Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 25 - Ibarra, Ecuador - 23 June, 2014


It`s been a great week here in Ibarra, even though we haven`t had that much time to work in our sector because of changes and such (I actually had to travel to Quito and spend the night with the mission nurse, Hermana Barret to pick up my new companion, it was quite pleasant, Hermana Barret`s house has carpet, hot water, a good smell, mirrors etc. I literally feel like if the mission was my epic Lord of the Ring journey, Hermana Barret`s house would be Rivendale). But anyway! I traveled with another Hermana who was going to be trainer as well, Hermana Espinoza, and we got robbed on the bus.. also amidst the confusion, I left my suitcase in the cargo holder.. and when I realized this, the bus had left. So we made a little bus chase via taxi and were able by some miracle to find my suitcase which had some pretty important stuff like my journal and toothbrush. Any way! Crazy week… but definitely worth it, because now I have a brand new companion!

Her name is Hermana Pinto, and she is from Lima Peru.

She`s super beautiful, has excellent style, and a strong testimony. She spent a lot of time before her mission accompanying the missionaries in her home ward, so she basically came preprepared. Also she knows English!! Woot woot! I am helping her now, have better pronunciation, I am convinced that she`s going to be perfectly fluent by the end of our 12 semanas.

Anyway! Back to business! We have a few investigators with baptismal dates:

David C. – David is 17 years old and wasn`t able to come to church this Sunday but he has a baptismal date set for the 12thof July. He is still really excited, just a little stressed about exams coming up.

Marco B.  –Marco is a new investigator that accepted a baptismal date for the 12th of July on the spot. We were just knocking doors and I had a feeling to walk to the last house on the street and knock the door. And so we did! Turns out Marco has 2 sisters that live in the cost in Quininde that are also attending the church. And so he is really interested. He is 18 years old, and turns 19 in July...do I hear “future missionary” birds singing? We visited him the next day and brought him to the church to give him a tour. After the tour we left him in the sacrament meeting room to pray and ask God if everything we taught him was true. He stayed in there for quite a while. You can probably imagine how intense that was for us. But when he came out, he had a huge smile on his face and he said that he felt really good. He came to church yesterday and we are super hopeful for his progression!
This week I have been on a little emotional roller coaster, sometimes I can feel little doubts creep into my head that I`m not the best trainer, that I`m not as clear as Hermana Madrid, my super mom/trainer, but I know that those thoughts come from Satanàs. I already feel super humbled by this experience, and my new companion Hermana Pinto is quite amazing. She has such a strong testimony and is trying really hard to be a preach my gospel missionary. I feel like I am learning more from her that her from me. I am excited to really get started this week and meet some of the goals we have made.

I know that God has placed his trust in me to take responsibility of this sector in Ibarra and also to be an obedient, diligent, example for Hermana Pinto. I feel so much love for both Hermana Pinto and the people we come in contact with. I feel tranquila, and I know that this work isn`t just for the people we find, but for me as well. I am growing each day, and learning, and changing. I know that the Savior is beside us, guiding us by the Holy Ghost. I can feel the weight of our calling, and it makes me want to work even harder. True, sometimes I get stressed out, but I know in whom I have trusted, and he will never falter his hand if we remain obedient. I would like to share a scripture D&C 6:33… inviting you all to look it up. Do not fear, because whatever we sow we will harvest. Do we want to see miracles? We must obey the commandments. Do we want to feel more pleased and satisfied with our work? Then we must sow good works, and kindness. We must not doubt, we must not falter. Our long term goal is vida eternal. Si recordemos eso, siempre vamos a poner nuestra voluntad atrás y la voluntad de Dios en primer lugar. Sé que Él vive. Y porque Él vive, nosotros también viviremos. Viviremos con Él si seguimos marchando, agarrándonos del barro de hierro. Les quiero muchísimo. ¡Tenga una maravillosa semana! 
Con Amor,
Hermana Powley

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week 24 - Ibarra, Ecuador - June 16, 2014

Mi Hermosa Familia,
¿Como estàn? Estoy super emocianada ahora porque voy a entrenar una nueva misionera! Me voy a Quito para recogerla en Miercoles y voy a quedarme en mi casa antigua de Iñaquito para la noche. Despues en jueves ambos vamos a regresar a Ibarra para hacer el entrenimiento. Quiero pasar por mis conversos en Miercoles si tenga tiempo... estoy tan emocianado para regresar a mis casa en Quito aun si es solo por un dia. Tambien Hermana Aravena va a entrenar! Siempre dije a ella que debe entrenar por que es muy buena (vivìamos juntos en Iñaquito), y ella me dijo que si el presidente esta diciendo el mismo, pero ella solo no lo quiere entrenar. Pero, ya va a hacerlo ahora! De repente porque siempre estaba dieciendola que debe, ella deciduò dar consenta! Lo siento que estoy solo escribiendo en Español es porque estoy tan animada y no sè como expresarme tanto en Ingles ahora. Mis pensamoientos son mas en Español que Ingles. Pueden pasar esta parte de mi carta por Google Translator o pedir a Andrew!!  
Translation: "How are you? I 'm Super emocianada (emotional) now because I'm going to train a new missionary! I go to Quito to pick it up on Wednesday and I will stay in my old house Iñaquito overnight. Then on Thursdays both going back to Ibarra for the introductions. I want to go through my converts on Wednesday if I have time ... I'm so emocianado to return to my home in Quito, even if only for a day. Sister Aravena also will train! I always told her I should train that is very good (we lived together in Iñaquito), and she told me that if the president is saying it, but she just does not want to train. But, you will do it now! Suddenly because I was always dieciendola should she give consenta deciduous! Sorry I'm just writing in Spanish is because I am so excited and I can not express myself in English so far. My pensamoientos are more in Spanish than English."

We had a good week as far as finding new investigators and making desafios bautismal. We found a super amazing family of 10 on wednesday, and they all accepted baptism. They are almost exactly the same as our family, with an oldest brother of 17 años, and then a younger sister (me) of 15 años, and bueno... 3 more sisters (in our family theres only 2 more sisters) of 13, 12, and 10. And then 2 boys, like matt and tom, of 8 and 6 años, and a baby girl like Jane whos 1 year older. When we taught them the spirit was so strong. I am so excited to keep teaching this family. There is a problem in that they all work together making bricks... on sunday. So we hope they will be able to feel the spirit strong enough to make the sacrifice in order to keep the sabbath day holy and come to church. They also live very high up on the mountain, where there is no phone service and so we can`t really contact them. But oh well! We just will have to visit them a lot.

Also fun fact: I received a letter from Hermana Madrid, and she was able to tell me about our converts, Francisco, and the Familia Puma! Francisco passes the sacrament each sunday, and he is now 2nd counselor in the young men`s presidency! Also the Familia Puma toda via es super animada para ir a la capilla, and they are preparing now to be sealed in the temple! I feel sooooooo good! I know that I am just an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I feel so blessed to be able to see the way he molds and shapes his children.

 We have a new goal in our zone, that we won`t count new investigators until we`ve invited them to baptism. This has helped us so much. It makes our numbers seem more real. And also pushes us to stay focused in baptism and see the people who will progress. Only one thing that I regret this week. We have been suggesting ways to help the branch be more united. And so we suggested a talent show, but basically the way our ward mission leader presented the idea, was that it was under the direction of the obra missional. And so our ward mission leader asked us to prepare the activity and organize everything. We did everything we could, we invited menos activas, conversos recientes, and members, and investgators alike. The event was a hit. It was one of the first activities that the rama presented where an overflow of people came. I even sang a little bit of opera. But the thing is we arrived at the church at 5:30 to help preapare this activity and didn`t leave until 9:15. Almost 4 hours of our day lost. And because of this.. we weren`t able to visit a family of 10, new investigators. And this family`s feeligns were hurt and they didn`t come to church on sunday. Right now I am trying to decide in my mind if it was really worth it to waste so much time in the activity. We know the ward is a little weak and needs a helping hand. After the activity, the branch now appears more united, and the president filled with more love and concern for the other memebrs. We saw on sunday how instead of rushing to his office after the meeting he stopped to greet everyone he saw. And this was because of the huge ice breaking talent show that we prepared. Even better, he told us on sunday that the rama was going to prepare another talent show for august, and this time the obra missional won`t be in charge. Anyway.. this is my dilemma. I don`t want to waste time, I want to always be working in order to see results.. o sea personas veniendo a la capilla.

But I know that everything will work out. Maybe now the members can help and trust us more and we can work together to help this family of 10. I know the Lord has a plan. I just always want to be obedient para sentir los susurros del espiritu santo. Sè que tengo que confiar aùn mas en Èl. Sè que Èl està dispuesto para ayudarme solo tengo que tener una oracion silente en mi corazon todo tiempo. Estoy emocianado para servir y entrenar esta cambio. Me siento que Èl confia en me tanto que estoy lista para entrenar. La quiero mucho mi familia! Hasta la proxima!
Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 23 - Ibarra, Ecuador - 9 June 2014

Mi querida Familia,

This week has been great! We have one investigator with a baptismal date, David Chilcañan, 17 years old, who came to church on Sunday all on his own. His dad is inactive and has recently started showing interest in the church. David, on the otherhand is really excited fo rhis baptism. He is reading the book of Mormon and praying. He told us the other day that he has received an answer to his prayers and that the book of mormon is true, so we are pretty excited. Right now we just need to involve the branch more in lessons with him and also help him to keep the Sabbath day holy. David likes to play soccer on Sunday with his friends... I hope that everything works out with David and that he can keep progressing and be a help for his family and his father in returning to the church.

The best part about this week was that we were able to see the beginnings of the fruits of our Fast from fast sunday last week. We fasted that our leaders in the Branch would be strengthened and that we would be able to work with them in a better way. This week, we met with our Ward Mission Leader and told him how we felt… it was a lot like a companionship inventory. And it was great, we ended the meeting feeling more confident in him and he left with the conviction to strengthen his relationship with the branch president. On Sunday, we then met with President Teràn and our ward mission leader together. And it was very effective, we straightened out how we should improve Ward Council, and include the members in lessons, we are also planning talent show this friday wiht all of the Rama. Everyone is a little bit shy in this branch, ther are even some members who don`t even extend a welcome to our recent converts, for example the Young women don`t even talk to Alejandra and Luisa are recent converts from a week ago. We are hoping to help each oraganization build unity, and start with the leaders. I hope that ward council can begin to be more eficaz.( I really can`t think of a word in english sorry). Hermano Alex Romos, our Ward Mission Leader asked the President at the end of the meeting if there was a day this week when he could visit the president at his home. We hope that Hermano Alex will begin to strengthen his relationship and trust in the president, therefore providing a more solid connection between the obra misional and the branch.

I have a cute little story, we were out contacting the other day, and saw a little girl no more than 6 years old sitting on top of a very tall wall. She waved to us from across the street. We went over to say hi. She told us she was babysitting her little brother, and waiting for her older brother to come home from school. We asked her if her parents were home and she said no. We told her that we were missionaries and we would like to come and visti again to share a message with all her family, she seemed excited and told us we could come by the next day and that she didn`t remember her parents phone number. We then said bye and kept walking down the next street to keep contacting. It wasn`t long before she came running over to us with her little 2 year old brother because she had remembered her Dad`s number to give us. Then she ran back home. 10 minutes later, she was back, with a piece of paper, because she realized when she returend home that she had messed up on the number. She was so cute and diligent. Little kids have the purest spirits, I totally understand why Jesus loves the children so much and why we should be like children, pure of heart. Anyway the next day we stopped by her house and m,et the Mom, Maire, who is super sweet and has a little baby in the hospital. We left her with a prayer for help and peace. We ahve an appointment with them for tomorrow. I just have a good feeling about this family!

We also have focused this week a lot in the members and we have received more references in this week then in any other week of this change. So that’s good. We have made a cute little paper to give to all the members. Each paper is centered around cultivating a Christlike Attribute. The idea is that they pick an attribute to improve in, devise a plan in order to devlop this principle, and have a specific blessing in mind that they want to receive from God if they follow their plan. If they do these 3 things, studying the scriptures each day, they will develop the attribute, and see the blessing they desire. As a mission we did this in May. I was focusing on being more virtuous, and the blessing I wanted to see was a family baptized in my sector. In the last day of May, the Familia Vinueza was baptized. Wow right? With effort on our part, we will always see fruits, even if its in the very last moment. We are handing out papers to each member, menos activos, y converso recientes, teaching them the principle behind gaining and acquiring Christlike Attributes. We are hoping that as we continue to check up on the members we will be able to see fruits from this labor in a more loving attitude from the members.

I have a testimony in the love that my savior has for me and for the people of Ibarra. I know that I am responsible to open my mouth, invite people to baptism, and share the warmth and glow of the spirit. I also have a testimony that God wants us to succeed and that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to fulfill the atonement, allowing us to progress each day, throughout our lives, and throughout eternity. I know that there are moments of joy and miralces in each day, we just have to look for them. When I feel the spirit, and am filled with this testimony, we work harder and more diligently. My goal this month, June, is to be more diligent. Its my new Christlike Attribute that I am working on. Progression is one of the most beautiful things about this church. There is always hope in becoming a better person, family, mother, father, missionary, when we focus on the example Christ set for us. I`m excited to get to work!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 22 - Ibarra, Ecuador - June 2, 2014

Hola Mi Querida Familia!

Well to start out with... This week I was able to witnesssomething that probably should never be witnessed again by a poor gringa such as I. We were passing by the home of a less active when we decided to visit her real quick. Her brother told us that Maria was working in the back of the house so we entered the front gate to go help her. Well... I should have recognized the clues and I will admit I was a bit confused when I noticed clumps of blood in the path to the side of the house, and then the clumps turned into a stream of blood. And I was kind of freaking out. The blood pooled up alongside the poor carcass of a recently slaughtered chancho, or pig. We talked with Maria and she said she was busy... clearly because she had just killed the pig. her son then came out and started cleaning off the pig. I was like, well we will just come back later, because I kind of wanted to vomit, but Hermana Silvera, was like, hey I want to see this.. And so I was like, what`s gonna happen? And then they started to cut into the pig and shovel out all its innards into a crate, where then they placed al the innards on the same place where you wash laundry, and Maria began to separate the intestines. Well it was a great sight, I took lots of great pics, and I was going to send them but one of our investigators was looking at pics on my camera and actually deleted all my pics.. so I`m kinda bummed about that but se la vie. Then they brought the other pig over to theside of the house, and it was his turn to be executed. I just couldn`t watch at this point so I went and talked with Maria`s kids and we learned the colors in English. Mientras mucha squealing and then silence... Hermana Silvera wanted to watch... Who is my companion? I don`t even know.
 On the plus side.. we had 3 baptisms and confirmations this weekend, David, Alejandra, and Luisa Vinueza. It was so beautiful and we felt the spirit so strongly. We were a little worried about Luisa because she got in a little bit of a disagreement with her Dad the night before, and so our zone leaders came to the church early Saturday afternoon and interviewed her again, and surprisingly to us she said she was excited for her baptism, so that was a relief and then we taught her and Alejandra a little bit about enduring to the end and how God teaches us line upon line and precept upon precept, that baptism is just the first step in a long journey towards eternal life. I hope with all my heart that the branch can extend a warm friendship towards the Vinuezas. I was a little worried when we were with the young women on Sunday, and the other girls weren`t even talking to Luisa and Alejandra. I feel like many people in the ward are closed off and don`t express neighborly love.  That’s why we have so many less actives. People can`t just see how someone needs help and go and help them. President Taràn`s wife was sitting all alone in relief Society, and I went and sat by her, and we started to talk. She is struggling so much, with their family jobless and a newborn baby, and she has to study every day, how hard. And she was just sitting all alone. Tears began to fill her eyes as we talked. After relief society, each and every mmebr should feel edified and loved, not more sad. Why can`t we all be a little more Christlike? Why can`t the whole branch cry with those cry and mourn with those who mourn. It literally breaks my heart to watch this happen. What can I do, as a missionary, to help this branch learn how to express love? We have a goal this week to visit 15 different houses of members and share a short message. I hope with all my heart that we can touch each and every one of these members hearts with the spirit, that they may work to have more Christlike Charity.

Other than the baptisms this weekend, it’s been a little bit of an unproductive week. We were able to visit a few new investigators that had baptismal dates but did not come to church on Sunday, and so we need to visit them again this week with members in order to help them come to church! I know that we can work harder in our planning to call members in advance to make sure that they can accompany us. On the plus side, one less active member Jose Chilcañaun, and his 3 children came to church on Sunday. We went to their house Sunday morning and brought them to church. We actually were way up on the mountain and were trying to catch a taxi in order to make it in time for sacrament. But there were no taxis. It was 10 minutes passed when curch was supposed to start, and Hermana Silvera and I were dying, because we ddn`t want to miss the Sacrament or the confirmations of The Familia Vinueza. I decided to say a quick prayer in my heart because we truly were depserate. And justo despues dige Amen` I turned around, and there was a taxi parking on the side of the road waiting for us. I don`t know about you guys, but the gospel is so real. Then when we stepped into Sacrament Meeting, Luisa was just in the action of sitting down on the chair up on the stand to recieve her blessing. We missed nothing! It was perfect. Back to the Family Chilcañaun! We actually taught Josè`s oldest son 2 days before sunday and he accepted baptism, but he wasn`t able to come because he was really sick when we passed by his house. We have high hopes for this family, and for the 4 children, Stefen, Maribel, Jemi, y Davìd, whom aren`t baptized, we are hoping that we can teach them all together and help them realize the blessings of the gospel and challenge them all to baptism.  
To cap off this week we had a pretty miraculous experience last night that I am just dying to share with you all. Yesterday we planned to visit a member family for a family home evening. They hadn`t been to church for the past month and we wanted to see what was up. The problem is they live arriiiiiiiiiba!!!! Up on the mountain. And Hermana Silvera and I were out of money, so we couldn`t take taxi. We were on the bus to their house, when the the bus stopped and kicked everyone off (sometimes they do that because the bus driver wants to go home). we tried calling the family Figeroa because they have a car and perhaps they could`ve come to pick us up but they wouldn`t answer. I probably called them 100 times. And by now, it was really dark. Everyone talks about this area that we were in, like its one of the most dangerous areas, with vicious dogs and thieves. But we decided to walk to the house of the Familia Figeroa, becuase we both felt like it was very necesary. We walked for probably 25 minutes until we reached the street which lead up the mountain. A cloud had submerged onto the hill and we literally walked up the street and into the cloud. It was really eery.. Just fog and the faint dim of street lights above us. We were panting because it was actually a really great work out as well, hiking up the mountain in the dark. When we reached a dirt road that Hermana Silvera thought was their road, we turned. But 10 yards onto this street, we were walking in pitch black and the street lights from the main road had disappeared. Hermana Silvera then says, I don`t think this is the right road. We`re freaking about by now, and so I ask her what we should do. And she says, Oremos. And so we huddle together and start to pray, with bowed heads and closed eyes we ask for guidance, that God can help us find this family, that clearly needs help or else we wouldn`t have made it this far without feeling we should turn back. We lift our heads and our eyes and walk back to the main road. We hardly notice that right after our prayer, the cloud had lifted, and everything was clear. I look up and the sky is strewn with starlight and we could see the road that we needed just a little bit more up ahead. But this is not the end! As we continue walking, a man comes out of the darkness, cleary drunk and starts to walk roughly and loudly towards us, saying things that I couln`t understand, My heart jumps a beat. He is literally inches from touching my arm and I slow my footsteps, he passes us and walks to the other side of the street as though he never saw us. Wow. I know for a moment their on the mountain, we were both protected and I couldn`t help but imagine angels walking by our sides as we kept walking and finally arrived at the Family Figeroa`s House. Apparently their phone wasn`t working, and they had thought that we weren`t going to come. As we began to teach the lesson, the father shared his feelings, that God had sent us to visit them because he was just about to give up going to church all in all. He felt that God had stopped answering his prayers. But as we shared a heartfelt lesson on trusting in the scriptures and in Heavenly Father, he was humbled and said out loud, we have made sacred covenants with God and we are not going to give up, ever. This was a manifestation to me, that the spirit teaches through us when we base our actions on faith, that God has a plan, and even though our journey to the Familia Figeroa was immensley intense and scary, we were filled with peace and God protected us.
I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that we are here in Ecaudor to bring families together under the blessings of the Atonement and sacred covenants that we make in the temple. And I know that I am on the Lord`s side, and that he is on mine. This is my testimony that I leave with you all this week. And if there ever is a moment that you feel like God is not answering your prayers, just remember he has a plan a lot grander than our shortsighted plans. He trusts you to make the right decisions, and he loves you so much. He tests our faith, that we may exercise it, and receive aun mas un testimonio de la veracidad de su plan. Les quiero mucho mi familia, Que Dios les bendice. Hasta la proxima semana!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

PS We went to a zoo today with our zone! I`m gonna send some pics.. it was super fun!