Sunday, March 16, 2014

Facebook Pioneer

Well you may have noticed I'm on Facebook!
Cool right?! The Tokyo and Tokyo South Missions are the only two
missions outside of the US to use Facebook as a form of proselyting.
To make it sound even cooler I'm one of a handful of people who have
the opportunity to use it. Right now only the mission leadership is
testing it. We're expecting that everyone will be able to use it in
about a month. It's pretty interesting so far. Slightly distracting,
but we've already seen some great miracles come of it and we're
excited to see what happens from here on out.

Since we're able to use Facebook I've found that after looking at your
profiles I want to talk to you a lot more. Unfortunately communication
with you all isn't allowed over Facebook. If you want to get in touch
with me however please send me an Email: I
don't always have a lot of email time, but if you send me a personal
email I'll do my best to write you back!! You can also write me a
letter at:

                    Elder Garrett Howard

4-25-12 Nishi Ochiai                 東京都    新宿区
Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo-To              西落合 4ー24ー12
161-0031                                   161-0031

Missionaries love mail!!

Other than the addition of Facebook things here are pretty normal.
Right now Elder Kudo and I are working hard to keep the momentum that
Elder Chen and I built last transfer. We have however been incredibly
busy with meetings and exchanges and unfortunately haven't been able
to meet with our friends as much as we would like. I guess sometimes
the work load is just different. As busy as we are however we have
managed to see a miracle every day! It's amazing how The Lord
consecrates your time when you are in his service. He really does
bless the Nations if the people simply have faith in him. We've been
blessed with the "heavenly gift" of Eternal Life and we GET to share
it with others.

Ether 12:
7 For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers,
after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them
until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that
some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.

8 But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world,
and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby
others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope
for those things which they have not seen.

9 Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if
ye will but have faith.

Alma 26:
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people,
whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his
bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my
great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever.

God has prepared a way that all of his children may be partakers of
the "Heavenly Gift". This way is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm
grateful that I have the gospel in my life. I never knew the value of
it until I became a missionary. I challenge you all to consider how
different your life would be if/when you didn't know or understand the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. And after you think about that for a bit. Pray
and thank your Father in Heaven for giving you a path to follow. I
know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and I know that God
lives. It's written not only in the Bible but in the Book of Mormon.
All we have to do is have a little Faith in him and we too can come to
know him.

Enjoy the warmer weather and have a great week.
If you get a chance write me an email or shoot me a letter, I'd love
to hear from you!
I love and miss you all!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Yesterday I had the awesome opportunity of going back to Matsudo to perform the Baptism for a family I'm good friends with. This is Yukino. She's 11 and she is first member of the church in her
family. In December her and her family came to church with the Sugimoto family. The Mother Michiko was an investigator and really wanted her kid's to be a part of the church. I still remember when
Elder Young and I looked at each other and said that The Lord had sent us a prepared family. The Elders and Sisters worked with them and Yukino said on her own that she wanted to be baptized. The Baptism was
great. One of my other friends Naoya was also baptized the same time. It was a great day for Matsudo Ward and a great day for both Naoya and Yukino. It felt really good to be a part of their Miracles. Every
baptism really is a Miracle.

That was the biggest thing for me this week. My new companion Elder Kudo is the Man he studied English at BYU Hawaii for a semester we take turns simultaneously translating what the other is saying. To
switch it up I speak Japanese and he speaks English. It's really funny. We've been working really closely with the zone this last week to spread our "propaganda" if you will..

On Satursay we did a small meeting with the DIstrict Leaders and Sister Training Leaders and told them our zone vision. Our Zone Vision is the same as it was last transfer; "one by one" (3Nephi 11:15-17) or
in other words "one baptism per area per month) This transfer however we have great plan help us achieve that goal. The first thing is companionship baptismal goals. Rather than set a big baptismal goal as
a zone we wanted to help each companionship remember and work towards the goals that they've already set. And by focusing in the people that we have that are close to be baptism we can achieve those numbers and hopefully see even two or three baptisms per area. President Dorff (our stake president) challenged us to write down daily how we see the Hand of The Lord in our work. As Elder Kudo and I discussed this we
came to the conclusion that we feel the true Joy of missionary work when we realize that we were the hand of The Lord. That we were just a point in the flow that comes from God to the Investigator. We enter
that flow by following the Circle of Revelation. As we are the "conduit" from The Lord to the person we are helping we feel Joy and we like Ammon, can't contain ourselves so we have to share that Joy
with others. This is where partnership comes in. As we share our Joy with members they will naturally gain the desire to feel that Joy themselves and eventually they will also enter that flow and become another "conduit" to the investigator and then they feel the Joy and will want to share that with others as well. In summary Joy, People and Partnership are our focuses for the transfer. We feel really good
about this vision. As we planned everything seemed to fit into place perfectly. I have a lot of faith that this transfer we're going to see big miracles in every area.

Well that's all for this week! Share parts of this with the Blog and stuff if you'd like. It's actually really hard to send emails to everyone now because I can't make a group with my ipad.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Transfer Calls and Other Good Stuff

Transfer calls came in today and it was an interesting one. My prophecy was correct. I'm the only Elder who is staying in Sakado. Elder Chen is obviously leaving, Elder Leaver is going to Narita and
Elder Miller is going to Sado Island. My knew companion is Elder Kudo. He's Japanese and he's really cool. I'm going to train him how to be a zone leader. I'll also be inheriting 2 area's worth of work so that should be interesting. I've handled big responsibilities before but this is my first time being a Senior Companion as a Zone Leader so it's a little nerve wracking, but I'm excited nonetheless. Elder Healy
got transferred to Sanjo up in Niigata. There's a good chance I won't see him until after the mission ha ha.
More exciting news; I also may be participating in a Baptismal service for one of the investigators in Matsudo this next week. The Matsudo Sister's 11 year old investigator, Yukino-chan, has a crush on me
asked If I would come and it sounds like I'll be doing the Baptism. I'm a good friend of her parents so I said I'd come down and they're all excited. I feel privileged to be a part of someone else's conversion experience

Anyways. This week was a really cool week. We had interviews with President Budge and he taught me a lot about something called the Circle of Revelation. It's really simple. You pray for someone and ask
The Lord what you need to do for them. You study for them and you talk about them with your companion, and then you plan for them and then you act on the plans you made. Lastly you report back to The Lord and
The Lord gives you more revelation and you repeat the cycle. He told me that if I followed this pattern every day that I would not only be able to help my investigators and know what they need, but that when I
start my own family this will be the pattern by which I will lead and guide and strengthen my family.

We have an investigator who's name is Toshimasa. He's a really great guy who's been meeting the missionaries for 6 months now and has gone back and forth between progressing and not progressing. His dream is to own a coffee farm and open a cafe. He's read the entire Book of
Mormon and he's always asking great questions. We really love working with him. Lately he's had a problem coming to church. He's come in the past but for whatever reason he said that he just doesn't feel ready.
Yesterday was Elder Chen's last day at church so he invited Toshimasa again but he said that he wouldn't come. About 10 minutes into the meeting he showed up. I'm 100% sure that God is working on him. He
said "I woke up and had to decide if I should go to church or if I should go to my friend's cafe. Church just seemed like the right decision." If that doesn't prove that God is working on him I don't
know what else will. Elder Chen and I were really excited. I'd rather have Toshimasa come than 12 new investigators.

Last night we had a lesson scheduled with him at a members house and we hadn't finished preparing so after church Elder Chen and I decided to take some time to prepare for him. We found the talk "Finding Joy
in the Journey" by President Monson from October 2008 conference. We really wanted to share it with him because he knows that if he wants to join the church he has to give up his coffee farm dream, which he
is at this point seriously thinking about doing. We wanted to share it but we thought the best thing to do would be to pray about it. We knelt down and asked The Lord if this was the right message. We both
felt that if we watched the talk at that particular members house (Mori Kyoudai) it would really help Toshimasa because Mori Kyoudai would have a lot of good comments about it. It was decided. Somewhere
along the line the question came about whether or not we should invite him to be baptized again and set another baptismal date with him. We decided we should pray again. We prayed and both felt strongly that it
was time to give him the invitation to act. Elder Chen asked if he could be the one to offer the invitation. I thought it was a good idea. We felt the best date was April 6th.

When we were actually teaching the lesson everyone was pretty tired after fasting and although the talk was great I was worried that we wouldn't be able to make the invitation or set the baptismal date. As the conversation went on Elder Chen began to make the invitation and we were able to set the date we wanted. The spirit was so strong. When we were returning home Elder Chen shared with me that he felt so
strongly during the lesson that the Holy Ghost was prompting him to invite Toshimasa to be baptized. He like me has doubted whether or not the time was right but that he knew he'd felt the prompting and had to
act on it. Everything went incredibly smoothly. My faith was strengthened so much and my understanding of the Circle or Revelation has really grown. I want to continue to apply that principle daily.
The best way to do missionary work is the way The Lord asks you to do missionary work.

I love being a missionary it's an incredible experience. I'm excited to see what the next 6 weeks have to bring. As of today I have 18 weeks left. I'm where Colin was when I was his companion. That's so
hard to believe. Well. That's all of I've got for this week. Give the family my Love!

 Brazillian Food with Elder Hall (American Fork) at Capim Dourado Grill. Sylvio the owner is a great friend of ours. (Wow I'm chubby.)

The second picture is us with Sister Takishita and Sister Owens.  Sister Takishita's mom wrote us letters so we were celebrating. I wasn't looking.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

More Snow

I had a really busy week as usual, but this time it was a bit more
like a big snowy adventure. We got another 5 inches or so and they are
saying that it's the most snow in this part of Japan for a 120 years!
we're expecting another storm on Wednesday.

This week was Mission Leadership Council. President Budge talked to us
a lot about our vision and purpose as missionaries. Elder Whiting told
him that we needed to raise our vision. President Budge, however, felt
that that wasn't really the problem. Our standards of excellence are
really high and we aren't even succeeding in reaching them yet. He
talked to President Heaton of the MTC about it and President Heaton
talked about our focus. He said that becoming consecrated, trying to
reach the standards of excellence and focusing on baptisms were all
good things. However, if missionaries really focused on their purpose
and there role in this work that we wouldn't need to focus on any of
these other things, they would naturally increase as missionaries
focused on helping others.

In D&C 88:73 it says that The Lord will hasten his work. HE will
hasten his own work. It doesn't matter whether we are here to help or
not, the work will be hastened. Our purpose is to focus on the people
and help The Lord help them. A lot of missionaries are struggling
because try as they might they don't see a baptism their first two
transfers or they worry about their Japanese skills etc. They get so
caught up in these things that they can't help anyone. Elder Neil A
Maxwell said that we often "get caught up in the thick of thin
things." I feel like that statement is really profound. Our goal is
not to learn Japanese, or to fix a wards' problems, it's to help
others come unto Christ. Our entire focus as missionaries is helping
other people. That's why they call it "SERVING a Mission." Our
Re-Vision is that we need to take the pressure off of ourselves and
start focusing on the people behind the numbers. They are there!! They
are waiting!! President Budge talked to us about the Leadership Model
and how we as mission leaders would help everyone make this 2 degree
adjustment. He talked about how after we had a Re-Vision that we
needed a Re-Alignment, followed by a Re-Charge and a Re-Model. The
Re-Model was probably the most important part. We as Zone Leaders need
to be asking the right kind of questions to help the missionaries we
work closely with help others progress.

The question that President Budge posed was a great one. he said, "Who
is God working on in your area? What do they need?" He then talked to
us about the Circle of Revelation and how it all begins from heartfelt
prayer. We also receive revelation during our personal study, our
companionship study, our language study, during our planning sessions
etc. As missionaries we have to act on this revelation in order to
better help our friends. It was an incredibly enlightening conference.
I feel much more capable as a missionary because I feel like this
conference really helped me focus on my purpose. It was simply the
basics, Re-Visited. I'm excited to share this with the zone.

Exchanges this week were really fun. I had a chance to work with Elder
Kitagaki in Okegawa. Because it was Valentines day and because it was
snowy and cold we thought we should do some sort of fun valentines day
dendo to cheer everyone up. Elder Kitagaki had the great idea of
buying chocolate and giving it to people on the street. In Japan there
is Valentines Day on February 14th and there is White Day on March
15th. On Valentines Day the women give the men stuff. On White Day men
give women stuff. Anyway we decided to give out chocolate and stop
people on the street. It was nearly impossible with the snow, but we
managed to stop a few people. It was really fun actually. A lot of
people took the chocolate we gave out and listened to our message. We
still didn't find anyone but we had a lot of fun. I think that's the
most important part.

Yesterday all the Sakado Elder's went to help a family in our ward
who's car port hd collapsed because of the snow. I wish I had taken
pictures. It was a sight to see. The 4 of us in our suits and ties
walked an hour in the snow tear the thing apart and then walked about
an hour back, all before Sacrament Meeting. If that isn't missionary
work, then I don't know what is.

Well that's the update! Here's a couple snapshots of the week!

Elder Chen and I at the Temple

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow in Tokyo

This week wasn't that exciting but we did have some exciting weather! Here's the view from the back of our apartment. We got 4 inches of snow! In this part of Japan that's a super rare thing. Yesterday our church meetings were moved back to 1:00 so that we would have time to shovel the roads and parking lot, etc. It was a blast. It's really funny when snow falls like this in a place where snow doesn't usually fall. The people seem totally lost, they have no idea what to do. Trains stop and everything. It was super fun, but It was probably the most unproductive day of my mission. All I did was shovel snow with the other Elders in my apartment and dream about Utah Snow. That's just about all that happened this week, but now we have ipads! Elder Chen and I had to spend an entire planning session trying to figure out how to use them. It's odd to have technology like this after a year of not using high tech stuff. It's really sleek though. Everything is now done from the ipad and we even use them when we are streeting or housing to share scriptures and videos etc with the people we meet.  It's great! The only thing I don't like about it is that it can be a colossal waste of time if you don't use it the right way. We get to do some trainings on them in the next few weeks. We're excited about that.

Sakado is picking up momentum! Last week we found a super awesome investigator named Li. Yesterday he came with us to church and to a baptism in Urawa. he loves the Book of Mormon too! He says there are a lot of things he doesn't understand but that he feels like it teaches good things. Elder Chen and I weren't able to set a baptismal date yet, but we have an appointment for Tuesday. We're excited. We think he'll make it by the 23rd. The Ward needs it. I have faith that it will happen. 
not much else this week. I guess you can take what you like from this email and post it on the blog. I don't really feel up to writing another long email explaining the same stuff. 

Also if you can find any pictures of me Snowboarding and swimming I'd love to add them to my picture book that I show people. I feel like it lacks variety. Thanks mommy!

I got the package! Thanks so much! Those Red Velvet M&Ms are celestial!!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Things have been crazy busy and crazy cramped in this small apartment and we've been sacrificing p-day time to get things done.
We also went the Aquarium yesterday. I'll send pictures as soon as I can figure out how to send them from an ipad.

We get ipads today! All the missionaries will be trained on how to use them as new tools to help the work move forward!! We're excited I'm thinking that a lot more will get done. It's going to change the way the mission operates! I bought myself a bluetooth keyboard so I can email from my ipad. It's cool I'll be able to see the missions performance statistics in real time. I'll also be able to seet the statistics of each companionship in my zone and it'll give me a better idea of what I need to follow up with. As for the work it's as hard and rewarding as ever. The other day Elder Chen and I went out to do some streeting. We met a Black Man named Martin Reverend and had the opportunity to bear our testimony of the restoration to him in English. He didn't become a new investigator but Elder Chen and I both felt that we taught by the spirit and that he felt it as well.

It's an incredibly opportunity to do this for 2 years of my life. I feel that sharing the Gospel with people who don't know about it, but that need to hear it, has helped me become a man. If the Lord wanted to see millions of Baptism he could send the 12 and the 70. Instead he calls inexperienced young men and young women who are in the middle of discovering themselves and puts them to work in his vineyard for 2 years. The purpose of the missionary program is not just to baptize the nations. It's to shape us into future church leaders, worthy priesthood holders, fathers and mothers. It gives us a form of Job experience and language experience and gives a new perspective on the world around us, and of course it also gives us an opportunity to learn more about the gospel. I'm so glad I made it back to Japan just over a year ago.
It's changed my life.

Thanks for all the pictures Mom! B sent some great ones as well. Sounds like things are going great for the family!

I'll try to send a more comprehensive email next week (from my ipad) with pictures if I can, but you'll get to see me soon enough. ;)