and just to get to know this family and Karina. I was begining to think that i would not be the Elder to see this Family be baptized as they were all in doubt and uunsurety of entering the church and being prapared for a big change...We said everything that we could and taught everything that we could to let this family know that with a leap of faith everything would be alright but something was missing
for them that we just couldnt discern...We found out this past wednesday that they were all waiting for a real specific answer...especially ALexandre the father...We prayed and fasted a ton for this family and i know that we were not the only ones...Saturday we went to give them a quck visit to see how they were doing...they all received the answer they were looking for, an exact specific answer...Let me just say that their anwsers to thier prayers in thier dreams is one of the most spiritiual stories i have to share and i only feel comfortable sharing thier answers personally...When they told us i was tears, and Elder G. Oliveira speechless...This baptism was one of the most attended of the ward with four peopling baptizing and the photo of white we took is undescribable...unfortuanatly i do not have my camera with me so until next week...SORRY :( ANyways i was transfered to Zona Natal this morning to a little city call Canguaretama. It way different then any town that i have worked in so far...My new companion is named ELder Cicero and we are super excited to work! MOre next week! love you guys!
Elder m. Howell

Monday, April 2, 2012

Singing in English during conference...

Oi gente! Im great! How are you?

WOW! Was General Conference great or what! Such amazing talks and music!  I really loved the music this time and I had a wild time singing by myself amongst a bring crowd and everybody staring at me like I was a crazy person! hehe You know that part when the congregation is invited to sing with the
choir and the man with the stick that guides the music(forgot the name is english) turns around to lead and the lyrics appear. Well here, nobody sings, everybody just stands up
and listens becuase i think a lot of people are too embarrassed to try to sing in english so us americans get a moment to shine for a little bit! haha Singing all by ourselves at the top of our lungs to make up for the lack of voices. It was fun. I watched the conference both in english and in portuguese. I have to admit that it is millions of times better in
english, not just becuase its easier to understand, but becuase sometime the translater doesnt pick up some phrases or he doesnt express the mood or expression of the speaker you know, and some jokes cant be translated that well...So one thing to be grateful for, the priveledge we have for us elnglish speakers to hear conference directly. My favorite talk was Elder Bednar´s in the priesthood session about his father. Was really touching to me. I also really enjoyed Presidente Monsons talk in this session as well. From the other sessions my favorite was Elder Anderson´s talk about the family and the three children that miracoulsly survived in a collasped building. I really Enjoyed watching the conference in english with Carina, a young 18 year girls we are teaching who knows how to speak english from watching movies!!! She has a british accent! it is hysterical! I joked that she much have watch Harry Potter over and over and over again. She said that im right! haha She is a very bright girl, She watched three sessions of Conference! was her first time in church! Unfortunatly the family of Alexanadre were not able to make it to watch conference...At least Alexandre was able to watch two sessions of Conference...This family is progressing slowly. Tonight we have a family home evening planned with a great family and this Irmão Antonio invited Alexandre and his family to come so we have high hope for tonight. i really enjoyed this week and i cant believe that this transfer is ending, went by so fast! I hope you guys have a splendid week! Plz continue to pray for ALexandre and his family. Com muito amor, Elder M, Howell