Friday, April 28, 2017

Photos and Videos

This link should allow you to look at all of Elder Howell's pictures and videos!   You may have to copy and paste it in the address bar:

There are a few great videos that he recently did that show where he lives and the progress of his garden.  You may have to copy and paste it in the address bar.

Monday, April 24, 2017

250 Days on the Mission

This week was a week that started with this crazy nice food place with Elder Combs and my old comps. It was super nice. It felt like I was back in the US for a few hours. But then back to work in Mahotas.

Our area is super sandy, but we get lots done here. Everyone asked about the garden and my house so we took a quick video of it all, its on the Google Drive.

We have two people with baptisms coming up here soon: Fredy and Bia. I am still saving Bia's story. I will share it next week after her baptism this week.

Fredy: He is the pinnacle of what I always tell Elder Combs *super super sarcastically* "Man! Missionary work is SOOOO hard here". That means that things are stupid easy for us sometimes, most of the time.... He came up to us at church and says "Hey, I am pretty much a member here and I want to actually be baptized can you come and teach me the Gospel?". We asked for his number and when we could sit with him, we visited him that day... He has his baptism marked on the 13th of next month.

We have almost a person a day come up to us and ask "Why are you here?", "Can you come visit with me and my family" and "WHAT?! YOU EAT BREAD". All of these pretty much happen daily to which we confirm all of them and keep going to the next.

We also have lots of new people we are teaching along with lots of "eternals". I think next week I wont upload a video but just explain a quick story of each person we had come to church that week.

Love all of you!

Elder Howell

This is one of our garbage holes.  We dig a hole, burn the garbage and bury it.  No garbage pick up trucks in MOZ.  

Celebrating Elder Combs birthday at the nicest restaurant in all of Mozambique.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Transfer 6: My first Kill

The biggest thing of the week for sure is that Pedro, Tiago and João were split up. I finally, almost 5 weeks later, have a companion of my own: Elder Combs. He is from Colorado, 20 and this is his last transfer.... Which means I will "kill him off" here in 4 weeks and 6 days, but who's counting (hahaha he and Elder Evangelista because that's when their 2 years is complete). Thankfully Elder Combs is a hard worker which will help our area come back to life. He used to be the "Assistente" and is now working with me near the dump. Its like the General Conference talk about the man going from planning the big event to being the poop scooper. He is enjoying having all day to be in an area though.

Easter here was pretty big, sadly once again mainly focused on drinking. "Good Friday" is almost a bigger deal. Lots of people don't eat bread or meat that day. "Palm Sunday" people literally walked around with palm leaves which was interesting. We had lots of lessons to go and teach about the Resurrection though which was good. Normally you can just show up and 80% of people will offer you chairs-even if they are too busy.... But this last week was probably 95%. It was a good week for finding/teaching new people and for tying to help "eternals" (investigators who keep "investigating for years without getting baptized-usually because of marriage difficulty).

Bia. Oh Bia. I am excited to share her story but want to once its more fully finished. She missed her interview so we had to push back the her baptism to the 29th. Thankfully she is doing really well and the extra time is nice to fortify what she knows.

We had a few old investigators call us this week asking for visits because they missed us--awwwwhhhh-- Of course we went, hopefully they understood the kindly put "flaming". Hopefully it was a good "purifying" week for many people.

Lots of people ask me about the garden. I think I will take a quick video this week to show it off more fully (because everyone wants videos).

I hope everyone had a good week. Like we kept telling all our people this week: The point of life isn't to get comfortable in what you're doing or where you are but to keep improving.

Thanks for the love you all show me
Elder Howell

PS: I had "frango zambiano style" chicken this week in a crock pot (big no no, culturally frowned on, ssshhhhh don't tell) and it was super good. I will have to cook it for people when I return. Do an all out Mozambican meal with xima and chicken sitting on concrete blocks.

This crazy kid that pretty much only speaks dialects... We took a video with him but he pushed the button twice so it didn't record :( I will try again this week probably.

This. This food. STUPID expensive. NEVER again but dang it was good. Prawns and squid. Both were incredible. 

This was a plate made by a member for us... Rice with peanut sauce, boiled peanuts and leaves.... Not bad actually.

The mission presidents wife surprised us with these pictures from an Easter Luncheon at the mission home on Easter Sunday.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

This week was a bit hectic. We did in fact have General Conference this week. The Saturday Morning session was SUPER hard to understand though, the afternoon got a bit less difficult but Sundays were all good. They have a different translator for each speaker and some have much much "thicker" Brazilian accents than others. I look forward to reading it in English in a month or so. Its a bit difficult to untranslate back to English from Portuguese you lose stuff.

This week we found that bolieas are 100% dependant on obedience to shaving. I have become very careful on my shaving now and the boleias are just flowing in from the police giving us rides to the massive dump trucks (they are the coolest and always give us rides). One boleia we hop in, get going, do our normal small talk and the guy goes "Do you believe in the Bible, if so open to Joao". With that we start a 15 minute Bible "Discussion" over the end of the world... It was an interesting ride and something that happens pretty often actually.

Elder Evangelista has been talking to our investigators with some "fire" recently to really get people paying attention. The idea is that "There is fire that burns and fire that purifies. Its the same flame for both, the burn or purification depends on the material". We went through several people to burn away what was needed and purify the rest. That has helped us a lot.

On the topic of fire, we did a service project this week. We cleaned up a crime scene.

No real stories of investigators. Bia is still doing well but we had some things to handle this week and didn't get to do too many visits. Hopefully this week will be productive with a new companion.

Thanks for the emails and support!

Elder Howell

PS: Happy Birthday (2 days late, I know) to my favorite DC missionaria.

Monday, April 3, 2017

This week was another in the tripla so once again split time between the areas. This week was a collection of random events and jokes that I will try to explain.

First off, no idea how I haven't mentioned this. At least 5 times a day people ask us `Why are all your names Elder?´.... This blows my mind. But each time we have to explain its a title not our first name. ´Its like doctor, officer, teacher, not our name but a title´.

We helped Sarita and Movany´s mom cook for her birthday party on Saturday. We made chamussa (fried triangles with fish stuff inside) for like 3 hours... It took forever but it was good chatting time to befriend the family. We also made my moms cookie recipe. They were horrified by the amount of butter and sugar. Merica! At one point mission rules came up, which lead to that we don't date or marry here. We got asked ´What do you do if a woman tries to date or kiss you?´. Elder Evangelista responded ´Like Joseph of the bible, we run´. They thought that was hilarious, and so did I.

Due to General Conference and the lack of a person to interview her we have to wait until the 29th for Bia to get baptized but we are excited still.

Last interesting note, people here often include in their prayers ´Thank you for one more day of life´. Or ´Thank you for the shade we have and the nice breeze´. These simple things just show the humility and simplicity of life here. I really enjoy that aspect.

Until next week!

Elder Howell