Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 38 - Ibarra, Ecuador - Sept 22, 2014

Mi querida familia,

So the rain has begun to pour, but our excitement for the work has never been greater! This week we have been able to see some progress with investigators and also with less actives. It makes me so happy to be able to see change in the people we are teaching. FInishing the week off with District Conference was beautiful . The spirit was so strong and the messages that  Pres. and Hermana Richardson shared along with Presidente & Hermana Montoya really touched not only my heart, but many of the members that came as well. Sometimes I start to lose hope about the growth in Ibarra, and then BAM, we are reminded that the Lord can do anything for us if we keep the commandments, faith, and support our leaders. Anyway! On to our investigators with baptismal dates!

Cristina Calvach: 11 de Octubre. This week we had a tour with Christina in the church, and she got to know a couple of the other young single adult members her age. I think that helped her a ton. At the end of the tour, Christina told us she still hasn`t asked God if the Book of Mormon is true, and that she`s scared a little bit of the answer, because it would signify that she would have to change. So she basically already knows the answer.. its true! We talked a lot about how the changes that she would have to make as a member, aren`t super drastic, and that she can still be her cute, adventurous self. That we can wear jeans, we can dance, we can hang out with our friends. And all of her knowledge that she already has about God and Christ, isn`t just going to be tossed aside, its going to be added upon. It was great to have one young single adult there, Gladys, to bearing testimony of her own conversion.

Roberto Santacruz: 11 de Octubre. Roberto is a little tough, at the beginning of our latest lesson he told us he wasn`t drinking, but he let it slip towards the end of the lesson that he did drink! And we were like, why didn`t you tell us!? But its allright. He truly has a desire to change., and he know the Church is true. Roberto also has a challenge with keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, He has to work on Sunday. We just have to really hit home this week with him, and tell him that in order to feel the influence of Christ in his life at the fullest he has to keep ALL the commandments . AKA Look for a different job. Ah I just love being so blunt.

Betty Salazar 11 de Octubre: Betty is our miracle neighbor. She came to both the sessions of district conference and told us that she never wants to miss a Domingo, becuase she felt like as she was listenting to the messages something warm was filling her bosom. She was able to recognize the Holy Ghost, and is excited for her baptism coming up. She tells us she feels like she is changing, and she feels so much closer to God as we continue visiting her. She has 3 sons, 2 of them being teenagers. She really wants them to be baptized as well. But its a little hard to find them and teach them. Betty told us that she will start by making the example and that she wants all her sons to feel this same type of peace.

Maire Bolaños: 11 de OCtubre . Maire accepted baptismal date this week. She is sort of an eternal investigator. Because she knows the church is true, but she just is sort of living in sin. I don`t understand it. But she`s living with her boyfriend, who is a member of the church! And he doesn`t want to marry her, and she doesnwant to marry him because it hurts her so much that he feels that way. Anyway. Gah. Where is the love? The Proclamation for the Family was written for a reason. She told us that by the 11th of October she will be living the law of chastity. We have to keep following up with her. And a lot of other missionaries have given up hope on her, but I feel something when we go to teach her, that tells me we just have to keep trying. Maire needs to progress and we are going to help her do it.

Anyways, its been a great week here in Ibarra, and I am so happy to start a new week! There are a couple families that we are teaching right now, that are very prospective. We just need to be able to fit everyone in the schedule! I feel like thats a little bit of challenge. There`s just so much to do! And so little time... I feel like the Lord is blessing us with so many people to visit we just have to be able to step up to the calling, and manage our time a little better with shorter lessons. I know this is the Lord`s work. And we are called to serve. The Lord walks before us, preparing the hearts of those we meet on the street, touching the hearts of those we teach. I wanted to share a quick story! I was on divisions with Hermana Sanchez this week (My first divisions by the way!!) And she is doing great. But we ran into a funny little old lady while we were contacting. She told us that she needed money because a dog bit her (some people are just so creative) but she wouldn´t show us the dog bite. We told her we didn`t have money but we had something even better! A message about Jesus Christ and how his power is restored on earth. As we started explaining the restoration, she just made a huge exasperated sigh and walked away without even saying I`m not interested. Hermana Sanchez and I just burst out laughing. We have officially discovered the best method to get people to go away when they beg us for money.

Also in district conference this week, our zone was asked to sing. Everyone knows I`m musical, so they were all like, Hermana Powley, tell us what to do. So I whipped out some of my choir director skills (which don`t exhist) and tried to make our zone sound good. Its a little tough with Latino Elders, but it turned out all right. I think it doesn`t matter if we sound like BYU concert choir or not. When we singpraises to God, especially as missionaries we are inviting the spirit and what everyone else hears is pure beauty.
To finish off, I would just like to share another cool experience. We are teaching a new family, La Familia Chamorro. The father one day just showed up at the church and said my son wants to be baptized, how can we do this? The father, Javier has been less active for quite sometime, so we set the goal to rescue him so he can baptize his son, who sadly is 8 and can`t be an investigator. but we are also teaching his wife who is not a member, and she`s actuallly a judge, so that pretty neat. We taught them the Restoration last night and as Hermana Pinto and I were teaching about the Book of Mormon, I shared my testimnoy about the moment when I prayed to know the book of mormon was true. When the words left my mouth, as I said, Sè que el Libro de Mormon es la verdad, I just felt a powerful peace come over me and the room. I almost shed a tear. It was something so simple, and something I always say, but for some reason this time the spirit was even stronger. Maybe each day as I am reading the book of mormon, I am strenghening that testimony, and each time I bear testimony its even stronger. If you have never prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Do it. This family is prepared. We are excited to keep teaching them. I love to be a missionary. I know that I am changing into a disciple of Christ. I love Him and I love this work. I also love you all! I hope you have an amazing week!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley


Week 37 - Ibarra, Ecuador - Sept 15, 2014

Mi Querida Familia,

Wow what a hectic day! We just got back from Quito because Hermana Pinto took the English Exam and we don´t have very much time to write!
Sorry this letter´s not as cool as some of the others I´ve written) The bus ride to Quito is delayed two more hours than usual because they´r fixing the main road. We drove 8 hours roundtrip through cute little Ecaudor pueblos and mountain tops. It was super pretty but alas... a lot of time. Also Rainy season has started which makes me super happy.. I love the rain because I can whip out my spiffy Eddie Baeur jacket and rainboots. .
Anyway! I´ll just get right to business!Investigators with fecha for October 11th:
Betty Salazar: Our neighbor who we started visiting last week and she is super humble and ready to accept the gospel. With her we jsut have to help her be more persistent with reading the Book of Mormon. She hasn´t come to church yet due to problems with health but we´re hoping that this week is gonna be the one!
Diego Bedoya: He is a friend of a lot of the young adults in the branch and we just foudn out he´s not member, he comes to church a lot. I think his biggest issue is that he doesn´t take things super seriously, and he doesn´t have very high self control. Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom are gonna be kind of tough for him. But we´re gonna visit and work hard with him so that hopefully he can really let the atonement work in his life.
Cristina Calvachi: Cristina is super sweet and she is 22 years old. At first she didn´t accept a baptismal date but this week she did!She says that she feel super peaceful and calm when she reads the book of mormon. So we will just keep watching her progress. This week we have planned to have a couple lessons with some of the other young single adults in the bracnh with Cristina. And hopefully that will just blossom her conversion.
And last but not least, a new family that we went to visit with a member, Betty Fuentes. The Family Salgadas. There´s 7 of them, but we could only teach 4 , The mother, Maria, and her 3 youngest kids, Leslie, Leidy, y Alejandro, And they all accepted baptismal date. This family is very special. Yesterday afternoon we were out doing visits with Hermana Betty adn all our appointments fell through, we decided to pray,a dn Betty said that she felt we needed to go visit an aunt of her husband (Maria) We were surprisingly close to her house. So we walked down, met the family,and had a super amazing lesson. The spirit was jsut so strong. Maria is recovering from breast cancer and she sort of has a really open mentality about the restoration. She really wants to be with her family forever. When we talked a little about the temple at the end of the lesson the room jsut got so stilla nd sweet. Hermana Pinto and I have very high hopes for this family! And they already have a strong freinds that will be a great support in the branch.

Our other investigators from last week, Roberto, Bilma, Luis, y Alejandra were not able to come to church this sunday for un forseen reasons which we shall hopefully be able to solve this week. Its kind of funny because we really hit it hard with Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy this week with jsut about everyone and they weren´t able to come. But asi es la vida. Its allright. I promise to myself that I will never miss a sunday... ever. Its soooo improtant to give that one day to the Lord and to rest from all our daily labors. God gives us instructions for our own good, and its the least we can do.. keep the commandments.

Any way! I would just like to finish with my testimony. That I know that obedience with exactness is what the Lord expects form us.He will pour blessings upon us if we can stay true to the guidelines he has given. I love to know that he also has provided us a way to be clean and free from guilt through his everlasting atonement. Hermana Pinto and I have been reading Jesus is the Chrsit together and it really just adds such a strong spirit to our studies and it makes us even more sure of the authority we hold as missionaries and disciples of the Son of God. Amo ser Misionera!!! (

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 36 - Ibarra, Ecuador - Sept 8, 2014

Mi Querida Familia,

This week has been one for the books! We had a great turn out on Sunday… finally after much hard work. One of our recent convert families brought a ton of friends to the church who are interested in the gospel. Their friends live in the other sector, but still, its amazing to see how the Lord works even with his newest members. I guess it makes sense because Christs apostles were basically recent converts if we really think about it. Also! Today we start another change, and I`m staying in Ibarra with Hermana Pinto! This is our 3rd change together and we are growing so much. It will be pretty cool now to just be normal companions instead of trainer and new missionary. I guess there really won`t be that much of a diference... just that now we lose that extra hour of studies that the new missionaries get for their 1st 12 weeks. Also more crazy news, I have been called as Hermana Leader, which basically means that I will go on divisions with all the sisters in the 5 zones of Imbabura in this change and for the rest of my mission to help them reach their full potential. I feel a little bit inadequate, but I know that the Lord will help me know how to act and what to say and how to help the other hermanas. Hermana Madrid, my first companion is Hermana Leader too, and I learned so much from her. As Hermana leaders we will get to see each other more often in the mission conferences for leaders, so I guess you could say I`m a little excited. Anyways! I`ll just get right to business now with our investigators with baptismal dates:

Bilma Patiño. Bilma is the sister of Andreina. We had a really interesting lesson this week with Bilma and Andreina, We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and at the end we were talking about baptism. Andreina started to get really defensive for some reason saying that she was already baptized and such. Every moment that she opened her mouth the spirit just left the lesson. And then the phone rang and she left the room to take the call. We started talking to Bilma about the Restoration and the importance of baptism. The spirit just whoosh.. came down, and Bilma accepted baptismal date for the 27th. She also came to church with her 6 year old son on Sunday. Her husband had to work all night and was too tired to come but they are a definite propsective family that could progress and be baptized. Whats even better was that Dirrian, Bilma`s son, was super wiggly during sacrament meeting but then realized that two of his schoolmates and friends were sitting 5 rows ahead of us, children of strong families in the branch. He was so excited and the member children even more. Dirrian ran off to primary like the happiest kid in the world with his member friends, and Bilma was able to stay for Gospel Principles and Relief Society. I`m so grateful for mini missionaries in the primary!

Roberto Santacruz. Roberto is a reference that we contacted earlier this week from a member that, I will admit, is slightly crazy. So we were a little hesitant to contact the reference. But to be honest, I am so glad we did! We contacted Roberto where he works. He is a money collector in a public bathroom of a catholic cathedral in or sector. Roberto was super excited that we came and brought out a couple stools so we could teach him, but in the bathroom. Probably one of the strangest places we have ever taught someone. After the message of the Restoration he accepted baptismal date for the 27th and also came to church on Sunday, man of his word. Roberto is very sweet and definitely prepared to receive the gospel.

Luis Cuenca. Luis is married to a less active and they have two little kids. Usually Luis travels to Guayacil because he is a fishermen, and is only home every 24 days. But this month, we are super lucky because he is home for all of September. He used to have a very hard heart but it is being softened because his wife and him almost separated but when we ran into them in the street a month ago (the same night that Marco didn`t show up to his baptism) we helped them get back in line through assigning them scripture study, prayer, and giving the family proclamation. Luis came to church with all his family on Sunday and really liked it.. it was our little miracle. He has a baptismal date set for the 27th of September as well. I just would like to say that I know that everything happens for a reason, and even though Marco put us through a lot of pain when he didn`t show up to his baptism, we were able to find this family.. .. and now in the long run Marco was baptized, and we have found even more people ready to receive the gospel! The Lord works in mysterious ways that sometimes we don’t understand at first!

Alejandra Vila. Alejandra is doing so great! She is reading the Book of Mormon, and even though we don`t get to see her a whole lot for her work, we leave her notes of encouragement when we go to visit Silvia. We are also teaching her little boys (Silvias grandkids) and even though they`re not 8 we talk about being obedient and loving others. I believe its helping little by little. These little boys love us so much, and Alejandra will be able to see a change in them and be fortified even more in the gospel. We will be having another lesson with Alejandra this weekend. She has baptismal date for the 11th of October.

What a fulfilling week. I know there are some weeks that it seems like we never see the fruits of our labors, but then there are weeks like this, when we can see progress! We did have a couple other familes fall through with us this week. But that’s OK, because it just lets us be able to find others that are ready to receive the gospel. I am so grateful to have another change here in Ibarra. Hermana Pinto and I are ready to work! I know that all of these miracles are only possible through fasting, specific prayer, diligence, obedience adn more than anything the help of our savior Jesus Christ. In my studies this week, I came across a little bit of revelation. I was studying about our purpose in life, as children of God and I was reading the 4th missionary, an excellent talk on missionary work. The answer I received was Change. Change is our purpose. To keep on changing and improving and never staying lukewarm. To choose the right and pass through challenges and be changed for the better. We are spirit sons and daughters of God and we have been placed in bodies that are always changing, this world is always changing, every day we are faced with little changes. If we do not strive to improve we are not fulfilling our purpose in life. And how do we improve? Through trusting in Christ and his atonement. He came to earth so we can repent and CHANGE. Those who say they can`t change are neglecting the purpose for which Christ came to earth, they`re neglecting their own innate potential. Anyway! Deep thoughts from Hermana Powley! I know that we can change first and formost from scripture study each day and personal prayer and obedience. Through doing these things we become more humble and diligent.

I invite us all this week to strive to make little changes each day. Maybe in moments where you have the decision to be angry and treat someone with less respect, you can choose to be like Christ and express kind words and love in exchange. Or maybe if we have the option to stand up for a standard, we can choose to lift our voices and not hide behind friends, phones, or fear. Let us be like Christ, and reach our full potential! I love you all so much, and I know that each day as we learn to trust more in the Lord, He is making us more into what He needs us to be.

Con Mucho Amor,
Hermana Powley


Week 35 - Ibarra, Ecuador - Sept 1, 2014

Mi querida familia,
This week just flew by! With divisions, and Hermana Pinto getting sick again, when we had time to be out, we worked so hard! I feel very satisfied with our work this week. Our numbers have improved so much, and we really have tried to talk with and contact every family we see! I`m kind of competitive, so when our District Leader told us that it was a competition with our companions, who could start the most contacts with families, I`ve really put in a little extra effort. Right now we only have one investigator with a baptismal date, Alejandra Vila, who has a date for the 10th of October. She came to church yesterday with Silvia, one of our recent converts, and her two sons. We didn`t have much time to talk with Alejandra afterwards because one of her sons was complaining so she left, but we have a cita with her on Tuesday to talk and see how she felt about churchJ It was just so great to see Silvia with her little row of family in the church. Proof that there truly are miracles.

We have other investigators and less actives with whom we are working, but the majority struggle with keeping the Sabbath day holy, working on Sunday, and so didn`t come to church. I guess the real problem is faith. If one has enough faith in the Lord that he will bless us with better circumstances as we strive to keep the commandments.. o sea to not work on Sunday, then we will have more investigators progressing. But that’s a little tough to just say to people.. You need to find a different job! We will keep praying about what we need to do to help our investigators progress.

I would like to share a cool finding experience. We were out contacting one day and I noticed a young lady trying to open her door, she looked a little annoyed and so instinctly I thought, lets just not contact her, but somehow I realized that I had already opened my mouth to say Buenas Tardes and we struck up a conversation. The door opened and out came her husband. We talked a little bit and found out that Paola actually is a member but has bee inactive for the past couple years due to some terrible girls in the young womens. She told us that she needed to talk with her husband in order to see if we could visit her. Usually that means.. "no" in Latino, but 30 minutes later we got a phone call and she told us to please come and visit her, her husband didn`t want to listen but she did. This week we have visited Paola a couple times and foound out that she had been praying very hard for the past couple weeks that God would show her what she needed to do. She wants to come back to church. She has a strong strong testimony and wants her husband to be baptized. Now we just have to get on his good side because he`s apostolico or something like that and thinks that every other church is of the devil, but little does he know!

The Lord is blessing us in so many ways in this sector. We have found so many new amazing people. Including a family of 5 that are practically neighbors to us. When we contacted them in the street, we started to share a short message about eternal families, and the Mother started to cry. We didn`t know why she was crying, and for the first time in my mission I felt a strong gift of discernment. I said out loud, you``ve lost a child haven`t you? And then her little son next to her, said yes. There used to be 6 of us, but 3 passed away. Apparently Mercedes, lost 3 children when they were babies and she is very interested to know how the family can be eternal. Last night we ran into them again in the street, this time with her husband. We felt inclined to leave them with a prayer, and by the end of the prayer her husband, Luis was also in tears. We have an appointment with them tonight. And I am super excited!

We also had divisions in Peguche, a cute town outside of Otavolo, and I was with Hermana Stevens. We found many families that day as well. If I learned one thing with Hermana Stevens its that I really just love to be a missionary. Hermana Stevens is wrapping up her mission and she is just so cute and works super hard! It was also nice to talk some English for a day. She also looks just like taylor swift! We really had a very spiritual day and contacted so many people, who were all indigenous.. which means that they are the remnants of the Lamanites! Whahoo! Just gathering the 12 tribes of Israel up here in the Andes Mountains! Hermana Stevens and I also went running in the morning to a waterfall, el manto blanco! It was beautiful! I just love Ecudaor!

I know as we follow the spirit the Lord places us where we need to be with the people that he needs us to find. There really are people who truly are suffering because they know not where to find the truth. I am so very grateful to be a missionary and to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I know who I am. I know God`s plan. And I`ll follow Him in faith. Have a great week everyone! Thanks for everything and don`t forget to pray!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley