Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 77 - Ottavalo - June 22, 2015 - Last Email

Hola mi querida Familia!

This week we keep on keeping  on with our efforts to always visit with members present. We are very happy about last week and we are excited to see what this next week brings. Unfortunately, Dayana and Andres were unable to get married last week and therefore will not be able to get baptized this weekend, but we have high hopes for them. They are ready as far as testimony. Andres technically could get baptized this weekend, its still set as a goal and his date hasn`t fallen yet because he always assists and him and Dayana aren`t living together. We just aren`t sure if he`s keeping the law of chastity. But he is going to have a baptismal interview this week and there is a possible chance that he will get baptized this weekend. It would be awesome becuase then, he could receive the priesthood the following week and baptize Dayana. Pray for them!!

If you remember last week`s letter, we mentioned Johanna, who sadly was not able to make it church on sunday, thus her fecha fell through, but she is back on track and we wil re-set tomorrow her goal for the 11th of July. Johanna is an awesome investigator she always has great questions about the Sacrament, living prophets and apostles, and what she is reading in the Book of Mormon. Her husband, Reymundo, a less active member, sometimes loses his patience exactly on Sunday morning and they fight a little. That`s what keeps them from going to church. So we are focusing in on Christlike attributes and repentance with them this week to help them in their relationship.
Also, Omar, our miracle investigator that is working on overcoming a drug addiction. He came to the activity that we organized friday evening with his brother and his neighbors, who are less actives we are working with. Omar has so many cool comments in Gospel Doctrine, and has read a huge chunk out of the Book of Mormon. He says he feels like his life is changing thanks to the Book of Mormon. The Gospel Doctrine class was on tithing and at the end of the class he tried to give our ward mission leader money. We were quick to teach him that afternoon about how tithing works. The sad part is, he`s returning to Cali Columbia next week, but he is determined to find a church there and keep visiting with the missionaries. Meanwhile we will keep working with his Mom and his brother who both have desires to come to church and be baptized!
I`ve been thinking a lot about this next week. I have mixed feelings. Not knowing if I should be happy or be sad. But I know the Lord will guide. I aksed for a priesthood blessing sunday from one of our zone leaders. It was the coolest experience. Elder Caballero gave me the blessing and blessed me to be able to give all my heart, might, mind and strength this week to the Lord. I felt such a strong consolation and joy. This church is so true. The priesthood has been restored. That blessing was very special for me and I know that God truly shall be with us this week to protect and help us be 200% diligent.

I have truly felt the power of repentance and of the priesthood this week. This morning I focused my study on 2nd Nephi 9 and 10, Jacob´s sermon on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the first place in the Book of Mormon where the word "Christ" is mentioned. I learned and love in 2nd Nephi 9: 21 and 23 that Christ truly suffered for each and every person that would ever be born. He literally loves us and wants to live eternally with him. We must share His gospel with every living person on this earth because He suffered for them. It is up to us to spread this gospel, but it is thanks to him that the people can become converted and baptized and saved in His kingdom. Hermana Maximiliano shared something very touching with me. That as we reach the end of our missions perhaps people will ask us how many converts we have or how many families we helped. But the answer is zero. Our converts are not ours at all, they are the Lords. We are merely instruments in his hands. Numbers never have and never will define our status on the Lords scale of accountability. If we can learn to love without expecting anything in return, to walk the path of pain and hope, and to look at ourselves squarely in the mirror to say that yes, I feel I have done everything in my power.. this is conversion. I now realize that the best thing I get out of my mission is me. A new Alexandra Powley. And how great shall be our joy in the Kingdom of our Father. I know he loves us and I know that Christ lives and has paid my price.

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

FOTOS
We climb this hill everyday. And the view is one of a kind.
 
 


With Hermana Szerdi and Hull. Zone Training Meeting with President Richardson


Johanna and Reymundo made us Ceviche de pollo con patacones for lunch today.. delish

 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 76 - Ottavalo - June 15, 2015

Hola mi Querida Famila

We have seen many miracles and blessings this week. Especially with the investigators who came to church on sunday. Some people came for the first time and it was a true joy!

Joana finally came to church with her husband and her 3 kids. A miracle. Her husband has been inactive ever since they got married. But he came in shirt and tie :) We were just crossing our fingers and trusting in the Lord`s mercies during the sacrament, and when the doors were opened after the sacrament, they walked in the door and it was magical. Joana has some real desires to be baptized and to be a good example for her family. We are excited to see her keep progressing this week. She has a baptismal date for July 4th.

Dayana and Andres also came to church and our preparing to be baptized the 23rd of June. They need to get married this Thursday and are really excited, they just keep seeing a lot of opposition. We found out yesterday, that Dayana might have to travel to Ibarra Thursday afternoon to present her thesis for the university. Please keep her in your prayers that these plans can cancel and they can complete there goal to get married on thursday. We were teaching them the other day and focused on the importance of Service. They have 2 twins, Andrea and Andres Jr, who are just super pilas (smart) The twins are 6 years old, already can read the Book of Mormon like pros, love to pray, and having matching footy pajamas. Cutest kids ever. They fight over who gets to say the prayer. Love this family.

I know that there are Nephite angels walking the streets here in Otavalo because we feel their presence everyday. One great miracle we were able to see was Saturday afternoon. 3 of the Laurels from the ward Young Women`s plus Aylin (The new young women`s counselor and also recent convert) accompanied us to do some group visits. One of the Laurels has been less active for a year whom we have been helping remember her testimony, took us to her neighbor`s house. Her neighbors are from Columbia and are passing through some heavy difficulties. Omar, the oldest son is 16 years old and a drug addict. But he listened to us and understood everything really well. He`s a little crazy because of some affects that the drugs have done to him over the years, but you can tell he wants to change.  Tatiana, the less active who accompanied us, bore her testimony so strongly of the Book of Mormon it made me just glow inside. Its one thing to bear your own testimony, but to watch someone else gain a testimony is something else entirely. Thanks to the lesson we had and Tatiana`s example, Omar came to church on his own yesterday. I know the best kind of missionary work is member missionary work.
Come what may, the Lord is with us. Hermana Maximiliano and I feel like we are being overwhelmingly blessed. Nonetheless, that doesn`t mean we don`t also feel opposition press in all around us. This is the sign that the gospel is true, because Satan is working so hard to tear us down. But we have discovered that everytime negative thinking starts to enter our heads, straight out praises to our Father in Heaven cast out all whirlwind and bring peace. Testify of Christ this week, and see how the world changes. Testify of his love and of how he is the center of God`s plan. Everything we are and everything we will be is thanks to Him. We our dynamic beings, thanks to Him. I love my savior and I know that he doesn`t just ask for 2 or 1.5 years of service. Discipleship never ends. We must love as he does, unconditionally. I love being a missionary!!!!
Con Amor
Hermana Powley
 
 
 

Week 75 - Latino Ottavalo - June 8, 2015

 
Hola mi Querida Familia, 

This week flew by way too fast. We have a miracle! Andres y Dayana have finally placed a date for matrimonio! Wahooo!!! They plan on getting married June 18th and then getting baptized and confirmed June 27th and 28th. They have been waiting for a long time to be baptized, and have seen great changes in their family thanks to the gospel. We plan on fasting this next weekend with Bishop, and praying everyday so that they can succeed in reaching their goals. They have been investigators for forever and are so awesome, Satan just has sent way too much opposition that has kept them from getting married. Dayana has crazy work schedules so its been hard for her to set a date for their wedding. But they finally decided that they don´t need a big party, they just said they are going to save the fiesta for when they get sealed! Heck yes!

One of the highlights of the week was with Hermana Szerdi on splits. We worked in my sector and just had a good time. Even though most of the day our appointments feel through, I felt like we worked hard to follow the Lord´s will. We had a couple awesome lessons with Recent Converts, and received a reference from the bishop in the Noche de Hogar that we are holding every friday in the church building. The noche de hogar was amazing, it was only the 2nd one that we put together, but members are starting to bring friends, and we are exciting people to come to church more consistenly and read the book of mormon. Hermana Szerdi is very loving and teaches with the spirit.

I feel like with Hermana Maximiliano we still are lacking in teaching with complete unity. I am trying to think of ideas that can help us to improve. We definitely need our companionship study everyday. We need to practice, and we need to plan with the spirit. If we don´t plan our lessons with the spirit, 1: we aren´t being diligent, 2: how can we expect our very lessons to be taught with the spirit. I also want to improve our method in contacting. Its not very efficient becuase we aren´t trying to get to know the people. We have been using a  technique where we presents us, share a principle and ask for a return visit, whereas the better  method would be in the form that the zone leaders taught us awhile back in a consejo de mision: get to know them first, ask questions, testify of the family and the restoration and get a return visit. Contacting should be something spiritual but right now I feel like its just to complete a goal. So we´re going to change that no worries. And while we´re at that we will change the world.
We had mission counsil last week with President Richardson in Quito. It was my last one! Wahooo! But we did something so cool for the training President gave. It changed my life. I´m not going to give it away because I totally am going to copy it one day. But let it just be said we left that conference pumped to work hard and help the other missionaries work hard. I got to bare my testimony at the end of conference, because it was my last conference. It was weird because we still have a full month to work hard, and I didn´t cry! Another exito (success)! It was very cool to listen to the other missionaries who are leaving and their testimonies. We all could see how much we have changed.

I know that the gospel is true. I know that prayers are answered so long as we do not allow room for doubts. I love being a missionary. I love the people here in Otavalo. I love my companion. I know that the work is hastening. We plan to be very diligent this week, but in all aspects.., in study, in planning, in teaching, in finding. I have a quick thought on the Sacrament. I was sitting at the piano bench last sunday and played the sacrament hymn. How Great the Wisdom and the Love. My favorite. I began to ponder as the deacons past the sacrament. What am lacking in order to  be as the Savior would have me be. It came to my mind as I partook of the bread, to recognize the body of our Savior in its resurrected form, that one day we all shall resurrect and as in Moroni 7, we hope to appear as the Savior, pure and bright, eminating love. As I partook of the water, I realized the blood he shed was for me. The cleansing and changing power of his blood is incomprehensible. We must leave behind envy, anger, pride, and every unrighteous thing and let his blood cleanse us. I truly felt that angels ministered to me during the Sacrament. It was a remarkable blessing that we all can receive the guidance of angels as we partake of the sacrament each week. I have a new goal, that Sacrament Meeting can always be a such a spiritual and cleansing process. A time for revelation. Let us all remember the Savior and ponder in the changes we wish to feel within as we partake of His emblems each Sabbath Day.
Con Amor
Hermana Powley


Week 74 - Latino Ottavalo - June 1, 2015

Hola Mi Querida Familia!!!!

I didn´t think I could ever feel so grateful in my life for the many mercies the Lord has allowed us to see this week. Literally. This week has been one of the hardest and also one of the most rewarding weeks of my mission. We started out the week with all our appointments falling through, losing investigators, and being rejected, but we ended the week finding true, honest, humble people who know how to recognize the spirit and who want to progress. Aylin was also baptized and confirmed, and interviewed by the bishop for a calling in Young Womens! Woot woot! Even more, we were able to attend the baptisms of Lucia Inuka and Cathy Delacruz, investigators from San Pablo that Hermana Perez and I found and taught and cried for. It was so hard to let them go in transfers 2 weeks ago. I can´t describe the joy I felt as we passed by the church building where San Pablo meets, which is in our area, and just happened to see Lucia and Kathy and the members outside taking pictures before the service. They looked so beautiful in white. And knowing all the challenges they went through in their path up until this moment, I felt like Alma when he meets up with Ammon and his brethren, filled with an immense love and gratitude for the converting power of the Lord.

We are teaching Joana and her husband Reymundo, an inactive who wants to come back with all the family. Joana is so sweet and we had an awesome lesson with her on sunday. She has a baptismal date for June 27th. As we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, we were actually just finishing off explaing the 3 kingdoms of glory, when she expressed a real concern for a cousin who had commited suicide a couple weeks ago. She knew that he had died in his sins and she felt a true sadness and wanted to know if there was any hope for him. We explained temple work and the ministry in the spirit world. Her face lit up and tears streamed down her face as she told us that finally she feels at peace, Reymundo told her that they can go to the temple and he can be baptized for her cousin, Temple work excited the both of them to keep moving forward. Joana told us that now she feels more motivated for her baptism. I feel truly grateful for the restored gospel, where all loose ends meet, knowing that God has a plan for each of us. The power and authority once again is on this earth. The ordinances we make in holy temples bind us together as family and to our father in heaven. In essence, this is our purpose.. bring families together in this life and in the life after through helping them come unto Christ. Joana and Reymundo are both eager to attend church, please pray for them that they can make it to church this coming sunday!
Another cool story: We were out proselyting waaaay up on the mountain saturday... more like exploring.... and it started to pour rain. So we decided to start making our way down. But I felt the distinct impression to knock one more door, so I told Hermana Maximiliano, the coolest companion in the world, "hey lets see if someone lives in this house." And we knocked. Viviana came out, and she was so sweet, she told us to hurry and come inside before we got soaking wet. No one ever tells us that. Then we talked with her about her life and got to know her. Viviana is 23 and has a little boy, she has been through a lot and doesn´t live with her husband any more because he left her. We shared the restoration, and she totally felt the spirit and told us she knows Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that yes she wants to get baptized. Wow. A miracle contact. Her only problem is that she is studying sundays until July when she graduates. We commited her to attend our ward mission nights every friday and to attend church when she graduates so she can get baptized. She joyfully accepted. We also have gone back to teach Viviana´s Mom, who is also very special and has desires to change her life. They are excited to read the Book of Mormon!!

I know that Jesus Christ has payed the price for our sins and that everyday we must try to be more like him. The Holy Ghost will guide us as long as we pay attention to his still small voice. If we ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost we will receive it, be it to guide our families, our investigators, help other missionaries, or make plans for our own lives. Our father in heaven loves us so much.


My letter is so long this week sorry, but just one last thing!!
In the beginning of May, President Richardson challenged us to pick a Chrsitlike Attribute and make plan to develop it. The challenge is called Maravilla de Mayo. Part of the idea, is to choose a miracle that we want to see at the end of the month as a sign that we have completed our goals. My attribute was Christlike Love: Charity, and the miracle I wanted to see was a family baptized. I am so grateful that my Maravilla de Mayo has been realized. I feel so filled with love and charity for everyone. For my companion, for the other sisters, for those we contact each day, even when they reject us. The Lord has molded me this May, and I have seen so many fruits from my efforts to develop charity. I prayed in the beginning of the month that Kathy and Lucia would be able to get baptized as a family. And the Lord kept his side of the promise as I kept mine. That's the way the Gospel works! Maravillas!!!! We must trust in Him completely. I know Christ lives and I love him!

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley
1. Aylin at her baptism




2. Lucia and Kathy with the Elders


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Week 73 - Latino Ottavalo - May 25, 2015

Hola Mi Querida Familia,

Happy Memorial Day Everyone! The pools are opening and summer is stirring. Today we have rain. The weather is so predictable here, if it rains in the morning, it shines in the afternoon, but if it shines in the morning you can bet your bottom dollar that you will freeze in the afternoon. Who needs weather apps? 

Well I am beginning to see that the Lord has placed me here in Latino to help me grow even more. Its been a little bit of a rough week but we`ve seen many miracles.

First thing first, Aylin Montalvo is getting baptized this Friday! We are so excited. Aylin is an 18 year old girl whom Hermana Maximiliano and Hermana Huayta found through a service project. Aylin is so prepared. We`ve been focusing on helping her recognize the Holy Ghost this past week because she wanted a clear answer to her prayers before baptism. She told us yesterday that she stayed up until 2 am Friday night reading the Book of Mormon, and prayed at the very end that she wanted a clear answer to know if the church was true. She opened the Book of Mormon to a random page and read the first thing that her eyes came across. She shared with us that she doesn`t remember which verse of scripture, but it talked something about coming unto Christ and fearing not. That the truth was here. The next day she had her baptismal interview. This girl is amazing. She gives us so much hope. She has shared with us her desire to serve a mission and the way she has seen a great change in herself these past few weeks. Pray for Aylin that she will have a lovely baptism this next week:)

We are working with a couple other families that have a lot of potential. A new family which consists of a less active and an investigator, Reymundo and Joana, are awesome. They couldn`t make it to church but have many desires to become an eternal family. Also Dayana and Andres aren`t married but the missionaries have been teaching them for a year and a half. This family has been the product of many prayers and  fasts, and they told us yesterday that when they receive Dayana`s work schedule this next week they are putting down a wedding date and they will tie the knot before the end of June. Lets hope its before the end of June, I`ve wanted to baptize a complete family for my whole mission! They come to church every sunday and are just amazing people. 

We are excited to work hard this week. I was reading in 3rd Nephi 20 and 21 about the gathering of Israel in these, the last days. I love the way Christ promises us that he will heal us amidst rejection. "For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a (missionary) shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." (3rd Nephi 21: 9-10) Even though there are many who cannot believe at this time, and they reject, and it hurts, the Lord heals because His wisdom is far greater than the lies of the world.  
Ademàs, He promises that his people will listen and will recognize His voice. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak." (3rd Nephi 20:39) It got me thinking, true there are many people who don`t want to listen or who don`t want to even try to understand how there could be a prophet once again upon the earth. But there are others who can feel the spirit and choose to act for themselves to see if this message is true. There are those that the Lord is preparing and this is the time to find them. "...if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance" (3rd Nephi 21:22). We are here to help others come unto Christ and make covenants, not just baptism but to have eternal families. This is our purpose. We must bring to pass these prophecies that Christ himself made in his visit to the Americas. He knew we would come, he trusts in us!  

There is no other time better than today. For the first time this morning it hit me that these next few weeks are going to be the best few weeks because they are the last few weeks where I can be a fulltime servant in the Lord`s vineyard. We must press forward with faith and leave behind a bright legacy of hope and everlasting love. I love my Savior, I would not be where I am today if it wasn`t for His matchless example and atoning sacrifice. I am so grateful for prayer. Every time I ask with real intent, I am given what I need. I know that as we continue to give all our heart, might, mind, and strength we shall continue to harvest many miracles. This is our time!

Con Amor, 
Hermana Powley
1. Guess who came to church?




2. Last Noche de Hogar de San Pablo. Love these people so much.
 

Week 72 - New Latino Area of Otavalo - May 18, 2015

Querida Familia,
And we have changes! Hermana Perez left for Quito and I´m in Otavalo in the Latino Ward. My new companion is Hermana Maximiliano! Another Peruvian. She is very diligent and sweet. I have had the opportunity to do divisions with her before and I´m excited to learn from her. She is a new Hermana Leader and I´m going to show her the ropes and such. It will be a good learning experience.

I definitely have mixed feelings about changes. I feel like a hole has been made in my heart and that I am going to miss the people of San Pablo more than any other sector. I have never been so sad to leave a sector. Maybe its because this is my last change and here in our new sector with Hermana Maximiliano there hasn´t been as much progress, so I ask myself why. Why didn´t we close Latino and stay in San Pablo? We´ve had baptisms, rescues, and we have a full program for the next month. This was the time for San Pablo 2. Maybe I´m just being selfish. I need to be the 4th missionary. This time will help me grow, and we will be able to help the other Hermanas. I know that President receives revelation and I support him 100%. Nonetheless these changes are really hard for me. But we will see miracles. I´m excited to work in a new sector. I´m excited to know new missionaries and new people. Its a blessing.

In San Pablo 2 we finished off the week with 2 progressing investigators. Lucia Inuka and her daughter Kathy are preparing to be baptized the 30th of May. They have been assisting church, we´ve had some Family Home Evenings with them and the Familia Catucuamba (Recent converts and also cousins to Lucia) and they are reading the Book of Mormon daily. We love them so much. The Elders gave them blessings yesterday at church to give them comfort because they are passing through some hard times. Lucia seperated from her husband a couple weeks ago, because he tried to kill her. Its some pretty deep stuff, but interesting how the Lord sent us to them right on time. A strong peace and stillness is felt when we teach them. Pray for Lucia and Kathy to receive the comfort they need and the hope in a better world.

Our recent converts are doing great, we are so proud of their progress. David Carlosama is already halfway through Mosiah.. look at him go. Also Carlos (the one who lost his job because we fasted for it) just opened up his own business and the bishop was there to support and everything.. so awesome. Cecilia Farinango (the bishops Mom) is seeing many miracles in her life right now. Her rebel son, Erick, has come to church ever since David got baptized, and Erick wants to get baptized now! He was an ancient investigator and we want to get him commited to a date but we haven´t been able to find him in his home.. highschool ends in 1 week so just counting down until the Elders can visit him. Cecilia shared her testimony in a community family home evening that we held last night and it was so tender. Even though I didn´t understand much because she talked in Quichua, you could feel her deep love for the Savior.

I am so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to serve in San Pablo. I will always hold this sector in a very close place in my heart. I love being a missionary. This type of sadness is the best kind. Its not the kind of sadness when an investigator decides to stop continuing.. thats a ton worse. This is just the sadness of saying goodbye but knowing that everyone is on the right track. And that we will all meet again in some bright future day. Its happy-sad. I so want to come back in a year and accompany Carlos and his famly to the temple and be there when they get sealed. I love my Savior. Sometimes I think about the sector He had to leave behind. He came to the Americas and established his church. He didn´t stay for very much time, but left behind millions of changed lives, he hopes that we can all make it back to him. We are all changed because of Christ. We MUST remember him. Always. This week hasn´t been the easiest, but everytime I remember Him, I am filled. I keep remembering Christ and the Samiritan woman this week. When he tells her that she can drink from the living waters, where she will never thirst again. Christ is the living water. When we feel overwhelmed, when change seems to drown us, we just have to remember that he keeps us afloat, and that through remembering him, we can be happy. We MUST read the Book of Mormon, it leads us to perfection. I love this eternal course, I love change, it means that the Lord is pruning me just a little to help me GROW!! I hope you all have a great week and I love you lots!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 71 - Ottavalo - May 11, 2015

Buenas Tardes mi Querida Familia,

This is going to be a shorter letter because all the internets are closed and we finally found a really sketch internet cafe in the middle of nowhere. The computers here are filled with viruses, and ironically don´t let us enter into the church webpage. But anyways! I´m so grateful for mothers day. It was great. I love my family. Powley Power. Even though the electricity went off mid-call we were able to find a patch of wifi in the street with our ward mission leader. Solid. 

The best part of this week was by far Saturday. David was baptized! The baptismal service was so smooth and just marvelous. We tried boiling water to heat up the baptismal font but it was still freezing cold. Luckily David is a tough kid. A strong spirit could be felt when our ward mission leader baptized David. As he raised his had and declared to have the authority of Jesus Christ to baptize, I truly felt a buzz in the air, that we truly have the authority of the priesthood here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I feel so grateful to know that the Lord has placed us on the earth with this knowledge and great privilege to declare to the world that the power of God has been restored. And we can make covenants such as baptism that count here on earth just as much as in heaven. As the bishop spoke after Davíd´s baptism, he mentioned that David was one of those valiant spirits. I can feel it too. David is a solid descendant from the Lamanites like many people here. And he has a huge heart. He will do many great things in the kingdom. I feel blessed to be an instrument in the hands of God in helping David reach this eternal course. 

We also were able to visit with Lucia Delacruz. She is the mother of the Delacruz Family that I have mentioned before. We heard some really sad news before visiting her. Something about her husband getting really mad and hurting her. I couldn´t sleep the whole night thinking about them. When we visited Lucia and her daughters the next day, she told us that she was going to separate from her husband. We were teaching her husband too, so it hurts to think that he hasn´t been applying the teachings we have been giving. But there is always hope! Lucia and her oldest daughter, Cathy have strong desires to be baptized. They all came to church yesterday and it was a miracle! Nothings stopping Lucia from keeping her trust in our Savior. We know that everything is going to work out.

This week we had Mission Counsel, which is when all the zone leaders and Hermana leaders go to Quito and we meet with President Richardson for a day, talking about how we can solve problems in the mission and improve as individuals. It was awesome. I really like something that President shared with us. Sometimes as missionaries we get carried away by everything we have to focus on, Finding, Teaching, Baptizing, Rescuing, Retaining. And sometimes all some missionaries do is rescue, rescue rescue, or find, find, find, and they don't have a good balance. I guess we can relate this to real non-missionary life too. Sometimes we just get caught up and stressed out, trying to do everything at once.
 
President used a hands-on example. He asked if there was anyone who knew how to juggle. A couple elders raised their hands. When we watched a couple of the Elders juggle it was interesting to see, how a juggler seems to find the perfect balance as each ball seems to find its was back into the jugglers hand. Do you want to know the million dollar secret? How do they do it? They keep their eyes focused on one single spot in the air; their eyes do not wander and watch each ball as it falls and rises. How do  we relate this to balancing our work efforts? We must focus on one specific thing: President told us that we must focus on finding. If we focus on finding, we will be able to teach less actives with their friends, help recent converts bring their family members to the waters of baptism, and never lose the balance. Ask references always. I also like to relate the one single balancing point with the Savior. If we feel like our lives our off-balance, if we feel like we are being pulled in every direction imaginable, we just have to keep our balance through focusing on our Redeemer.
 
Remember that it is through the rock of our redeemer that we are saved. I know that this is true. I know that if we always stay focused on him, everything falls into place. Jesus was always sharing, serving, and loving, inevitably finding more people to teach in every situation. We must be like him. I have been searching for service opportunities each day. Little things, but I feel a great difference inside. I feel much more filled with Christ like love. Here is my invitation, that each one of you look for a small selfless service each day and as you do this, you will see how through faith and action we keep our lives balanced!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley
 


 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week 70 -- Ottavalo - 4 May 2015

Hola Mi Querida Familia,
 
What a week! I feel so blessed to be here in San Pablo. We are indeed seeing so many blessings. I feel that this week has been a week of answered prayers. True that there is always opposition in the work. Pero somos los soldados que combaten error! Que dicha es!

David is excited for his baptism this Saturday. We were able to visit him a couple times last week, MIRACLE, and he opened up and told us that he felt as if a huge peace has settled into his life ever since we started teaching him. He has changed a lot too. He is more open, smiles more, has taken out his diamond stud earrings and reads the Book of Mormon all the time. About the earrings, we didn`t even have to tell him, he just realized it wasn`t right and took them out! I love how when we begin to teach others, light begins to enter into them. It kind of sounds strange, but I have begun to be able to discern how light enters and leaves people. It has to do with their countenance and their eyes. They just seem more true. Please keep David in your prayers so that he can keep gaining light and be ready for his baptism this weekend!

Last week, we were on the bus, running a little late for an appointment. I was a little stressed, sometimes time stresses me, but we sat down in the very back of the bus, there was just one seat. The lady sitting next to me tried to scoot over and make room for my companion, but Hermana Perez kindly declined. It suddenly hit me how sweet the gesture of the lady next to me was, even though all the seats were taken she had shifted to make room for Hermana Perez. It was a small gesture, but as I pondered, the spirit whispered to me, she is ready. I turned to her and started a conversation. Her son was sitting next to her, we got talking and she mentioned how her husband had left her about 6 years ago. She moved here from the coast for her husband, and after he left, she decided to stay for the safety of her kids, even though she has no family here. Diana later mentioned that she knew God helps her everyday, but has never gone to church. We ended up getting off the same bus stop and she showed us to her home and introduced us to her other kids, Kevin, and Diana. Best part: she asked US to come back and share our message. They accepted baptismal dates a couple days later. Sadly they were not able to come to church but committed to come this upcoming Sunday. Such an awesome spiritual experience!!! Pray for the Delgado Family.

Fun facts: We were visiting Cecilia (Recent convert) in Casco and we caught her milking the cow. I wanted to try milking the cow so bad but she wouldn`t let me because the cow was brava (angry) But, Cecilia made me drink some of the milk... I have 2 words.. "utterly" fresh. And surprisingly delish. Luckily, throughout the mission my milk allergy has disappeared. #blessingsfromonhigh. Also I went on divisions with Hermana Conder, and we prayed for service opportunites. After lunch, the member who fed us was outside gutting fish. We were the ones who prayed for service, and the Lord provided. Herman Conder and I learned how to de-scale, cutopen, and clean out fish! What a great life-skill learned! Our hands were covered in blood and fishguts and maybe I had fish gut dreams that night but it was all for a good cause. 

This week the Lord has blessed me in my prayers. I made a conscience effort to ask for charity in each prayer, and I feel so much more patient and filled with His love! Its so true when the scriptures tell us, Pedid, y se os darà! What do you need? Do you ask constantly in prayer? The wife of our ward mission leader accompanied us one time and shared with an investigator an example of a mother walking with her little boy passed a candy shop. Her child eyes the frosted cookies with gooey eyes and the mother watches him. She knows he wants a cookie, but they walk by and he never says anything. If the child had asked for the cookie, she gladly would have bought him one. Our father is the same way, but he loves an inifite amount more. 

I was reading today in Helaman 3:28-30 and it paints such a great image of our path to eternal life. I remember a long time ago our Dad took us on a hike in Zions called Angel`s Landing. There comes a point at the end of the hike where one must cling to a chain nailed to the rock with instant drop off on both sides. In Helaman, Mormom talks about clinging to the word of God, or reading the scriptures each day, and praying with all our hearts, in order to not fall into the abiss of sin which so easily awaits those who lose focus on what really matters. I imagined clinging to that chain in Zions and looking down. Day to day, we don`t realize that there really are abisses that we and our investigators can fall into if they don`t cling to the word of God. We have to help them. It is our job to help them keep their commitments, not just invite them and hope with fingers crossed that they hold on. We have to be there, cheering them on, sending members to fortify them, and praying in every prayer for their specific needs. Mormon says in verse 30 that our souls we shall be placed on the righthand of God if we hold on tight and help those that surround us. We shall dwell in the midst of the prophets of old. We must be strong, and NEVER let go. Even when the winds come or the storms sink in the rock of our Redeemer is firm and never moves. I love our investigators. I love serving the Lord. I love seeing the light enter into the lives of those we touch. This is the most beautiful part of being a missionary.

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Foto 1: view from the bridge we cross everyday
 

Foto 2: Banana split.. you`ll never believe it, but they put mozarella cheese on banana splits here. It's surprisingly delicious.


Week 69 - Ottavalo - 27 April 2015

Hola mi Querida Familia,

Another week gone by! But I feel really good about this week's work. We had Stake Conference, and even though the power went out and we all had to run to the stake center, and there were probably just short of a thousand people packed into one building, plus 3 or 4 dogs, quite a few investigators and recent converts came! It was a powerful service. I definitely was spiritually fed. The stake president and his councelors literally remind me of the 3 Nefites, and probably are. But for real, it hit me that everyone in this region where we teach are direct descendants of Lehi. And every page of the Book of Mormon was written out of the love which the ancient american prophets held for these very people. It very well could be that the spirits of Alma, Ammon, Amulek, and Nephi walk the streets of Otavalo and San Pablo preparing the hearts of our investigators. A very strong priesthood power is felt here:) 

Thanks to our fasts and prayers, David Carlosama is back! And he is progressing towards baptism. Its kind of a funny story with David. He actually has a baptismal date for this saturday, May 2nd, and we haven`t been able to talk to him about changing it yet. He really wants to get baptized this saturday but we haven`t finished teaching him all the missionary lessons because of the week and a half where he dropped off the face of the planet. He has vacations from the U this wednesday, thursday, and friday. So if we visit him everyday maybe we can make it work:) Hermana Perez and I feel more comfortable with changing the date however, we will see what happens. David is awesome! He is a smart kid and definite future missionary. A miracle.

I may have mentioned in my letter last week about a couple new families we found.. well two of the three are showing real interest. And came to church yesterday. The family Ajavi, where the father is inactive and the mom is investigator, came to church, but the mom hasn`t accepted  baptismal date yet. Pray for her! They have 7 kids.. that`s a lot of future potencial for the church in San Pablo.. we have got to help them reach solid testimonies. The Familia Delacruz has been a little tough to find but all the kids came to church on sunday, the parents had to work, but the kids loved conference! We have also seen progress in the father, Giovani, who at first just wanted to contend, and now listens like a schoolboy. None of these families have baptismal dates yet, and for that cause we shall work this week!

We have felt the spirit very strongly this week and I would like to share a little bit of insight I received about teaching in unity. We have learned since the beginning of the mission we should teach like Ping Pong.. teaching and sharing brief portions of the message with our companions. Sometimes I teach like chess. Sometimes I talk and talk trying to find the best maneuver before passing over to my companion. BAD MISTAKE. I learned this week that the spirit is always much much much more stronger when we teach in short, brief portions the message. We are able to ask more questions, show more love, and grow as a companionship.

I know that the gospel is true. I know that Christ is at the head of this church. This is HIS church. Led by His authority. We are living proof that His work is hastening. We see miracles everyday. We must press on with faith in Christ and perfect charity. I love this work! And I love all of you! Have a fabulous week and remember what really counts:)

Con Amor
Hermana Powley
1.Corn Guardian
 

2. Hermana Perez and a basket
 

 3. Stake Conference Missionary Pic


 

Week 68 - Ottavalo - 20 April, 2015

Hola Querida Familia,
 
Well we are happy to write this week and say that the Lord truly has blessed us with small miracles and large ones each day. Last week we were able to find and teach 3 new families, The Familia Ajavi, Familia Gonza, y la Familia de la Cruz. Each family found was a great miracle. The Familia Ajavi, as I might have mentioned in my past email came to church last sunday, we thought they were less active last sunday, but when we visited them, we found at this the mom isn`t bapitzed! They have strong desires to return, its true that there are many challenges and addictions that they are going through right now but anything is possible when your on the Lord`s side. The Familia Gonza, they were a door contact after one of our citas feel through. We prayed to know where to go and felt the urge to contact the biggest house on the block. The fmaily was home and accepted a quick message on the Restoration and Eternal Families. They are very interested to learn more. The Familia de la Cruz is also very special. We always seem to be running into the mom, Lucilla, and finally we were able to set a return visit. We brought along a member for the first visit, Lorena, and when we got to their house, Lorena was surprised. "This is where my aunt and uncle live!" she said. We were able to have a great lesson with the whole family. And the Dad was very hard in the beginning. But we followed the spirit and answered his questions. By the end, he told us that he felt as if his attitude had changed completely in the lesson, and he offered the closing prayer as we all knelt together. So cool! We hope that each one of these families can progress throughout this week in order to attend church next Sunday.

Sadly yesterday, David had to travel to Quito with his Dad so he wasn`t able to come to church. David Carlosama is great, as we have mentioned in past letters is preparing for a baptismal date for May 2nd. Its extremely hard to visit him because he studies in Ibarra everyday accept for the weekends and he wasn`t home Saturday or Sunday this past weekend. Pray for him so that he can still prepare for his baptism and that we can be able to visit him this week!

I feel truly blessed to be a missionary at this time in the world. There is so much chaos and confusion in the world. We have come across many people from other churches who try to downsize our faith. I feel like my testimony has been attacked more than ever this week, and at the same time it has grown more than ever. I have meditated and prayed with all my heart to find strength. I find strength in our converts. Seeing their testimonies and their growth is like proof that this seed is a good seed. That this faith is true. I find strength in the Book of Mormon. I love the stories and the truths that we find in Alma. I`m leaning onto the power and conviction of Alma, Ammon, Amulek, and Aaron. I know that we just need to listen to have that spirit of revelation. This week especially we have felt the spirit very strongly in some lessons. I have made a greater effort to be a “boat” teacher, and not  a “train” teacher. Boats run by the wind, and move according to the waves. Boat teachers listen and follow the spirit. Trains run straight on the track to their destination. Trains are missionaries who teach lessons and not people. I have tried to stop being a train. I feel a difference. We also have a goal this week to be direct and firm with our missionary purpose. Help others come unto Christ. Help them receive the restored gospel and repent through baptism and the gift of the holy ghost. I know that I will be strengthened as I continue to build myself on the Rock of my Redeemer.  I know he lives. I know he loves me. And I know as I pray with just a little more yearning, and as I study with even more intent, I will be filled with His love. I love being a missionary!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley
 
Here are some epic photos of our District excursion today. We went to las Cascadas de Peguche:


 

 

 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Week 67 - Ottavalo - 13 April 2015

Mi querida famila,
 
This week was wonderful. We have seen and experienced true miracles. Even though it was a little crazy with transfers, we were able to work a little in our sector, and we hope that this week we will be able to work even more time in our sector. This Sunday was so amazing. We had a really good turnout at church, a lot of less actives that came for the first time in years, 8 out of 9 converts, and 2 investigators!

I`d like to start out talking about David Carlosama. I might have mentioned him before, this kid is so prepared to receive the gospel! He was a reference and he has so many desires to join the church. It wasn`t hard for him at all to accept the restored gospel, yesterday we visited him and he accepted a baptismal date for May 2nd. Its been a little hard to find him the past 2 weeks because he studies all week long in Ibarra, and he lost his cell phone. So we took a leap of faith and went to his house Saturday to leave him a note, inviting him to church. He got the note and came! We visited him after church and he showed us how much he had been reading from the Book of Mormon. In the 2 weeks that we haven`t been able to visit him, he`s made it to chapter 20 of 1st Nephi! We were very happy! We had a very spiritual lesson, on faith, and he was able to share with us how he has been prepared throughout his life to receive the gospel. I can just see him as a missionary a year from now. Anyway, our action plan with David is to send him text messages of support each day this week and visit him on the weekends when he is home. May 2nd here we come!

Another cool story. We were in Casco and a couple of our appointments fell through. And I felt the impression to walk up the dirt hill to visit a less active family and recent convert, the Casco Family. It was a leap of faith because, the parents always work (for that reason they are less active) But when we got there, the father, Feliciano, was home! He told us that he no longer was working weekends, and we had a powerful lesson with him and his son, Juanito about the doctrine of Jesus Christ and baptismal covenants. I remember in a training that we had with President Richardson when he said that we need to invite less actives to renew their baptismal convenants by taking the sacrament, not just invite them to church. So we invited him! And he accepted. This whole less active family came to church yesterday and it was beautiful. Also another surprise on Sunday was that a different less active family, whom Hermana Gonzalez had worked with in the past and had zero success, came to church for the first time in years. Recently this family`s cousin, William, has returned home from his mission and has been working hard with them to help them reactivate. I was able to see how William, being a returned missionary is bringing a making a positive impact on his family. I hope to be able to have a similar effect on those whom I come in contact with after the mission. The mission never ends!

I know that my redeemer lives and loves us. It doesn`t matter how many weaknesses we have, just that we trust in Him and believe that he will mold us as we pray with real intent and prove true to the commandments. We have seen repeated rejection, and also sweet, sweet miracles here in San Pablo. This week I have felt Satan working hard, trying to downsize my testimony. But we had an amazing zone meeting, where we all shared our testimonies with the zone. This helped me so much. I was able to realize as I shared my testimony, that no matter how many people tell us we are wrong, no one can deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. This church is true because I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It contains the doctrine of Christ in its most pure form. When I try to think of the one moment I truly received testimony of the church, I think of many successive moments that compile to the overwhelming fact and knowledge that I have felt the Holy Ghost in every meeting, testimony, and study. Its simply sad when others do not open their hearts to hear the music. But I know that as we keep working, God blesses us with people like David, and the Casco Family. I know He loves us and wants the best for us. And he will grant us success.

Have a wonderful week Everyone!
 
Con amor
Hermana Powley
 
 
Fotos:
Yo y Hermana Perez (so cute)
 
 
A pig trail that we found....
 
 
 
Carlitos tiene un nuevo perrrito!!

 
 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 66 - Ottavalo - April 6, 2015

Mi Querida Familia,

Abrìl, aguas mìl! I said goodbye to my beautiful friend Hermana Gonzalez yesterday. She truly taught me so much and will be flying home to her family in Guayaquil tomorrow. The beautiful part about her homecoming is that 4 days after she gets home, her family will go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. I remember Hermana Gonzalez told me that she made a promise with God. She promised to serve the mission and find families to be sealed so that God would help her family to become temple worthy. And Oh did Hermana Gonzalez see that promised fulfilled. I love her so much, it brings tears to my eyes and it makes me just want to sing at the top of my lungs how great and glorious is the love of God.

  My new companion is Hermana Perez. I have been with her on divisions before and she is a powerful misionary! She just finished her 12 week training and will be working with me in San Pablo. Its awesome because her old sector is closing so we went to her old house and got ahold of some new pots and pans:) (Sidenote) She was baptized a year ago with her whole family in El Salvador and she and her two other siblings are all out on the mission right now. Talk about a golden family. Right now we are in a trio helping out Hermana Salas because she is going to train and goes to pick up her daughter on Wednesday. Its really fun. They talk spanish super fast and I have to really pay attention.

It was a poor week for the work because we only had 2 half-days to work. For Monday and Tuesday we were in Quito in Mission Council with all the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders, Wednesday we got back and had to do planning and correlation, Thursday we worked but also had our reunion de lideres, and friday we went to quito for the Interview of Hermana Gonzalez. Saturday and Sunday were General Conference. Its the worst week of numbers that I`ve had in the mission, but not everything is shown in these indicador claves (key indicators). As a blessing from our heavenly father we were able to focus in on a less active that we were able to rescue this week, Estela. Her kids just need interviews and they will be rescued next week. I also feel that I have truly been enlightened and my personal testimony has been strengthened beyond anything this week. These are the fruits of the amazing Capacitaciones we were able to have on Tuesday and also in General Conference. I remember that someone said that the most important part of conference is right afterwards, when we are brought to our knees to meditate and make new goals for our lives. I was brought to my knees sunday night as I looked at this week`s numbers and was bombarded by thoughts of, "You`re not diligent enough" or "why are you an hermana leader when you can`t set an example." I questioned myself, "How can I have a more profound desire to sing the song of redeeming love? And then I opened up preach my gospel and read page 2. It says in the 3rd paragraph, that as we come to understad the Atonement of Christ more fully, our desire to share the gospel grows. I thought for a moment and decided it was true. I must try to come to understand the Atonement more fully to truly have desires to be diligent in the testing point. I began searching scriptures on the atonememnt and reviewing talks form Genera conference and the Liahona. I have come to the conclusion that Chrsit suffered, literally for every person on this planet. If he suffered all their pain, sadness, and guilt, just so I can pass them on the street, or not talk to them in the bus, without even giving them the opportunity to accept and come unto Him, I am not believing in Him and His power to save. I know that Christ loves every man and women and child and nañagu and torigu here in Otavalo. Do I love them? I am praying to have this profound love. I feel a new and rejuvenized vigor to serve my Lord and Savior and make it so His eternal sacrifice was not in vain. I loved Jeffrey R. Holland`s talk that describes the atonement as hands shot out right before free fall to save us from impending doom. It`s so true. We are literally on a falling earth and we must only fight and keep moving forward with faith. This is what I have learned this week. As of now, we don`t have progressing investigators but we will catch them from free fall this week and we WILL have them in church next sunday. I am so excited to be with Hermana Perez. I am excited to learn from her and acecarse a nuestro Salvador juntas.

Con Amor
Hermana Powley 
Las Fotos:
1ro: Just me and my friend, Toro.
 

2ndo: For Herman Gonzalez`s farewell in the zone the ZL's brought a cake and I nudged the cake in her face.
 

 
3ro: Mision Council in Quito
 

 
4to: The Gringo Room for General Conference in English #alwaysagoodtime




PS. For easter, I decided to be my own easter bunny.  I bought a ton of candy and hid candy all over for Hermana Gonzalez. I wrote a sign that said Happy Easter. She loved it.

Week 65 - Ottavalo - March 31, 2015

Mi querida familia,

This week has been a Miracle with a capital M. We were able to help Carlos Catucuamba and Cecilia Farinango enter into the waters of baptism. We are so happy. Carlos will now be able to prepare with his fmaily to go the temple a year from now and be sealed for all eternity. In the bapitsmal program, the bishop felt inspired to get up and say a few words before the baptism. I don`t remember exactly what he said but I remember feeling an indescribable joy. That families are eternal. I looke over at Carlos with his family. And each of them had tear filled eyes. Its just so beautiful how the Lord works and how we can each see the blessings he pours from heaven. It wasn`t an easy week for Carlos but he made it. His daughter, Ingrid, also was baptized with him, she`s 8, and the water was freezing.. she also had to be baptized 3 times because she wasn`t completely covered in water. It was really sad. But she also did it! Cecilia Farinanango, probably the most beautiful abuelita in the world, also was baptized. The most beuatiful part however was sunday, when her own son, the bishop, confirmed a member of the church and gave her the gift of the holy ghost. It was so tender and beautiful. They too will be able to be sealed together in the temple a year from now.

David was able to come to church this week! He also came to the baptism and we gave him a tour afterwards. The members love him. He seems like he has been a little bit of a rebel in the past with his pierced ears and big chain cross necklace but he has strong desires to repent and come unto Christ. He is definitely someone that the Lord has been preparing. He loved church, and even though he has classes in the University of Ibarra we can teach him Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. David keeps preparing for the 18th of April.

Yesterday we went to go teach our newest recent convert, Cecilia Farinango, to ask her about how she felt receiving the Holy Ghost. When we got to her house, she wasn`t home, but her son, Eric Fernandez was home! He usually is hard to find and he is definitely a rebel. Cecilia has been telling us that Eric has been changing for the better since she started going to church. With tears in her eyes, last week Cecilia expressed a huge desire for her son to be baptized too. We taught Eric yesterday. It was a powerful lesson. Eric plays soccer on Sunday, gets drunk with his friends, and I`m sure other bad stuff, but we shared with him Mosiah 2: 36.37. Which King Benjamin basically tells us if we aren`t obedient, we are enemigos de Dios. It was very direct, and I felt like a missionary right out of the Book of Mormon, preaching repentance to the Lamanites. He totally understood and told us he wanted to change, Eric wants to be on the Lords side. We extended a baptismal invitation for the 25th of April, and he accepted. Cecilia came in after that and the smile on her face was indescribable. I feel like now the Lord is blessing Cecilia for her faith to be baptized.

I love this work. I never want to stop. During the Women`s Conference on Saturday night, I just felt a strong urge to never never never stop doing my best. We are here to protect the family. That is our calling. To help people realize that if they are built on the rock of Christ, who is our redeemer, we and our families shall never falter. This is my testimony. I know that Christ is at the head of this church. I know his power is real. As we prepare for easter this upcoming sunday, I want to remember Him more than anything. That thanks to him, we are clean. I know that baptism is just the door. As Alma invites his brethren in Mosiah 18, I testify that we must be witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in all places. Covenants we make with our father in heaven are serious. He promises us strength if we have the faith to keep his commandments. Let us never give up. The reward is life eternal.

Have a wonderful week everyonen!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley


Pictures:
PS. Sunday was the last church meeting for Hermana Gonzalez. So we dressed up in the typical dress of the natives here. Almost everyone in the ward goes to church like this so we fit right in!
 


 
 
Liz Lizard on the road --