Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 13 - Quito - 31 March 2014

Mi Querida Familia!
Well! I have good news... I´m writing a song and its really beautiful. I´m mostly just writing it in my head because I don´t really have access to a piano, but I think it captures the mood of missionary work, rain, and then sunshine. You´ll just have to wait and here it! 
  This week just flew by! We had Zone Conference with President, a couple Noche De Hogares (family home evening), Conferencia de Mujeres (Women´s Conference) and met many new people!! I will share a couple stories from this week that really touched my heart, even though I feel like I could share countless stories, and keep on writing and writing about how blessed we are here in Ecuador. 
   First I want to start with Hermana Romero. We have been working with Hermana Romero since the 2nd or 3rd week I got here, she is a less active member, while her family is not. She fears judgment from the ward, and judgment from her father, who is not a member. She hasn´t gone to church for about a year. We have been working on gaining the trust of the family, and sharing the importance of perseverar hasta el fin (enduring to the end) for the past little while with the whole family. When we visited them last Saturday, we had the goal of inviting her to the Women´s Conference and escorting her there. Miracles of March.. she accepted the challenge. She quickly showered, and we grabbed a taxi for the church. When we got there, there was no internet connection!! And so we couldn´t watch conference... One of the members was holding up her cellphone, which had the internet, up against the microphone in the chapel so we could here the talks. There were 5 or 6 people trying over and over again to get television connection but it was to know avail. At about 20 past 7, Hermana Hemsely, one of the other missionaries int eh ward, went up to the microphone and suggested that we pray for Heavenly Father to allow the projector to function so we could watch conference. To be honest in my head, I was thinking.. sure.. like that's gonna help. But as Hermana Hemsley was praying I received a sort of mini revelation that truly anything.. is possible with prayer. And that miracles only stop when the faith of man stops, (Mormon 9). Three minutes after Hermana Hemsley prayed, we received connection and were able to watch just in time the video of Teach Me to Walk in The Light that was shown at Women´s Conference. It was beautiful, I looked over at Hermana Romero sitting next to me and she had tears falling down her face, and then I realized I had tears falling down my face. She took detailed notes the entire conference, and when we visited her the next day, sunday, we found out that she went to church for the first time in forever. We shared Lehi´s Dream with her and her family, and she bore her testimony that the Conference and our lesson changed her perspective and that she really really needed that. WOW. The Lord is working through us. And maybe we aren´t baptizing right now, but we are changing lives. And miracles are happening. Maybe not in the ways we expect. But they are happening. We just need to show God our faith. And maybe I couldn´t understand all of Women´s conference in Spanish, but one thing I did learn.. God´s had is in all of his Holy places.. the chapel, the church, the temple, our lives and our homes if we make them so. 
   Also really quick, we have an investigator, Francsico that is progressing and he has been to church two times in a row! He is starting to befriend the ward members! He told us on sunday that he received an affirmative answer about his baptismal date, April 12th during testimony meeting. Please pray for Francisco that he will be able to keep praying and receiving answers about his choices to come closer to Christ. We had a tour with him on Friday, and right after, viewed a baptism... It was sublime. The baptism was by our zone leader, Elder Murphy and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to show Francisco how baptism works.. He was convinced that we baptized in pools.. not baptismal fonts. Hermana Madrid and I also shared a message after the baptism on Perseverar Hasta al Fin. I didn´t really know what we were teaching until we were standing in front of everyone.. there were about 50 people.. and then Hermana Madrid just went into a discussion of the scriptures in 2 Nephi 31. When it was my turn to talk.. I said a little silent prayer in my heart and I´m not quite sure what I shared. But everyone was smiling. So either they felt bad for me, or could feel the spirit. Afterwards, Hermana Madrid told me I spoke in Perfect Spanish????!! Wow.. I guess Miracles in March are totally real.
   Today is the last day of March, and I´m a little bummed. But when we were ending our planning session last night, I  felt the Holy Ghost tell us that miracles don´t end in March. they keep on going. As long as we are willing to sacrifice our time, efforts, heart, and will to make little prayers and ask with faith for miracles. Ask and it shall be given unto you.  I am so excited for conference this weekend! I am so excited to write down questions and doubts that I have in order to receive divine answers! I advice you all to do the same!! Godspeed!

Con Amor, 
Hermana Powley


Friday, March 28, 2014

Week 12 - Quito - 24 March 2014

Querido Familia,

Looks Iike I get another 6 weeks with Hermana Madrid in Iñaquito! We had cambios today, and we had to help Hermana Gomez páck and leave, there was a lot of waiting at bus stops and such. But we luckily had a little intermediate time to visit Quicentro, which is a really fancy mall here and I found a yoga mat!I´m singin Hallelujah in my head right now, because now I can do yoga in a more sanitary way in the casa. We are supposed to be barefoot on the floor... Any way it was a lot of fun, but we didn´t have time to write, well the other sisters did, but there were only 2 computers. So now. I have permission from the President to write you, but since its after 6, I want to get to work. So I´m sorry this letter won´t be very long. 

This week has been so great! We found a young man contacting, and we´ve been teaching him this whole week, His name is Francisco, and his parents are Catholic. There are a lot of things that he doesn´t quite understand especially about the hypocritical ways the Catholic church seems to run. He said that the priests used the tithing money in order to have bigger grander houses and cars. He doesn´t agree with this, and hasn´t been going to church for a while. When we taught him the Restoration in our first lesson he accepted the baptismal date if he would recieve an answer. He has been reading the book of mormon, and came to church with us last sunday. He participated in sunday school, and has made friends with those in the elders quorum. We really hope that he recieves an answer soon, and we also are planning on teaching his brother this week! I really have faith that the Lord is going to place his hand in Francisco´s scripture study, and he will recieve the answer he needs.

We also met Andres this week. Andres is from Haiti and is living with his cousin. They own a little restaurant, named The Negrita becuase they are both black. When we taught him the restoration this week, teh spriti was so strong. And he generally asked questions that meant he was earnestly listening. He has a very close relationship with God and when we contacted him we felt that we should give him a Book of Mormon. When we met him agian, he had read a little,a nd had a lot of questions. He has had several miracles occur in his life, for example there was a point when he his legs did not work, but after many prayers, he was miraculously healed. We hope to work with Andre more this week!!

Also we met Juan Pimienta, once in the street when we were contacting, and again on the bus. Two completely different days. Juan is a personal trainer and he always has good advice for how we can eat more healthily, and the other day he taught us a little bit of personal deffense. He is an immigrant from Columbia and lives alone. When he was yougner, he was a rebel and did not lead a very great life. He told us that when he found God, in a Christian church, it changed his life and he has a very close relationship with God right now. THe only problem is, he thinks that all the religions our right, because God loves us all. This is a common problem we are faced with here. The only thing we can do is teach the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, and pray that they read the book of mormon in order to recieve a testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration. With Juan, he has a bad addiction to coffee, because he says its the only thing that really gives him energy in his work. But he was able to make a commitment to try one day without coffee when we taught the Word of Wisdom. I hope Juan has the faith to persevere and complete this goal!!

I love you all so much and I want to get to work, so I will write again next week. 

Love Hermana Powley

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 11 - Quito - 17 March 2014

Mi Querida Familia

I have a story to share. On Thursday morning, I felt the urge to read the stories of Grammie and Grandad´s conversions in personal study. It had been a rough Wednesday night, with lots of rain, and Hermana Gomez got a little mad at me because one of my lessons went longer then we planned and we were late to her sector. On top of that we found out that 9 missionaries had to go home, 3 from our zone, because of obedience problems. As I was reading Grammie´s story, when I read the part about when she found out that Grandma and Grandpa Lockwood had been listening to the missionaries as well and were going to be baptized, I just felt the strongest impression of joy and I didn´t even know why, but I was crying. I had such a strong gratitude to them for listening to the missionaries and having the faith in order for God to show them the truth. There are so many many families here that are not sealed in the temples because either a father or mother or brother or sister is not a member. But when Grammie was baptized, both her parents were as well. I think because of this, our entire family has been blessed with strength and unity. I had an overwhelming peace come over me that everything was all right. That even though the Satan has a such a strong grip on so many people, missionaries included, we are a family blessed by God. It makes me so happy to know that Grandma Lockwood is with her family right now in Paradise because she was able to do all the family history work for them and that we are all tied together in a chain of eternal covenants. We have such a joyful knowledge of the plan of salvation because our grandparents had open hearts to listen to the gospel. And the journey doesn't ever end. We are always always progressing. 

This week we were able to see miracles, perhaps not in the ways we had planned, but miracles none the less.

On Wednesday night, we were teaching a new investigator, Alexandra, about the plan of salvation. At the end of the lesson one of the members we had brought to the lesson (A last minute decision.. I felt the impression to invite the members who made lunch for us to our lesson with Alexandra and they accepted even though it was very much out of the way and they had to leave work) bore her testimony. She is a recent convert to the church and she bore her testimony to Alexandra that we don´t need to know everything, we only need to have faith enough in Christ to be baptized and the rest will come. It was so beautiful and I wish I could describe in words the feeling in the room. Alexandra accepted a baptismal date for the 5th of April, and she shared with us a story: Two nights ago, her husband had a dream. Here in Ecuador a lot of people have dreams that our almost revelatory, its like a gift of the people here I believe. Anyway in this dream, he was walking in a garden, a beautiful garden with flowers and sunlight. And then he saw a girl, I have no idea who this girl could have been but they began to converse in his dream. She literally told him to keep reading the Book of Mormon. WOW. Right? This is only one of the miracles. We were walking down Real Audiencia trying to find a contact that we had planned to visit, when we came across a man standing on the corner of a street. He told us he was waiting for the "luz" which was actually just the electrical people who were coming, but I took it to mean us.. the luz.. the missionaries.. the truth. Anyway we talked to him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and Marco bore his testimony that right now he wanted to become closer to God and make the covenant of baptism. He has been chronically ill for the past year, and I think he feels deep down that his Catholic beliefs are not sufficient. Anyway... he accepted the baptismal date on the spot tight there on the street. And he prayed. It was beautiful. I know God placed Marco in our path. We had another lesson with him, and we talked about the plan of salvation and the atonement.. he is really excited to learn more and read. I´m excited to visit Marco again next week! Wow.. Miracles of March are real.  

Also, I would like to share real quick a personal miracle. I prayed last week that I would be able to wake up every morning with an excited mentality and energy to work. Before I asked God for this, I was waking up wanting to sleep more, worried for the day, worried for the language. But after I started asking Heavenly Father for this blessing in my night time prayers, I have woken up every single mornign with animo. This has been so great and has made such a difference in my studies as well. I have gained a new dependance in the Lord these past first weeks of March, and I am so grateful that He is aware of all of my doings and needs. 

We all can experience specific blessings according to our desires- maybe that means we have to make sacrifices to live more righteously, or focus more on being like Christ in our thoughts and hearts, but God wants to bless us. Most of the battle is just remembering to really ask God with pure intent in our prayers.

Any ways.. that´s my little peace of advice to everyone!

Have a fabulous week! 

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley      

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 10 - Quito - 10 March 2014

Hola Mi Querida Familia!!
¿¿Coma estaís?? What a beautiful day here in Ecuador,... actually just kidding.. there's been rain all week. And I lost my umbrella in a taxi, and the taxi driver was being a grump too. I´d be OK if I lost it to a nice taxi driver, but he was trying to get more money out of us then the ride cost. Oh well. That was a really nice umbrella. The kids really liked to play  with the linterna (flashlight) connected to the handle. I´ve learned to grin and bear it. I tried to buy a new one today but the cashier told me my 10 dollar bill was fake. I ended up using the bill at a restaurant like 10 minutes later and it was fine. So I am taking this as sign that my umbrella really isn't lost and it will show up in the house. Anyway! How is everyone! Its really cool to hear how great all the sports/march madness is going. For me, we are going to march Miracles. The only type of food here that seems to bother me is the lentil or lerdujas...I just take zyrtec depending on the family. If they are super poor and its all they have to offer I eat it and take the medicine later, if not then I just tell them I have allergies. But my allergies to leche, is basically gone. And I haven't suffered from any nose congestion or anything like the first time I was here in ecuador. This is a miracle. Because that was not any fun. Sometimes I literally just feel super dirty. There is so much dust and soot from the city. But we are all doing great!! Have no fear, I am being careful.
This week we visited a lot of less actives. One family in particular, I might have mentioned earlier, the family Martinez, came to church on Sunday!! Faubian Martinez had to come home from his mission early, so he´s been dealing with a little bit of mental issues, but we have really befriended him, and he told us yesterday that he wanted to take the role of ward mission leader while the bishop looks for one. Our mission leader moved the week I got here so its been a little tough. What if this is the reason he had to come home, so he could help the mission work here in Quito? I know I´m just speculating, but we had a noche de hogar with this family and two investigators, and when Fuabian shared a message on faith, it was beautiful and the spirit was so strong. I am so glad that we have been able to help him. We also had another visit with a less active, Betty, who is struggling because her husband is not a member and does not want anything to do with the church, he doesn't even let her go on sundays. We sat down, to visit with her, and I felt inspired to share with her Nephi´s Psalm in 2nd Nephi Chapter 4. This is a beautiful set of verses, that Nephi utters in the midst of the struggle with his brothers and right after the death of his father, Lehi. It touched Betty´s heart so strongly. She burst into tears, and said that this was written just for her. I wanted to cry right along with her, because its true. The Book of Mormon was written for each of us, and when we meet people who say no me gusta el libro de mormon, it breaks my heart because they don't even know. They don't even know what they are missing out on. I love how in Santiago (James 1:5) it says if any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God. The first step is to realize that you lack wisdom. We all lack wisdom, so why not ask God?
We had a beautiful lesson with a new investigator, Jessica and her husband Christian. They have a beautiful little boy, who is 3.. just like baby Jane, and he loves to talk and run around, and play with his cars. The lesson was on the Restoration and we were about a 1/3 of the way into the lesson, when Christians parent's walked in and listened to the lesson as well. When Hermana Madrid bore her testimony of the Joseph Smith, the spirit was evidently present. As we continued to bear our testimonies of the reality of this knowledge, and that we can know of  ourselves that these things our true, Jessica expressed her interest to read the Book of Mormon. I have so much faith in this family, and there was such a powerful spirit present, that I can´t wait to go back tonight and teach them agian!!
With our other prospective investigators, we haven´t had a whole lot of luck. Mario and Ricardo were in Guayacil this week, and Alberto told us on Saturday that he hasn´t been reading the Book of Mormon. A couple other citas fell as well with other prosepctive investigators. So long story short. We have been fasting and praying a lot to find new investigators this week. We are saying specific prayers, and I have no doubt that because of this there will defintely be miracles this March.

I have learned this week, that I need to submit my whole self and heart to each day. I especially have been praying in the nighttime, to be able to wake up in the morning and be alert and excited for each day. And in the passed couple days, its worked. I know that God is with me, and I feel his love fill up in my heart when we are teaching. On tuesday, I had divisions with Hermana Hemsley, who is super cool.. and we were walking down Brasil (a calle or street) when we met Noemy. Noemy lives alone with her son, and works non stop. She hardly has anytime to spend with her son, and we just happened to pass by her. She told us that she had been a member in Guayacil, but when she moved here to Quito, she became inactive. But she told us that now, especially she needs the gospel in her life. I feel like God placed us in her path. This was a miracle. And even though we were unable to help her come to church on sunday because she was out of town, I have hope that we will be able to visit her this week.
I need to keep up the animo. This week Hermana Madrid is heading to the coast with Hermana Hemsley (both are sister training leaders) and they will only be here today, tuesday, and next sunday. I will only be able to work in the sector for half of the rest of the other days, and so I need to really make every second count. Also I don´t know if I mentioned this, but Hermana Madrid is fluent in English, so she´s really great at helping me study the language. When she´s gone, and I´m just with Hermana Gomez, its good because I have to learn how to teach myself, but our study isn´t as effective. Hermana Gomez is great, and she talks so fast, and I just can´t understand, and when she turns to me for my turn to speak, I just try to follow my heart.  I have learned to depend on the Lord so much during these first few weeks. And I know that the Lord has placed trust in me as well. I know that as long as we give ourselves to him and work with all our hearts and have an eye single to the glory of god, he can work miracles through us. And so I´m ready, and I´m excited. Sure there are some times when the rain is pouring, and no one answers their phones, and we are hungry, but I know that the good in every day outweighs all of this. I´m so excited to take part in the miracles that God has in store for us this month!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Powley
Fun fact: I have discovered the true technique to making perfect french toast.. You must soak the toast in the egg and milk for at least 2 minutes, and not merely dip it. Also, we were curious what would happen if we just through some sliced apples into a vanilla cake mix and its super delicious. Also... The avocados are super cheap here and my favorite treat. And... there is a fruit that I cannot describe accept that it is probably what the fruit from the tree of life in Lehi´s dream tasted like. Its called Chilimoya.. I probably didn´t spell it right. But literally, it looks like a large artichoke, and tastes like heaven.  Attached is an avocado as big as my face and also a pic of Hermana Hemsley and

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 9 - Quito - 3 March 2014

This week has been so great, and also really fast... its been pouring rain all day, and I must say I am a little stressed out. Nothing is open because of the carnivals here in Ecuador, and so we spent 2 hours trying to find a bank to take out money, and an extra 30 minutes trying to find an internet cafe to write. So I don't have very much time, but I don´t  want my mood right now to get in the way of conveying to you guys all the great things that have happened this week.
On the plus side today I was able to go running with Hermana Hemsely and that was so great, there are some huge overpasses here, and some intense stairs which we did as well. It felt great in the drizzle of rain!! Running always makes me feel better. For exercise I´ve measured the distance from my bed to the sink in the kitchen, and if I run there and back, 100 times, its a mile. So you could probably imagine my excitement to finally run outside. I´ve been doing a lot of yoga as well.. I´m going to be super pro by the end of my mission. If you can find any instructions for some cool moves please send me some!! Also.. I GOT YOUR PACKAGE!! Thankyou thankyou thankyou so much! It made my day! Those chocolates are delcecios.. and I was just thinking the other day about how much I needed some Hi chews. Its great to see everyone's handwriting, I received the package on Saturday March 1st.. so you can do the math! But keep em coming! The minnie mouse watch, sadly is close to death... I don't think its very water proof, but I love it so much. I probably will buy a new one next pday. One more thing.. Mom... thank you so much for that insight on Christ in your last email, and about Peter walking on water. I shared that with an inactive family and the spirit was so strong. One of the members of the family had to return home from his mission early, and I think it was exactly what he needed to here. We saw the fruits of this lesson later in the week, when we had a family home evening with this family, Martinez, and our investigators Mario and Ricardo. Faubian (the missionary)  shared a beautiful thought on faith and I think it really hit home for Mario and Ricardo. Both of them came to church on Sunday, and that was really nice. We need to check up on them, on Wednesday, and Faubian is going to come with us!

Here in Ecuador there is a tradition. I don't know how it started but it consists of Saturday, Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday.. where everyone closes down and parties. People go on vacation to the beach, and there is NO ONE on the streets. Its so weird. They call this the Carnival. And when there are people on the streets, these people have eggs, shaving cream, water balloons, and flour. And its a full on fight throughout the city. We were walking to lunch on Sunday, and some kids rolled down their windows and sprayed Hermana Hemsley, and Hermana Gomez with Shaving cream.. It was actually pretty funny. Almost like snow.. haha. Also, Hermana MAdrid and I thought it would be funny to by some party cream and attack Hermana Gomez and Hermana Hemsley as they arrived home last night. We got em... We got em good.. It was so fun. Then we let them spray us and we have pictures to prove. I´ll attach them!

Remember those dogs? The ones that almost killed us.. Ya well they are three German Shepherds.. and they are still there in front of Jessica´s House.. And they still want to kill us. Everytime we pass her house I feel like I am Daniel in the Lion´s Den.  The other day, one of them tried to bite Hermana Gomez and only got her skirt, but there is not a single rip in her skirt. Pretty amazing. We haven´t been able to teach Jessica because I think she´s been on vacations for the carnival.  But hopefully next week! I don´t think I mentioned that my companion is sister training leader, and so on Tuesdays and Fridays each week she leaves me, and I´m companions with Hermana Gomez. Hermana Gomez is great and I have learned a lot form her.. but its a little hard to only be able to work in half of my sector for two days each week. It sometimes has really tested my patience.. because Hermana Gomez really likes to talk to the members. There have been a couple days where we have literally spent a whole hour at members houses when we really should have only been there for 20 minutes to share a short message. 
On the plus side, we have  a lot of members join us to teach investigators and this has been a great blessing, the members here are so strong and have such great testimonies.. almost all of them being converts. I have learned so much form Hermana Gomez as well. She is great with the people. She knows how to really relate with the people and ask heartfelt questions. Also, she knows how to make the doctrine so easy to understand, and she is charismatic. She has such passion for this work, and I love her so much. I have learned to take the lead in teaching all of the lessons in my sector, and I have learned to depend so much on the promptings of my heart in these lessons. This week we had divisions for 3 days and so I really learned how to be more responsible with planning and calling to set appointments. All of this in Spanish. I really feel like I am experiencing the gift of tongues. Sometimes I will be trying to say something, and the words will just come to my mind. I´m starting to think ,ore in Spanish, and although I am not perfect, I can almost understand everything when I focus. God performs miracles when we are obedient and eager to do his will. I know this as a fact!! We cannot doubt. We must be strong, and believe in what our minds tell us is not possible.

I was reading in The Book of Mormon this week, and I came across a phrase, "Exercise your Faith" What exactly does that mean? Like a sort of conditioning, where if you exercise it each day, it gets stronger and stronger. But how can I exercise my faith more? How can I exercise my faith, until it is tired, like when I run, and cant run any further because I am weak. I think with our faith we need to hope more to receive answers, literally believe, until we realize how weak we really are without the power and help of God and Jesus Christ. For me I am going to make more specific prayers, ask for miracles, and have more patience this week. How can we all exercise our faith a little bit more? 
Think on this.. study the Book of Mormon.. and pray above all to have a closer relationship with God. I know  through prayer and a broken heart and contrite spirit, we can come to know more about ourselves and God´s love for us than through anything else. The Book of Mormon was written for our day. I was reading in Mormon 9, and I finally internalized the words he writes in the last verses of his book, that all the people in his land, the prophets of old in the Book of Mormon prayed for the day that their brothers would know the truth. And they prayed, watching their brethren fall deeper and deeper into sin. Mormon for example, prayed for his brothers to know the truth of the gospel, even as he saw day by day, thousands of his brethren die in war. But the Lord keeps his promises.
And here I am, in Ecuador, literally working to save the very same brethren that those prophets in the Book of Mormon prayed to God to save. God is working through me to answer the prayers of thousands. This is amazing. It makes me feel sort of small, but also very large at the same time. I can´t explain the feeling. When people reject us on the streets, and at their doors, I just think of Alma 26, when Ammon states all the pain and tribulation he had experienced with his brothers by the hands of many Lamanites, all in hope that they could save some soul. And look what they did. For all the rejection they experienced, they continued to hope to be the means through God´s hands to save "someone"... and they saved many. I know God has a grand plan for me here in Ecuador. And I will continue to exercise my faith each day in every lesson, as I strive to speak Spanish. I know that through small and simple things are great things brought to pass. So I will continue to have this prayer in my heart this week. And I encourage you all to do the same!!
Buenos Suertes!! Les Amo!! Tenga una buena semana!
Hermana Powley