Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 64 - Skype on Christmas Day

Hey pops :) I was looking at the pictures I took of you and mom yesterday, and you two look so great! You don't really look like you've aged, or more wrinkles, just more gray on the both of you ;) It was great to talk to you guys, even though I had no idea what I wanted to talk about.

Today (P-day) we played soccer and went to eat peruvian food, dropped something off at President's house, and now we´re here writing.

And today President is having a open house and we're brining three recent converts. Then just office work, a leadership council on Wednesday, then I don't know what's up the rest of the week other than office work.

(I asked Brad about New Years celebrations in Bolivia and this was his response) And this country revolves around alcohol. Every possible day they drink, and you'll see the effects. Like people's faces are just torn up and stuff, it's sad.

Here is a short video clip of our call, right at the beginning.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 63 - Merry Christmas!

My week was really good, but it looks like your week was better ;)  Today, I went to play indoor volleyball, then Elder Padilla and I went to visit my old pensionista in Colón, and we went to visit Williams and Deysi (Brad's converts in his last area)... Deysi wasn't there, and Williams was totally drunk. That was pretty dang heartbreaking. He remembered who I was, said he knows he shouldn't be doing it, but he said it's easy to walk until there's obstacles. Well, it's a no brainer, but we only gave him encouragement, then we left, you can't teach someone who isn't sober. That is awesome what the ward did, let's do it again next year (our ward did a Christmas Service Project to feed 100 refugee families as well as some other things for people in need in the valley). That's awesome, Max beat cancer!

About Williams It really stinks, seriously. But I think little by little he will be better. The problem is the ward. Colon is such an inactive ward, all the people I worked with and brought to church aren't active anymore because the people in the ward don't fight for them. It's sad. But one day they'll have to "rendir cuentas", I think the translation is they'll have to acknowledge what they did or didn't do.

I love you all, have a Merry Christmas!

Elder Howells

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Week 62

My week was good! My comp is great. We had some good lessons and I am happy with last week! I want time to start picking up more for a little bit. December is passing by pretty slow, I don't know why. We had an awesome Zone Conference with Pres. and it was great! President and the Assistants are such great guys!

Christmas is such an amazing time of the year, but trunky too... Yesterday and Saturday were good teaching days! I thoroughly enjoyed them! We talked to some great people and knew some great people, too. Today we went to the cancha, then we went and got some sketchy burritos, and now we're here (Mission Office)!  (Hopefully the sketchy burritos weren't a mistake)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Week 61 - Transfers and a new companion

We didn't hear from Brad until Wednesday this week because of transfers.  Being in the office means that he is quite busy during transfers, he takes people to and from the airport.

How are you? :) I am good. The new people came in, the old people left, the transfers are done, and now we can breathe! ;) I did not get moved, but I got a new companion from Spain named Elder Padilla, he speaks great English, like a British guy... I suppose I´ll have to get that turned around here pretty quick. Lol.

Elder Tatum (previous companion) switched secretary positions, and wards, and companionships. Elder Coronado literally comes up to me and pulls my ears, he's hilarious. He is now Elder Tatum's comp! Elder Jorgenson will go to Potosi as a ZL, so that's great! Elder Tatum will finish his mission in the offices (In February) with 5 transfers here, poor guy. Pres. said that I probably only have one more transfer in the offices, thank goodness! Elder Moss (From Tupiza, you remember him?) (He was a trainer when Brad was a greenie in the same area) is the new assistant, which is awesome!

Today we were in Pres.'s house while the new missionaries received their trainers, we presented ourselves, helped serve the food and clean up and get everyone in taxi's and to their areas, and now we're here (The office to email)! On Friday we have a zone conference/christmas devotional, which we be cool!

Love you all, have a great week!

Brad at the airport during transfer.  The lady in red (Maria) sent me the picture
She loves Brad

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Week 60 - The Airport and Star Wars

We just got back from President's house; he gave us snickerdoodles! The Elder Falabella zone conference and leadership council were awesome. He probably helped the mission out a lot, but you wont see the fruits of his teachings for probably 3 months. Then they oughtta show. He taught us to find more King Lamoni's, and all that came with that conversion - Ammon didn't straight out shoot to convert the other shepherd servants of the king, rather, he knew who he wanted to get, and how he was going to get him. He served, he was patient, he was long suffering, and humble. Then, when the opportunity arrived, he went for the dad. Not the mom, the kids or the uncle, but the dad. Everything starts with the head. And then to convert our converts into missionaries - whether they be ward missionaries, free hand mercenary missionaries, or straight full time missionaries. Just like Lamoni, his wife, kids, servants, Ammon himself, a convert converted to a missionary. Ammon, as the first convert, spread the word because he wanted to, then Lamoni's wife, then Lamoni, and soon, everyone who heard the Gospel. It was a really cool conference. I still say that President Hansen is my favorite, though. Haha. 

Today we did a service for a gal who is blind, and her helper is deaf. They are both just sweethearts, and I want to learn sign language now. That would be so cool. Then we got changed, went to lunch, and then we went and picked up the packages, took some stuff to President's house, and now we are here in the offices to stay for a while!

This week should be pretty low key until Saturday, when the transfers are made and the transfer preparation begin. That'll be crazy. I'll get to go to the airport like 15 times, which is cool, because I feel like I enter the Star Wars world when I go there. I know, I'm a nerd, don't remind me ;)

I love you all, I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

Love, Elder Howells

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 59 - Thanksgiving

This week was much better! I have a bunch of pictures uploading to dropbox right now so you can see what we did today! Anyway, on Saturday I baptized a kid named Abnel, who was an investigator of the sister missionaries in our ward. I also did his baptismal interview, and one other this week. And I have one more on Wednesday for Elder Crosby (Brad's MTC Companion) and his comp, so that's cool! We went on splits on Sunday so we could visit more people, I enjoyed that. Oh, that kid who got baptized, he showed up 2 hours late to his own baptism like it was nothing. We were all wigging out. I thought the sisters were going to hurt him, lol.  I threw up again on Thursday, which sucked, but I felt a lot better afterwards.  Last year we saw Elder Godoy of the 70 for Thanksgiving time, if I remember right. This week, no, the first days of next week Elder Falabella is coming to the mission. We will have zone conferences, and he will host a Leadership Council, and I'll be able to be there, which is going to be so awesome. Pres. Hansen already does such a good job, I can't imagine it with a General Authority. Elder Bednar came to the mission last last October while I was in the MTC, and he also did the Leadership Council. I can't wrap my mind around how that was. #scary. This year, I don't think we'll be doing anything for Thanksgiving. Unless Pres. takes us out to eat, which is possible.  And the place we went to for pday today is called incachaka, like the rainforest. That's the first time I've been to a jungle. So many mosquitos I think one time is enough ;)

I hope you all have a great week!


Elder Howells

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Week 58 - Sick

The entire Bolivian population thinks that World War III will happen because Ol'Donald is in office. They say they'll never get to the States, that he'll send fire to Bolivia. It's hilarious. They all wanted Hillary.  Today was a good day, yesterday wasn't. I was kinda sick. A lot sick.  So, I've had better ;) I am good right now, just a little weak, so I'm taking it easy. That 24 hour sickness just drained the life out of me, I could barely talk. I wanted to be taken out back and put out of my misery.  I couldn't even drink or eat anything yesterday. I would try to drink like an inch of water and I threw up 3 times. And yeah, I am taking it way easy. I ate a taco on the corner, I think that's what did it. I'm not doing that again, lol. The Bolivian people are pretty anti-American, which stinks. They don't have a clue how much better it is up north. And I think, well, I hope my investigators are good. I really couldn't tell you, which isn't good. We had a couple of lessons on Saturday, which was nice. But nothing too much. It's a bummer. But, this week oughta be better.

In two weeks Elder Falabella will come do a mission tour, which will be sweet. Me and my comp have to translate 2 of his talks to distribute to the mission. So that'll be cool.

I hope you all have a great week.


Elder Howells

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 57

Today was a good day, we went and played indoor volleyball, went to a buffet, and now we're here at the mission offices emailing. We had 5 investigators come to church, which was awesome. A good week. I tried learning Portugese, but I stopped. Spanish and Quechua first, lol. Welp, President just called us about a minute ago and told us that someone is going home.... Sometimes I hate the offices. It's hard to hear stuff like this. This week shouldn't be anything crazy. No councils, no meetings out of the ordinary, all good :) Just regular office work.

And my scripture this week would be Alma 26:35 - Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

I love this scripture, Ammon is talking to his brothers and his brethren.

I love you all; have a great week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Week 56 - Transfers

This week was awesome!!! It was transfer week, AND we got to have 9 lessons! So sweet. That's more lessons than we've had in any of the other 7 weeks. In Colón we would have like 35-40 easy in a week. So, 9 lessons is awesome. :) The investigators are well, but we are still trying to get a chance to surprise chat their dad. A work in progress. Today we had the SCARE BOWL. The majority of the gringos got together and we had a football game. I had two touchdowns and a pick, with some dancing that was not before know of me. I'm impressed with myself.

(I asked Brad if he was dressing up for Halloween :) and if he drives a car at all now that he's in the office) And no, I am in p day clothes if that counts. Lol. And no, the only people who drive in the mission is president and his wife, nobody else. I told president that I would drive for him, but he said no thanks with a laugh. So, that got shot down.  The fastest anyone goes, literally, would probably be less than 40 miles per hour. You literally can not go faster, the roads and the culture don't allow it. That's why it takes 18 hours to get to Tupiza, not 5 like it would back home. And they have copied halloween a little bit, they call it todos santos. It means "all saints". The South American culture is so Catholic, they worship saints a lot, so much so that they dance, drink, have week long festivals, worship, pray to the saints. And Bolivia is one of the heavier countries in that respect. So their halloween revolves around "all the saints".

I love you all!

Have a great week and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Week 55 - No P-day this week

Monday's Email:

Hi, how are all of you? :)

Alright, so yesterday were the transfers, 14 people are going home and 22 new guys are coming... President and Sister Hansen have told us that we don't have P Day today (we have been working in the office all morning), but we will be able to make a half p-day during the week. So I am just sending you guys this email to let you know that I wont be able to write back today, but I think on Thursday I will be there! I love you guys all so much! You are the best and I don't know what I would do without each and every one of you guys :) :) Stay tuned, I will write like a robber in the night when it becomes possible, so be prepared. I love you guys so much,

Elder Howells

Thursday's Email:

How are you? Happy P-day ;)
I have been crazy busy. But now, the transfers are all over! In my district are Elder Crosby (Brad's CCM Companion), his new comp who he just started to train, and Hermana King, and her new comp who she just started to train. I'm a dad twice now. Lol. My investigators are really good, but we haven't been able to talk to their dad, which stinks, so they still aren't on track because we can't get the dad's permission. I hope you've had an awesome week up till now! 

I love you!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 54 - Deotero

Hey pops, how are you? :) I have had an awesome week, full of good things. We also had some great lessons yesterday. Here's a sad story - during the first session on Sunday Morning, a gal in our ward came to us and told her that her brother was in the hospital and that he was dying, so she asked us to give him a blessing. We went, Elder Coronado annointed, I sealed and blessed, and I felt no reason, no prompting to say, be healed, I just felt that he needed peace as he painfully was slipping into the Spirit World. So, that is what I blessed him with. Yesterday, the same Sister came to us, and asked us to visit her brother again. We went, and he was in a bad way. His son, my age, was worried to death, trying everything to keep his Dad awake, gentely carresing his face and fanning him to keep him cool, without tiring. The dad asked us what he needed to do to be okay. We taught him about repentance. He thought about it while suffering failing lungs and heart and the associated side effects, and we helped him find peace with his questions. That was the worst, but at the same time the best experience of my mission. To see someone, someone who was haunted by his past, about to enter the next life, scared to death. To see the sweet fruits of the repentance that he was attempting, helping him understand that the Grace of Christ will cover him, after all that he could first do. Then, to leave, knowing that I won't see him alive again, was hard, but at the same time rewarding. He was trembling with pain, his body was spasming due to the organ failure, and his family emotionally heartbroken. However, that one visit taught me more life lessons that I could've hoped for. We have to live our lives in a way so as to be at peace in these moments of trial. Stand in holy places, choose the right, be just and fair to all, loving others, sharing testimonies, and doing all that is praiseworthy and of good report. If done, we will be able to slip into an eternal rest with faith and with hope, knowing that we've done our best, repenting when needed, helping always, and having lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That visit, I have no doubt, was a blessing that the Lord had in store for me. The man's name was Deotero.

I planted 10 pumpkin plants in my front yard about a month ago, and they should grow pumpkins in the next month, so that's exciting. 

I love you all!  Have a great week.

Elder Howells

This family are members of the Colon Ward in Cochabamba

Brad and his companion

Brad's Pumpkin Patch!

Week 53

This week was quite trunky/home-longing, but still really good. We got a lot done. We had an excellent zone conference, got a bunch of office work done, and on Saturday and Sunday we were able to proselyte. Schweet. The weather is supposed to be heating up but it has been clowdy and rainy for most of the time. Today we played basketball (I played all time D), then we went to a Peruvian Restaurant in my old ward, and now I'm writing. The work is good, we have 2, maybe three investigators with a date for the 29th of October. Whoot whoot. It is true, field work is so much better than office work.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Week 52 - 1 Year Down!

Well, today was a good day, we played basketball. My D game is still strong, but my offensive game has taken a serious blow in this one year offseason I've had. So, I don't contribute a whole lot to my team, but I suppose A for effort. ;) 

I loved general conference! I think my favorite talk, or most powerful for me was by Elder Rasband. You can tell of the conviction of his words, and also by President Nelson, who spoke on joy. I am a believer in the primary scripture he shared, and I think if we could all keep that attitude, life wouldn't be the ¨burden¨ that we sometimes mistakenly take it to be. 

This week was good. I really enjoyed, a lot, lot, lot of work in the offices, a leadership council, and I had to give a powerpoint presentation in front of all of the zone leaders in the mission and the sister leaders (there are 30 of them), the assistants, and President and Sister Hansen. This was Thursday morning. So that was fun. lol. Then the conferences were a huge spiritual recharge that I needed. The offices, where there is almost no study time or proselyting time are not a very spiritual orienting place, but the conference was awesome and gave me what I needed. 

HUMP DAY BABY, BOOM (Hump Day is your one year mark). One hump down, one to go!

I love you all.  Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 51

This week was really good! We did some proselyting, well... as much as we could given the circumstances. And it rained, for like an hour, thank goodness. It's been cooler these days, which is weird... considering that summer is about to start. I think the four of us are going to stick together for conference. It should be cool, I am really really excited for conference. Elder Wren (Brad's second companion from Southern California) told me about the game (Utah vs. USC), I don't know how he knows, but I am thrilled. I even sang the fight song for my comps. ;) I miss this time of the year, I really do, I tell ya, I really do. A year ago tomorrow I gave my farewell talk... How do you feel about that.....?

Have an awesome week and enjoy General Conference, listen with your spiritual ears, and have the best week ever.

 Love, Elder Howells

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week 50 - The Office

My first week was good, stressful but good. I really do enjoy it, it's cool. My comp is the immigrations secretary and I am the records secretary. I'm responsible for all of the baptism records, references, english and spanish tests, listing and filing the names of all of the converts and rescue in the mission (like 300 people) up to now, and President has given me two projects. But I already finished one of them, thank goodness. This is probably my favorite area... the 4 secretaries live in a house, and we have so much fun. It's me, Elder Tatum (my comp) from California, Elder Jorgensen from Idaho, and Elder Coronado from Nicaragua. Those guys are awesome, I love my new job.

My new area is like two blocks from my old area.... But in another zone. The office lies in the Colón Ward limits. So I have not gone far. We have a couple of investigators. Tomorrow I don't think I'll leave the office. We will go to the temple way early in the morning, then after I give a district class, and then I have a lot and a lot and a lot of paperwork to do. But today we have a family home evening at 7:00 so we'll go to do that tonight!!

I love you all, have a great week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Week 49 - Transfer Time

I've been transfered as one of the four Secretaries of the Mission and I stay as a District Leader... My comp is named Elder Tatum, he is way tall and I think from California, a really good guy. Elder Coloma is receiving a Mexican companion who is really a stellar guy who should help Elder Coloma out a lot. The other secretaries pick me up tonight, we will live in another city, but we work in the Mission Offices, where you guys label the packages to send them. That's my building. I have my own computer and desk and chores. I have to pick up the new people that get here, help with their immigrations, log baptismal records, make the mission digital and not electronic, and all that jazz.

My last week with Elder Coloma was good, we worked as hard as his body would allow, we had good sucess, and I feel like I've left Colón in a better way than when I got here. I am 100% satisfied with my time here.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Week 48 - Good Friends

Here are some excerpts from Brad's email on Monday.
I have found that my patience with people has grown incredibly, but with inatimate objects, it has drastically shrunk. Our cellphone makes me wanna jump off a bridge sometimes. I get mad at doors, locks, pens, I'm a wreck. :)

Katherine and I are out of town on a photography workshop, hence the following comment and of course he is aware of a particular football game this weekend.  I'm not sure who told him :) Bolivia has some great photo elements, but also a lot of robbers, so, a win lose situation out here. I think the Utes should win, I'll pray for them.

My week was good, nothing too special. I made my comp have another interview with Pres., we worked hard this week, we did splits like 3 times, but it was worth it. We have a lot of new investigators that listen and read and all that, but they don't come to church. It's tough sometimes.

And this week we have a lot of appointments, a baptsimal interview this Wednesday for the assistants, and transfers next Sunday. Tomorrow is 11 months, a fat inch away from you folks, and time is flying. I am ready for a transfer, I wanna explore the country... ;)  Time goes by really fast, I'm serious. And this next transfer is one year and a little. That's crazy. That's when everyone really says that time really begins to fly by.  It's probable that I stay here, but then again, I could very well head out to Potosi or Sucre, Who knows? 

And my scripture this week is Mosiah 28:3. It really urges the members to help the missionaries with the work

Katherine asked Brad to share a spiritual experience.  This paragraph makes it all worth it....
I would say that while out here, in the humblest place in South America, sometimes it seems like the humblest place in the world, I have gained an understanding of really how and where the Savior walked. Especially after my time in Quiriza. To live there, you step out of our world, and back many centuries to a simpler life. Working hand in hand with the people taught me a greater lesson in humility and charity than I think I could've learned any place else, or in any other way. I have grown closer to God in these short 11 months than the 18 years previously, and I would not trade it for anything else in the world. Words can't express it, you just have to live it and love every minute of it, good or bad. And there really aren't any truly bad minutes.

This picture is of Brad and a good friend Steve Adamson who was in Cochabamba this week on business.  He knew Brad was there but had no idea where he was and Brad literally walked in front of Steve.  They had a nice chat and Steve gave he and his comp some money for a nice dinner.  We are so grateful to Steve, he has taken down packages for us and has been so kind to Brad.  I guess he doesn't hold anything against me for being his Jr. Jazz Coach :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Week 47 - Steady as she goes

I did a baptsimal interview this last week and I have to do another one this week. That is a really special moment for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it! This last week was slow, my comp had a couple sick days, and we had to really slow the pace down. Today we did a district activity (soccer) and then we went to a Mexican restaurant called Mexical, which is owned by Chileans, and it says Tex Mex on front. There's a lot of things that don't make sense here, hahaha.

Brad's answers to Katherine's questions:

1. Enos 1:27 - Just read it. When we feel worn and drained, all we need to think is that our rest is in the Lord, and that is where we need to turn when we have given it all we have and think we can´t anymore.
2. Best experience so far in the mission or in the week? You can't put a number on which was best or not!
3. 8 o'clock to 9. Personal study. It is a great time to really concentrate yourself and learn something else, to receive your own Spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the work. I love it.
4. The toughest moment I've experienced.... Probably when the stomach demons roll on in, then right on out. That makes the time pass painfully, literally, slow.
5. Hang on and be obedient and love your mission.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 46 - Keeping him on a mission

My week was good, but really long! Our investigators are good, one who is really doing well is named Wendi, she has a kid who is 14 years old. Today we played sand volleyball and we went to Luigi's! This week, proselyting took kind of a step back in an effort to keep my companion in a good state.  We still get to do work, but a lot slower and shorter hours, which is THE worst. But my comp is staying in the mission, which is the important thing! 

My scripture is Helaman 10:3-5

I love you all, have a great week! 

Elder Howells

Brad took this picture yesterday while emailing us.  The three people in the picture are 3 of Brad's 4 companions.  In the back is Elder Cortez, Brad's trainer (1st Companion) to the right (our right) Elder Infante (his last companion) and to the left Elder Coloma, his current companion.  Elders Cortez and Infante are from Peru and Elder Coloma is from Chile.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 45 - The Life of a Missionary

My week was great, almost! My comp had an emergency interview on Tuesday morning with President, which helped him for like a day. Then Thursday we had our regular 3 month interviews with President, which was great. I am a huge fan of my President. On Friday night in the middle of the street, after my comp tried to chew me out for being prideful, he threw his nametag and agenda and missionary handbook in the middle of the street, and screamed that he hates me and wants to go home, that was fun... Then I talked him out of it, and other than the fake illnessess which have been going on, our relationship has been good. Today we were with Hermana Maria, we watched Ephraim's Rescue, and now we're here! 

We had 3 investigators come to sacrament, which is awesome! One of them was a gal we contacted in the street a day before, and she came and stayed all three hours of church, which was amazing!

Mosiah 2:24, I believe, is my favorite scripture!

I hope you all have a great week! Love Elder Howells

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 44 - First District Class

My week was good! I gave my first district class, the assistents were also there, and I killed it!! They all told me I did a really good job. Williams and Deysi are really good! I love those guys, and we have put a date on a gal, the daughter in law of an active sister. We shall see how she comes along. Also, do you remember about the situation of the two people in Quiriza who I baptized because their records were lost? Yeah, that happened again to a member here, so we have to give her the chats and baptize her again, as well! What a pain for her.

My favorite scripture this week is Jacob 7:25, and when you read it, you'll find three points in it. Fortify, Trust, and come off conqueror. It is a really powerful scripture for me!

I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Howells

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 43 - New Companion

How are you doing?! I am great. You guys are always always in my thoughts and prayers! My week was excellent! We have people who are reading and praying, but so far, they have yet to come to church. But that's okay, some just need more time. But we worked very hard this week. We have had quite a few new people this week, we shall follow up soon! Elder Infante and I finished on a high note, thank goodness. He's a good guy, but I was ready for this transfer. I am going to recieve Elder Coloma from Chile. He was just with my trainer and now is coming with me. He is a very hard comp, from what I've heard. But we're going to be fine, I´m not worried! He is also from my group, he just has 4 weeks less because I had 6 weeks in the CCM and he had 2. They also made me DL, so we´ll see how that goes. I will pick up and drop off my comp tomorrow at 10 a.m. I love you so much and I hope you have an awesome week! 

Brad's response to Katherine's questions:

1. My scripture is Alma 9: 26, I really like it a lot.
2. Our ZL, Elder Ortega, finished his mission a couple of days ago, so we had to be in a trio with his comp, Elder Carrasco. He was alone putting his clothes in the washing machine yesterday, and was taking forever. So I walked in the laundry all cat like, and he had no clue I was there... for like 2 minutes. I didn't say a word, and he even had a mirror infront of him and could see me if he would've focused on it. So while he was putting his clothes in the machine, I struck an oportune moment, right when he was standing up, and screamed in my most woman like voice that I could muster, and his feet left the floor. And I am pretty sure I wet my pants laughing. I didn't stop for about 8 minutes. And he was furious, but laughing at the same time. I'm sure he messed his pants more.
3. I've grown closer to the Lord than ever would have been possible at home.
4. Geez... I like em all. I like the Alma and Amulek duo. They are examples of two excellent, consecrated missionaries. While Alma teaches, Amulek watches the people's reactions, and then he testifies of Alma's words, and begins teaching following the spirit. They are wonderful. But, in reality, I like them all. Ammon, Moroni, Nephi, King Benjamin. From the Bible, I like Daniel.

I love you all.  Have a great week!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Week 42 - Progressing Investigators

HEY, how are you?! My week was good! We were slammed with lessons, and there are so many great people, but none of them came to church this week.... I feel really good right now. Excited for transfers! Because today is the last p day of the transfer, our district got together and played soccer and basketball, I still know how to ball out, fyi, and then the zone got together for a lunch at some peruvian restaurant.

Can you believe that we're closer to Christmas than January? Geez. It's August. Once ol' Santa comes to town, we're gonna be on the home stretch pops! I love, love, love, my time out here, but that doesn't mean I don't think about coming home from time to time.

Above is Brad's email to me and below answers to Katherine's questions

1. I feel really good, we walk a lot, so I feel like I am in really good shape, other than I'm getting fat, sooo.....
2. We have a mountain of new investigators, some really good ones, but none came to church this last week, but that's alright. Considering we've only had 1-2 lessons with each of them, I expect a lot of good things this week!
3. I don't have any pics of the outside, I will check my camera and see what I have!
4. 2 Nephi 22: 1-3. We will occasionally do things that offend the Lord, but he hasn't turned away, and he won't turn away. The joy we draw will be everlasting if we trust in Him, and make him our ¨song¨

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week 41 - New Investigators & Zone Conference

How are you doing? We have to contact a lot now, President said each comp has to contact 5 new people every day, so we have a lot of new investigators, but nobody is progressing quite yet. We are working on it, though.  This week we are slammed with appointments, so I really think we will have progressing investigators the next week. I am almost positive. We had zone conference as well. President Jensen from the temple (president of the temple) blew our minds with Book of Mormon doctrine. Let me tell ya, he´s gonna be an Apostle. And he went out of his way to talk to me, and we talked about Stewart Glazier as well, they are both awesome guys. And President Hansen taught a killer class as well.  

We went and played soccer this morning, which reinforced my dislike of soccer, and then we went to Luigi´s, and now I'm here! I love you so much! Have a great week!

Maria Vargas, Brad, Elder Infante

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 40!

My week was slow, but we did get to go to the temple which was awesome!! I heard and saw the video of Logan (Amy and Justin's son, who was just called to Cusco, Peru) opening his call, that's awesome!! He will be close to me, and will experience much of what I have experienced, but from what the Peruvians tell me, and a fact, is that Peru is a step above Bolivia. And he will see a wonder of the world (Machu Picchu). Lucky dog.  I don't have a real story this week, but I do have a scripture: Jacob 3:1, when you read you'll understand why I like it so much. You can compare it with D&C 45:3-5. 

Today for P day, we played indoor volleyball as a zone and then we went to a Bolivian buffet.... I prefer Golden Corral! ;) I did get the package.. When I first saw the toilet paper, I questioned my parent's sanity, but then, after using the paper, I can't thank you enough. Bliss. Pure bliss.  One day this week we did splits with the zone leaders, which was great! And then we were just contacting a lot, looking for new investigators. 

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Week 39 - 9 Months Down!

I am good, this week wasn't anything too special! But it certainly wasn't bad. Just a normal week as a Bolivian missionary! Today, we played soccer, the district, and I am a pretty good goalie, if I do say so my self. ;) Then we went to the missionary watering hole called Luigi's. And now I am here writing to you.

Katherine asked Brad the following questions:

1- what's your scripture this week and why?
2- interesting memory/story from the week?
3- Any new investigators?
4- tell me about the something you have experienced that you might not think I should know about. I promise I can handle it!

1. 2 Kings 6:16. Just whenever I feel like everyone is staring at me because I´m white, or the people in the buses are all mocking at me because I´m from Gringoland, this scripture pops to my mind. I really enjoy it. 2 Kings 6:16 - And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
2. On Thursday night, I gave 4 blessings in a row (blessings of the sick), and all of the blessings that I said, the people are alright now, so the Priesthood is real and functional, in case you forgot. ;)
3. No new investigators this week, we are primarily working with the less actives for now.
4. A clown shouted Chau Gringo and was laughing at me as he drove past me, which is kind of strange, but not to strange for where I live.
I love you guys, have a great week!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Week 38 - Temple Trip

This week was fine, nothing special, neither bad! No new investigators worth noting this week, we didn't contact a whole lot. But this Wednesday we are going to the temple as a zone, which should be awesome! When I get home I would like to do the first morning session once a week or every two weeks, something like that.

Katherine asked Brad the following questions:
1- Best memory this past week?
2- How are the investigators coming along?
3- Favorite scripture for the week and why?
4- How is your health?
5- Reasons you love your mom?

1. My best memory this past week, last Monday night a great guy in the ward took us out to eat mexican food like home style, so that was awesome. First time in 8 months, I went again today too!
2. The investigators aren't coming along too well at the moment. We are going to be working more the less-active members this transfer. They are progressing, just working over their fears to get back into the church,
3. 2 Nephi 4:16-35 (Nephi's Psalm) because it talks about why the things of the world bring us down, if only we trust in the Lord, we will be okay. Just because we are human doesn't mean that we have to give way to temptations and worldly things, we just hold to the rod and we will be just fine.
4. Edited for this audience :) He is fine; just typical health issues related to being a missionary in Bolivia
5. Because she is the most Christ like person I know, I do miss her little cheek kisses, and the mission has made me realize more than ever how much I do love you!
My companion is fine, I did pull the taser out on a dog though, my comp almost peed laughing. I yelled at the dog and he just thought it was so funny to hear me shout at a dog with a taser in my hand. 

Oh well! I love you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Week 37 - No Transfer

This week was good. We talked with Williams and Deysi a few times, which was neat, they are doing great. For transfers, President Hansen sent Elder Rummler and Elder Pasten out to Potosi and Sucre, which sucks. And I didn't have a transfer. 

(I asked Brad if he liked cooking because he's mentioned it several times and a member sent me the picture below) I am not that big a fan of cooking, everybody just wants French Toast! (His French Toast is awesome) So I do it, we get the lesson as well, and it is all groovy.  

(I had an incident in Primary on Sunday with a folding chair - my kids have their mother's reaction to other people's pain and suffering!) Your chair collapsed?!? That is the funniest thing I have ever heard! But I am so sorry at the same time! That sucks. I hope T (my little brother) isn't too cruel with the jokes... Did the numbing shot hurt before they gave the stitches? That is the worst part! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week 36 - Williams and Deysi were Baptized!

I baptized Williams and my comp baptized Deysi!! It was pretty special. I didn't even mess up the words! It was great, we started almost on time (really, quite a miracle in this society), we had 4 investigators come, the room was full, it was great! (I asked Brad what he thought his greatest area of personal progress has been regarding the gospel) The biggest area of progress so far is seeing how there is literally an area of the Gospel to apply to every part of life, not important how or where. I am pleased with my ability to understand the needs of the people and help them understand how Christ can help and how he already has been helping them.

(Katherine asked Brad the following questions):

First question: Most valuable lesson you have learned thus far?

Second: What have you learned about yourself?

Third: What have you learned about service?

Fourth: How do you know God is with you and helping you?

Fifth: Please share your testimony with me.

Brad's Answers:

1. Nothing can replace charity. Moroni 7:47(ish) and 1 Corinthians 13.

2. After harvesting 6 days a week for the entire day, every day, I can do a lot more than I thought I could.

3. Service is the way Christ lived and died, and by losing ourselves in the service of others, we will find ourselves.

4. Because I couldn't do this work if he wasn't with me, I am not strong enough without him.

5. I don't know how to express my testimony, at least certainly not all of it. Ha, especially in this language. As our Father in Heaven sent us here to this earth, before we passed through the veil, I am sure he pulled each of aside and told us to be obedient and we will be just fine. As we came here, we did not remember this. Our purpose as His children is to help others remember their divine nature as children of a King. My testimony of the missionary work is this: As we lose ourselves in the Lord's vineyard, we fulfill the Savior's words, Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  As we donate our lives (temporarily) to the Lord, we shall find it. As we deny ourselves, our wants and desires, we understand His plan, we experience the joy He offers us, we become more like Him.  Charity is the key and with the pure love of Christ, and as we try look at our Father in Heaven's children through a parent's eye, through his eyes, we can see miracles take place and lives change. I love this work!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Week 35 - Baptism on Saturday

This week was really good! The most exciting thing is that Williams and Daisy are going to be baptized this Saturday at 11:00 a.m., so I am absolutely thrilled for them. That is going to be awesome. They haven't decided who is going to baptize them, but that doesn't even matter. And their kids who are 7 and 4 just love me and like playing on my back every time I sit down. 

Miguel is a great guy (Miguel sent the pictures below... nice guy), returned missionary, he is the nephew of my pensionista (she and her family is who Brad lives with, she cooks them meals each day) and he lives in my area as well, we see him often and we got to teach with him as well. 

At times the mission is crappy, these people are all Catholics or J-Dubs (Jehovah Witness) or self pronounced pastors, and as Joseph Smith said, they all interpret the Bible differently. Lol. But I love the mish all at the same time. The good far outweighs the bad. Far.  (Catholicism is very prevalent in South America in general) 

(I asked Brad what his mission was like, as far as, baptisms/missionary/2years, the number of lessons taught in a week, etc.) The average missionary probably has about 10 baptisms, more or less given on luck, if they were ever in Quiriza (Brad's first area... It was a service area not a proselyting area, which made it difficult to teach) (lol), stuff like that. We were the lowest in South America last November, but we have stepped it up quite a bit. 10 full lessons a week I would say is about average, at least for my zone. Maybe a 12 lesson average mission wide. But come what may and love it, I love the mission.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Week 34 - Progressing Investigators

How are you doing?? I am doing really well, this week has been great! Daisy and Williams both came to church and both have a baptismal date for June 11th.  I am feeling much better this week, not perfect, but better.  My investigators are doing much better, not having problems with the W.o.W., (Word of Wisdom) which is perfect, and both came church yesterday, I am so happy with them.

My weekly story is I was walking to my house at night I didn't see that one of my wolves was hiding and he came out of nowhere when it was pitch black, and I think I said a bad word, I don't remember, but it scared me!  

(I asked Brad if he had a feel for the upcoming transfers, also his companion was having some issues that may cause a change for him this week.  His issues are unrelated to Brad, in fact they have been getting along really well) Transfers.... I dont know. From where I stand now,  I will be in a trio with our DL and his comp Elder Rummler for the next three weeks until transfer day. But I would like to train, I am not picky though.

I hope you all have a great week.  I will talk to you soon!  Love you guys!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 33 - Joy

I am feeling a little bit better, I still have a cough. My investigators took a step backward, but are again on track, we have to push the date back two weeks, I fear, but still before the end of this transfer, I think. That's okay though, she came to all of church yesterday (Daisy), and Williams had work. And Williams and Daisy are so great, when we come back, we will definitely visit them! 

When you teach people the Plan of Happiness, you can see light enter their eyes, literally. It is amazing. The people are so good, they just need to let us in the door! I love my mission.

My scripture this week, oh man. I don't know if I brought my paper. Well, 2 Nephi 2:25 I think. Adam fell that men might be, and men are, that they might have joy. At times during life we let really stupid and menial things bring us down, but that isn't our purpose, that isn't part of the plan.  Joy is the plan, and we have so many ways to achieve and maintain it, but we sometimes refuse to keep it with us.

I have to go, love you all and have a great week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Week 32 - Black Plague and Progressing Investigators

This week was really good teaching wise, but unfortunately I have received the black plague Friday, Saturday and yesterday, but I am feeling a little better today.  Elder Stoker and I have been hanging out today, we went to Burger King. We put a date on Williams and Daisy (their baptism date is June 4th), which is dope, and two other investigators came to sacrament meeting. So, I am happy with the way things are going in my area.

(I told Brad he needed to get an anti-biotic if he wasn't feeling better soon)  If I don't improve by Wednesday, I have to call Hermana Hansen! I had an interview with Pres. Hansen this week, and we laughed a lot, talked a sec about football, and he is a great guy. He gave great advice, and just wants to make sure we all feel like we have a friend in him and that we feel loved. He is a good guy. And I expect a lot more latin comps. Pres told me to prepare for a comp who wasn´t ready to serve a full time mission or who wasn't wanting to keep serving longer... so we shall see in 5 more weeks! Lol. (I mentioned to Brad that every time I look at the weather in Cochabamba it's 80-85 degrees) And I will say that Cocha probably has the best climate in the world. It is consistently gorgeous outside, just the fact that it is in Bolivia is the problem. It is winter here too! But I miss the snow and the fall and the leaves changing and actual pines like crazy. Utah is still prettier.

I hope you all have a great week! Love, Elder Howells

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 31 - Mother's Day Skype call

Hello all!

Good news! My family confirmed that I don't look any fuller (chubbier) than when I left home. What a relief. 

Yesterday we had the opportunity to have 3 different investigator families come to church, 6 of which are at the age to be baptized, which is awesome. They are progressing, and they are all really happy. I am happy for them. Also, as yesterday was Mother's Day, I got to Skype with my family, which was great! They are doing so good, and I was so excited to be able to see them and talk to them.

This week should be a good one, I anticipate progress with our investigators.  I hope you all have a great week, and Happy Mother's Day, if you're a mom, if not, Happy Monday! 

Talk to you all soon!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Week 30 - A short email, and that's saying something because they are all short :)

Elder Infante and I had a good week! 

We had Williams and Daisy and their two kids come to sacrament meeting yesterday, and they are progressing.  We had 3 other investigators come to a family home evening last night, so things are starting to look up. I am really excited for them. 

I don't have a whole lot of time this week. I am at a members house right now and they only have one computer, and my comp still has to write and do his stuff. 

I love you all!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 29 - Cochabamba Temple


This week was great. We got to go to the temple on Tuesday, it was great and the Cochabamba Temple is gorgeous! Thursday we had Zone Conference and I got some of Hermana Hansen's (Mission President's Wife) chocolate chip cookies. They were rather excellent. I had a really good week. We didn't have any of our investigators come to sacrament meeting, but quite a few inactive members came, which was wonderful. We started up mutual for the first time in my ward, and this week I have to organize games from Joseph Smith times. So, we'll see how that goes. I love my area, still. The Mt. Everest aspect is helping me stay thin(ner) than I otherwise would be.

I love my mission. The Bolivian people are wonderful, my companion and I are going, and my Mission President is a great guy. So, I can not complain. But an investigator did give us lettuce yesterday, so we had to eat it. I am a smidge nervous for it, but we'll see. 

I love you guys and I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 28 - Another Good Week


This week has been nothing to out of the ordinary. We teach, we get rejected, we walk a lot, and I love every minute of it. My comp and I are doing better, with a little lecture on the judge or be judged, and if you are guilty of the thing that you are judging, you've got a problem. So, we resolved our issues, and we are doing much better. 

We have the opportunity to go to the Bolivia, Cochabamba Temple tomorrow morning at 6, and I am so excited. We have two progressing families, one of them has 4 sacrament assistances, and three of the 6 members are old enough to be baptized, so that's exciting. And the other family is progressing, just at a more conservative rate. We teach other people, many others, just some are slower than others and the times when we can teach aren't as close as we would like them to be. 

But my area is excellent, the food is much better, one of my dogs ran away :( But other than that, I am very happy. The mission is wonderful, I love the people and the place, and more importantly the work. I hope that everything is groovy on your end. Have a great week!


Elder Howells

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 27 - Wolves and Scorpions

Hey! How are you doing? My week was, for the most part great! The investigators are there and are progressing, but nothing terribly noteworthy quite at this point. My area is dope! The food here is 10 times fatter and I have already gained a little bit of weight...

Here's a story! I snuggle with my wolf, her name is Bianca, and she is the world's biggest german shepherd. And her brother is named Kilay (like keelay), and he has to weigh the same as me.

Oh, we have found three little scorpions in our room, I am sure you can imagine just how well I handled that...

My scripture for the week is, Jacob 2:17-19.   It really is rather great, here it is:

17 Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdomof God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

I hope you all have a great week!

Here are some pictures over the last month or two.  The last one is of the two wolves (German Shepard's)