Monday, May 29, 2017

Transfer 7 Week 1

Well, I am now in my new area... Back in the Matola Zone. I am actually doing internet at the first computer I ever used in Mozambique back in September. Very strange. It is nice to be in a good functioning ward again though.

My companion is Elder Francis, from Provo Utah. He is 21 and super awesome. This transfer should be a party for sure (with lots and lots of work). We live with Elder Johnson and Elder Lima (From Washington and Brazil). It is a very fun house, crapy house but fun people anyway. We locked ourselves out last night and Elder Francis and I climbed to the roof then figured out how to get a rod through a window to pop the door open.... I guess we should figure out how to not let it be that easy for a burglar.

This week I only got 3 real days in my new area because I was on divisions (exchanges?) with Elder Johnson then Elder Lima to do interviews. They had 4 baptisms on Saturday. It was strange to see a real baptisimal font but super nice.

My new area is called Mozal A. We live in Matola about a 15 minute walk from the chapel. That is nice but our area is pretty dang far way. Sometimes it takes well over an hour to get there but we have some fun people that we are teaching.

Thats pretty much it for this week. Some fun photos on the drive. Hopefully next week I have some fun stories of investigators to share!

Elder Howell

Monday, May 22, 2017


This week has been a bit strange. Elder Combs was picked up Friday morning to be taken to the office, then today he flew away. That is super strange to see your companion who you have been with for 6 weeks straight suddenly leave to never come back.

We spent our week saying goodbye's to all of the members and investigators. That was a little bit bitter sweet (mainly due to the food being very bitter--smashed up pumpkin leaves on xima....rotten leaves over wet soggy Styrofoam).... But the people were very sweet to us! Thankfully we only had 2 meals with people, the first was rough because it was mainly soggy xima, but the second with Izidro and his family was great.

I will be switching areas today back to the Matola Zone (yes, were I started) but this time to Mozal. My companion will be Elder Francis. He is a few transfers younger than me on the mission and it should push me to speak a lot which is good.

Lots of photos on the Google Drive from my goodbyes and food!

Love you all,

Elder Howell

Monday, May 15, 2017

Skype Week

I am going to use the fact that I got to Skype home for Mother's Day as an excuse to not write much this week (its actually because this keyboard is terrible and not much happened). Skype was super nice though, its strange to see that the world at home moves on even when you are on the other side of the world.

Things here are going.... Well, they are going. Thankfully things should be switching around here soon with Elder Combs leaving and my current zone gettting some changes too. But, we still have lots of fun people to visit this week.

There aren't any crazy or fun stories from this week, but I got lots of photos with recent converts and members this week. We also were fed strange (but really good) sweet potato thingies, chamussa (fried fish triangle thingies) and sugar cane. Love me some sugar cane chewing. Plus my "African father (Edson)" or father of my shadow, got married this week! Congrats to him.

 Sarita, Elder Howell, Camilia, and Ofelia

  Mocas-  Sarita(shorter), Camilia(taller) and Elder Howell

 Movany (Saritas brother) and Elder Howell

  "African parents" He said "MY SUUUN, you have a mother now".

 The little kids love to play with my arm hair and watch. 

 Elder Combs trying fresh sugar cane.

 Fresh sugar cane is SO good.

Sweet potato thingy


Mother's Day Skype was awesome!  

 Bea and Elder Howell

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Cheese Grater to the Face"

This week was very calm. Nothing really special or exciting this week in terms of crazy things happening to us or even the people we teach. It is Elder Combs' second to last week this week. This transfer is deemed the "Cheese Grater to the Face" transfer by some missionaries here. We are working hard but things aren't going as well as we had hoped. Bea might be the last great thing to happen in this area. Areas tend to go through cycles of things happening or things "dying". This area with the baptism of Bea has kind of died. It sounds like next transfer it will close for a few months then reopen. That "Turn it off then on again" method works wonders here.

On the topic of death, I have no idea what happened to the "dead man who was actually alive" last week... Our neighbor said nothing about what happened. Though or next door neighbor died last week. Massive week long without stop funeral.... So, if he had died we would have heard. Thankfully no pretty much dead person was in our "lawn" today. Speaking of lawn, Grandma rakes the sand out front of our house for us... Everyone does that here... Except us, so she does it. I find it super funny, but it "makes things look nice"...

That's it for the week because I want stuff to talk about on Skype this week. Thanks everyone for your love and support as always!

Elder Howell

PS: Have you ever wondered what drinking sugar would be like? Well this week I found a guy who juices sugar canes (with a little lemon)... It was amazing.

They rake the sand here.

Sugar cane juice with lemon.  Yum. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Birth and Death

This week has been a very interesting week  for 3 main reasons.

*Side Note* To see all photos I take use this link, I try to update it weekly:

1.       We did “District Boleia Day” on Thursday this week. This meant we marked 0 lessons  for the afternoon and just did studies in the morning, a lesson and lunch. Then we headed out like a normal day but  we just started catching boleia after boleia for 4 straight hours. From “The Rutunda de Maganine”(giant round about) to “The Lixeira” (dump) to “Esspresso” (city) to “Costa De Sol” (the beach). We did this route back and forth chatting up/inviting everyone to have visits with us or if it seemed better to invite them to our English class. Oh, we do English class here now too. 25+ people in basics and advanced class each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday show up.

2.       Like the Subject/Title says: Birth and Death, lets start with death though.  We woke up to find a dead guy outside our house…. Pouring rain, guy face down in the mud. I go to check on him and my Mozambican Grandma comes out and yells at me “Don’t touch him! I think he is dead! If you touch him you are the ‘first at the scene’ and the police will make you stand around all day”. This makes me pause, then I go inside to ask the others what to do. I return to find another man trying to pick him up. He yells at me for help and I run over. Turns out dead man wasn’t totally dead. Barely breathing but alive. We sat this mud covered man up and he started to shake crazily. He clearly had been drinking and passed out-HARD- the night before and been unconscious face down in the mud all night. We tried talking to him but he couldn’t open his eyes or speak, just breath and shake. We propped him on a wall and I went to get help. I came back with Elder Nielsen to find a stranger and his wife trying to wrap the man in capalana to warm him up. Attempts to give him some heated slug stuff failed. Finally more neighbors showed up and we found someone to guide us to the “Chefe de Bairro” (head over the neighborhood) house. We brought her back to find the small crowd trying to warm him up but he was in the same state. Elder Nielsen and I started planning to hire a chapela to take us to a hospital with the man but then everyone freaked out. “EIGHT! HE WROTE AND EIGHT! This unable to talk, shaking half unconscious man just drew an 8 in the mud! What?! Everyone starts encouraging the guy to keep going, "FOUR THAT'S A FOUR!" (numbers start with 82,84 or 86 here usually). After another few painfully slow but exciting minutes he writes out a phone number. We call it.... Not answered :( We try again on my phone, answers but starts yelling at me in Xanganha, so I pass the phone to the Chefe and they dialect talk. Grandpa translates it to Portuguese for me that its his aunt who lives kind of close. They start running over to pick him up. I then had to leave and hope to get an update here in a few hours from Grandma or Grandpa on what happened overall, we just hope he made it! There is the death (or close to it) part of the week!

3.       BEA! This week Bea (formerly spelt Bia by accident) got baptized! This is the first baptism that I have really felt a solid connection to. Elder Nunes and I were invited to teach her by a member last transfer, at the time, the worst reference I have received. She had no interest in listening to us (hearing our words, okay, but listening no), she couldn’t even properly read the cover of the Book of Mormon, she wouldn’t speak (grunts for yes and no was it), wasn’t dressed well (even given standards here and wouldn’t try to pray and was always just sad. It was SOO frustrating, but we just kept showing up because she was close to our house and it worked well for an “easy stop by” because she didn’t work. We deemed her “Inanimate Object” as the member who she lived with called it. We finally decided that it wasn’t even worth swing by lessons to teach her but felt bad just dropping her, so we did one final invite to church. That next Sunday she showed up at church, dressed a bit, “Bea like” even for standards here but we were happy she showed up because the member half dragged her there. Then the train wreck of talks began: Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom talks given SUPER bluntly. We died inside thinking she would never sit with us again. But we stopped by the next day and she just broke down crying. After a very awkward 5 minutes she expressed her love for Sunday, the talks and the people who welcomed her. We were blown away by her just talking let alone what she was saying. She opened up about some serious hardships in her life, death of a friend because of an abortion, personal struggles and having been kicked out by her family months ago because of her struggles. All of which lead her to be totally open to the messages in the talks on Sunday. That was an emotional night for everyone involved. The complete 180 degree change had been made. She started praying, reading, coming to church weekly and keeping commitments.  This week she happily showed up to her baptism. She even got in contact with her mother and cousins and got them to show up to the baptism. Never have I seen someone changed, happier to be baptized and start over her life. She WAS the sad, mad, non-talking “Inanimate Object” now she is happy, kind, open, reading, changed Bea back in contact with her family and moved back in with them this weekend. The change was crazy.

That was my week. Thanks for the emails and letters and love everyone!

Elder Howell

Elder Combs, Bea and Elder Howell on baptism day

The baptismal font.

Mahotas baptisms April 29, 2017