Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 8 - Quito - 24 February 2014

Dear Family!! 
 First, a funny bit as we try to figure out our money cards here in the mission, which has been challenging.  We went to McDonalds today, and it was super expensive.. treasure those cheap large fries up there in the states. When people talk about the united states here they point up, like to heaven.. I think that's a little funny.. Anyways!  We had a great week!!
I have a great story to share! We came close to death last Wednesday. As you may not know.. There are so many dogs here.. and many are actually quite scary and dangerous. Hermana Madrid were looking for a contact we had made last week, Jessica Cuasputh, who had committed to baptism. We had been looking an entire week for her and couldn't find her house. No one seemed to know her either. Anyway, Wednesday morning, I prayed super hard that God would lead us to her, so Hermana Madrid and I were walking down a new sketchy road up in the  mountain hooding sticks to scare away the dogs, and we saw a green house! After knocking and knocking, we came to find it was vacant, and we were just about to give up, when I saw a little path that led down the side of the house. I dropped my stick and took a couple steps down the path, hollered "Buenas" and three huge dogs came out of the weeds and started running towards me. Baring their teeth, my heart jumped into my throat and I lunged up the path to Hermana Madrid and hid  behind here. Those dogs got super close, and I prayed that we would be OK, because literally they were going to eat us. Suddenly guess who comes up from the path? Jessica!! She called the dogs, and we were safe.. and we made an appointment with her! It was an answer to 2 prayers! Attached is a picture of  Hermana Madrid and I, and Jessica gets photo cred. Crazy Wednesday!
I feel so blessed to be here, there are challenges and there are times when it seems like everyone is Catholic and they want nothing to do with change, but when we testify of the book of mormon and invite people to pray to know if it is true to be baptized.. I can feel the spirit testify that this work is worth every second of  rejection. This week we had a lot of citas fall through, but we were able to work more with less actives. One less active named Rosa truly touched me. We began the lesson talking about the Book of Mormon, and read through the introduction with her. The introduction to the book of mormon is very clear and I don't think I´ve ever really read it. She has never really read through the Book of Mormon, and I don´t think she ever truly understood what it was, because she seemed surprised when we read that it was written here in the  Americas. When we continued to read that the Book of Mormon was the truest book in the world, and that every man should abide by its precepts, we asked her if she understood what this meant. She said that she needed to read the Book of Mormon in order to become closer to God. Right then her daughter came home from college, and Rosa had her sit down, and then Rosa summarized everything we had learned in the introduction so far to her daughter. This made me so happy, that  Rosa felt the crucial importance of the Book of Mormon enough to share with her daughter what she had learned. The spirit was so strong and I have high hopes for this family to begin attending church again once they receive a greater testimony of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon  truly is the keystone to our religion, and I invite everyone to read it, if only for 5 minutes a night, it was written for our day and truly testifies that this church was established by Christ himself through Joseph Smith.

We also found a new investigator this week, Diego Castro, he lives above the carpenteria where Mario and Ricardo work, and we met him and hi s brother in the streets, we actually had an appointment set up with his brother, but when we came the next day, only Diego and his niece were home. Diego is quiet, but he has very intense eyes. Everyone's eyes are so dark and piercing hear.. he agreed to listen to our message and he listened very intently  to our lesson. Hermana Madrid and I were on fire.. we shared the whole restoration with him, and invited him to be baptized! He agreed, and you could see in his eyes that he truly felt the spirit. I hope all goes well with Diego. We have another appointment with him on Miercoles I do believe, and then a tour of the church with him on Friday. Mario and Ricardo are also doing great. Its very nice to have their Uncle, Hermano Flores, at every lesson, Hermano Flores is a member. He always has interesting things to say about how in our time, it is so important for young people to follow the commandments. They keep us safe, and do not restrict us. Sometimes I look at these young men, and I imagine Alma and the sons of Mosiah.. they are just beginning to gain testimonies of the Lord and his priesthood on the earth. They are at the ripe age for missions. I feel like the Lord is preparing this generation to accept the gospel and later be able to preach with  great power. We pray for Mario and Ricardo to be able to continue growing their testimonies through prayer and the book of mormon. Sadly neither Mario, Ricardo , nor Diego could come to church this Sunday because of the Ecuador City Elections. They are all from Guayacil and so they had to return to their city for the elections. Elections were yesterday, and so being American, I guess there's a law about this but I dont know, we had to be off the streets and in our houses all day. It was pretty sad.. that we didn't get to meet with those that we needed to , but it was nice to actually really have a day of just studying.. and perhaps cooking cake as well. 

Our other investigator Miguel, is having a really hard time. He was going to be baptized this Saturday, but because of the elections, he was unable to come to church. Also we found out yesterday,  that his wife has been cheating on him, and she is preparing divorce papers. Miguel is hurt. He still wants to be baptized, but I think we need to work harder with him. This is such a hard time for him, and the only person who really can help him the most is Christ. I don´t know what he is going to do, he has 3 kids, and I´m ´pretty sure his wife is planning on leaving the kids as well; and Miguel has to work. We are praying and fasting for him to receive strength. He is so humble. I admire the faith of the people here. The gospel promises happiness and peace to the family, but when you only have one small room, and that´s it.. that´s your home, I don´t know if I´d be able to have faith sufficient. That is what I am learning here. The importance of faith. With faith, we are ripe to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost to know what to say. With faith, we are able to encourage and believe in the changes our investigators can make. For me faith helps me everyday understand what these people our trying to tell me in a language I don´t perfectly understand. With faith I can speak. With faith, I am brought to tears, because we are so blessed to have the truth. So many people don´t have it, and I´ve taken it for granted I think. This week I can feel an improvement in myself, I can understand and focus and find myself thinking in Spanish. This is what Hermana Madrid tells me is important. If I can organize precepts and thoughts in my head in the spanish language, I can teach in a much clearer way, and I can better teach with the spirit... instead of just jumping in blind.  

We had interviews with the Mission President last Friday as well, which wasn´t a huge deal for me, because I had just barely had an interview with President Richardsen the week before, but he spent an hour and talked to the whole zone about aligning our will with Gods. This really touched me because I want to get to that point so badly. Where I am never thinking about myself, but soley what God needs from me. When I am thinking in  this way, I think I will be better be able to discern the spirit as well. I think this is a key concept for everyone. When our will and purpose is aligned with God´s, who can stand in our way? Who can stand in God´s way? I encourage everyone to take a moment, and evaluate where they are concerning how actions reflect who we are and who we represent. I think God wills us to prioritize our families before other things, I think he wants us to share the gospel with those around us, I think he wants us to extend a smile to those who need it. I don´t think he wants us to be consumed in our material possessions, or our own individual agendas, so that we are unable to see when someone is in need of help. Basically in retrospect, we need to walk in the footsteps of Christ, and he has made that possible through his atonement. We take the sacrament every  week in order to remember him and take his name upon us. So  why not live that way always? We are all disciples of Christ and need to share what we know about salvation to everyone we come in contact with be it through service, a smile, or an invitation to act. I know that I am where I am supposed to be and I am so grateful that I have this opportunity!  I love you all! Have a great week!!

Hermana Powley       
After surviving the "near death" dog attack!! 
As you can see we are getting our workouts in walking these hills!!

PS  also attached is our friend.. Harry Potter the watermelon.
PSS also if you think you´ve eaten a mango in the states. you really haven´t.. it was fake. The same thing with pineapple, avocado, orange, lemon, cilantro and any other fresh food  produce you can think of.  :-)