Monday, September 25, 2017

Another one down

Today we had transfers.... That means that this last week was virtually totally devoted to getting all the flights and other travel arrangements made for everyone to get to their new areas and companions. We had a bit of an insane night Sunday running back and forth between cities and the airport to get all the missionaries who were leaving to the mission presidents house. We were supposed to have a dinner at 16:00 but one Elders flight kept getting delayed so finally at 01:00 he arrived.... We drove him to the mission home, took the "tchau photo" for all the leaving people, dropped some people at home then went to bed..... for 3 hours before waking up to take that same group to the airport to all go home. Thankfully all of those flights went well and we had no problems. With the messed up "night of sleep" I took nice 2 hour unconsciousness on the floor at the office then got back to stuff.

As far as our area:

Pedro will be getting baptized this weekend! He is doing super well and we are excited for him! His sister is helping a ton given his reading problems.

Antonio/Ezmarelda + family will be waiting just a bit longer. We had trouble getting enough time to visit them enough last week to get them prepared but hopefully next week our schedule and their work schedules will work out better.

All for now! Until next week,

---Elder Howell

Monday, September 18, 2017

Another Week Complete

Well.... kind of like last week it has been another week here. We had a rough start to our week with a missionary going home for family things but the rest of the week was very calm.

I had a mountain of paper work to get done this week... and about 8 months of backlogged print outs, contracts, payments, bank documents and so forth to file away..... As you can assume it was extremely fun and entertaining!
I get asked a lot:

1. Do you even do missionary work?
2. What is your normal day like?
3. What's going on with your investigators-if you have any

Here are the answers:

1. We try to split working in our area (finding, teaching, reactivating) after 17:00 or 18:00 each day. That gives us 4-5 hours in the office to handle the logistics of the mission and 3-4 hours to handle our area. So yes, we do "missionary work". But we also do the "behind the scenes" stuff so that the other 96 missionaries get to their areas, have a house, water, gas, energy, items and supplies to work without worrying about all of that.

2. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA normal day. That's funny. We never have 2 of the same day. I work mostly with finances: finding/vacating houses, repairs, dealing with house owners, doing anything with money for missionaries or the Mission President and I do all the medical, running a "missionary taxi service" of moving everyone around to where they need to be. My companion does the logistics (flights, schedules, record keeping of baptisms, numbers and so on)

3. Our main focus is on those who progress really well because we have about half (or less) time in the area than the normal Elders. Our main focus is Antonio and Ezmarelda (the couple who just got married) and a jovem (young man) named Pedro. We are working to get the couple, their three kids and Pedro ready for baptism on the 30th of September. We plan on using the mission offices pool. The only issue is making sure they are solid before we baptize them. They all have been coming to church for months but we want to really make sure they are ready. I will give updates on them each week.

Hopefully that answers the general questions. I enjoy your emails and such each week!

Love you all,

Elder Howell

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekly Email

Well, my P-Day is kinda over, so this email will have to be really quick today (an email was sent to my Mum, the most important weekly email sent).

This week the real highlight was the wedding of Antonio and Esmeralda. If you flip through the photos they both kind of looked like they hate their lives during the wedding.... It was super hot, crowded but the choir was super awesome. Thankfully they both really cheered up once we got to the house party. The music once again was super African, loud, and upbeat. The food was pretty typical but the atmosphere was awesome. The strangest part of the wedding was the cake though.... Once the newlyweds fed each other they then went around feeding every single person... Well over 100 people.... It was strange and the fork contamination was insane, but when you are there you just kinda have to eat the cake.

Now that they are married things will keep moving along well for them. They are marked for bapitism (and 3 of their kids of age) for here in 2 weeks. We are trying really hard to get out and work with our people these weeks. We are hoping that the work pays off for them and a few other people in the coming weeks!

Today for P-Day we got to do something awesome.... SAFARI!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to be one of the drivers which was super fun. We had a guide leading us all around this massive reserve to find giraffes, elephants (one kinda almost ran over my car, that would have ruined all the fun), hippos, monkeys and a bunch of other animals whose names I didn't know in English let alone Portuguese. It was a blast! Like 11 hours of driving to, around and back but super super worth it! All the photos are in the Drive!

Love all of you people,

Elder Howell

Monday, September 4, 2017

Weekly Email

Well........... This week has been just another week here. It is super hard to write an interesting email about a week that feels exactly like the last week... I will just go over the highlights:

1. We did another South Africa journey.... It really does make logical/economical sense. Its not just for the McDonald's (I have decided to not eat there again. It just isn't worth the nasty feeling after eating it. Its all about the flavorless xima for me these days!). We got all the purchases we needed to done and even got a few references for the Elders in South Africa--Who we ran into at McDonald's which was super awkward for everyone.

2. We had Zone Conferences this week. I gave training on the missions finances and such which is always fun to just talk about money and use a super boring looking PowerPoint hoping that people just kinda fall asleep and let you move on.... Thankfully it went well overall and I had prepped well enough to have numbers to back me up on the changes we are making.

3. We are teaching people. I know everyone thinks that we are just sitting at computers all day (slightly true) but we do actually go out and teach people. We inherited several super cool people from the Sisters when they switched areas. We are working with a couple and their kids. They are getting married this weekend and if all goes well baptized the following weekend! That means I have something to take photos of! It was super nice to get back to teaching people. I enjoy the change of working in the mission office, but teaching people has its own special  "vibe" to it here in Mozambique.

That's pretty much it! I hope all of you have a nice "hot and humid" week!

Elder Howell

PS: In the picture it was a bad hair day for me, a tired day for the parents, and a "do we really have to quietly sit around again while those white guys talk" thing for the kids. Awesome family though.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Weekly Email (Just 1 Day Late)

 Hello everyone. Sorry for the late email. Someone thought that it was a good idea to put a Zone Conference on a P-Day (I hear that everyone's moms were freaking out, mine just angrily sent me memes :) Love you Mum!) Thats why this email is being sent on a Tuesday and not the usual Monday email.

 This last week was a bit interesting. On Monday I went to a "zoo".... Pretty much they just had 2 massively obese crocodiles and monkeys. The monkeys would do tricks to get cookies though which was super fun. We were going to feed a live chicken to said obese crocodiles but they ran out :( Overall it was fun to just run around and see stuff.

On Tuesday I woke up early and over packed a car with people and supplies to then drive 6-7 hours up to a city called Maxixe. It was a pretty nice drive, good roads, "no speed limits" (or so I told myself!) and I only got pulled over a half a dozen times! The 3 Elders in the back pretty much slept through the drive and my mission president slept for a good chunk of it too so it was some nice thinking time while driving in the middle of no where.

I slept on a little "mattress" on the ground in the house in Maxixe that night, woke up early again (Which I despise) to drive again, this time with just 1 other Elder and the mission president..... It was nice for the first 2 hours... Then the "road" turned into more holes than pavement and it was a nightmare. I went from 120's (or like 145...) to going 25 kph..... On the shoulder of the road.... On the wrong side..... It was a painfully long next 8 or 9 hours. We hit occasional patches of nice road but overall it was awful. I don't plan to make that drive again!

 We finally made it to Beira that following day and we ate dinner then dropped off the Elder. I crashed and just slept until doing house inspections that day in Beira. I went on a "division" with a member up there to run between all the houses looking for all the broken/missing stuff. It was cool to see Beira finally and nice to get an idea for all the houses. I had some time to get some more capulanas.... I might have a problem with collecting them but they had so many new cool ones (plus I plan to get stuff made, so its worth it). That night we flew back. I am so glad, I would have died driving another 17 hours. We also somehow ended up in 1st Class which was super nice.

As far as "classic weekly missionary stuff" you probably came here to find in this:

 1. We had 11 people at church.... We need to get working with them, its been crazy in the office recently. But we have been getting lots of help from other missionaries.
2. We found out 2 of the awesome people in the English Group aren't members but one has been going for almost 2 years! Everyone thought he was a member, so we will  be teaching him soon!
 3. We had dinner with the Fox Family and Brother Root which was super fun.
4. We will hopefully be getting to our area a lot this week now that stuff is "calming down", which means time to go really teach people!

 Thanks for the love as always!

 Elder Howell


Monday, August 21, 2017

Weekly Email.... First week alone


This has been the first week without Elder Sharpe really here to help me...... It has been interesting but the mission hasn't burnt down, gone broke and I haven't been excommunicated! Elder Skraba and I are counting that as a total win! We finally got everyone moved around to their areas and got all the new guys through immigration and the US embassy. It has all pretty much worked out.

We still have 3 Elders out of place here (2 new Elders and 1 Old one) that we will be driving up to Maxixe and to Beira tomorrow. It will be like 16 hours of driving.... I plan to try and do most of it given the..... well, lack of practice by the others..... Hopefully all will go well and we will get some good work done while up in Beira!

This week was Stake Conference which was interesting. I started off in the overflow tent outside the actual chapel but we were pulled into the meeting house to translate for the English Group members. It was a serious mental strain for each of us because the speakers talked so fast but it was actually a really cool experience to do. Thankfully that went well and I got to see several members from my old areas and chat with them about how things have been going. Its nice to see that several recent converts are still doing well.

Love all of you, I hear that my letters that I tried sending in January finally started arriving..... That is kinda Africa's fault, kinda some lazy Elders who used to be here. But in the end it all worked out.

Thanks for your support!

Elder Howell

Monday, August 14, 2017

Super Fast Weekly Email

Okay, it was transfers here in Mozambique. Elder Sharpe's parents came to pick him up on Saturday morning.... That was interesting. Its strange to see an Elder with his parents. Kinda hard to see for everyone who has to wait a year to see theirs. With the pick up,  now my comp is Elder Skraba (19 from Curitiba Brazil) who was in a tripla with Elder Sharpe and I last transfer... We didn't get anyone else in the office so now we are just trying to run the show here.... It will be interesting. He is from my group so we go home at the same time. He speaks pretty much perfect English thanks to watching movies before his mission. Hopefully a native speaking companion helps with my accent and vocabulary in Portuguese. I will pretty much just stay doing finances and he will do the other side of things.

With the insane preparations for transfers and moving everyone around we didn't get much teaching done during the week. We did however have lots of people at church thanks to us inheriting the Sisters old area (they were transferred to Beira). We have a few people who are progressing and hopefully keep doing so. We have plans to get lots done this transfer in our area and in the office.

I have lots of places to visit to inspect houses in the next few weeks so things will be pretty hectic, but it should be exciting!

Love all of you!

Elder Howell