Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 43 - Quito, Bella Aurora - October 27, 2014

Mi Querida Familia,
This week has been a great start to a great change. I´m very excited to be here with Hermana Dillman, she is very obedient, and we have seen many miracles since last Monday. We have a few investigators with baptismal dates, many prospective families to teach, and we are excited to see some progress here in the branch. Our goals this week include helping all the investigators know the church building by giving them a tour. The church actually is the 3rd floor in a building complex, and there isn´t any huge sign, so it’s a little tough to explain how to find it. Also this weekend we had stake conference in the stake building which is about an hour from our sector so it was tough to get people to come. But stake conference was wonderful. Actually, its the same stake that I started my mission in, and the stake building was my first church building, in Iñaquito I got to see many people we worked with in that ward (members, less actives that are now active, Francisico and even Hermana Madrid who also is the Quito Stake but ina different ward too)
The best part was that we were able to sit in after the conference during Franciscos Ordentaion to the Mellchezedek Preisthood. It was so amazing to be there with Hermana Nadrid as we watched Francisco humbly fold his arms to receive the priesthood adn be ordained as an elder. Tears welled up in my eyes as we were able to see the fruits of all our labor in Iñaquito. After his ordination, Francisco was able to join in on the circle to set apart other Hermanos that we worked with, one recent convert, and a less active. It was a huge blessing to be there for Francisco. The spirit was so strong. Wow I just love being a missionary.

Fruits of Weekly Planning: In weekly planning this week, we were looking over many of the prospective investigators, old contacts, and we found a family, The Familia Cevallos Peña, we called them and set up an appointment. Getting to their house was a little tricky, because they live in the middle of Ecuadorian farmland, but when we taught them it was amazing. They are a family of 7, and the 4 that have the age for baptism, Margot, Jose, Melanie, Aseal, accepted baptismal date for the 22ndof November. Margot told us in the second visit that she prayed about Joseph Smith abd felt a strong peace come over her and she is eager for her baptismal goal. Her husband Jose feels the same. They are a very humble family. They live in a tiny little room, probably the smallest house I´ve ever seen here on the mission. We learn what really matters here thorugh seeing the lives of some of the families in this sector. Jose for example had an illness in his leg, and instead of getting the surgery, because he didn´t have enough money, he chose to amputate. He is a very spiritual man and very humble and believing. I feel so blessed to know this family and we are excited to see their progress.
Vamos a Ver: We have another invesetigator Marialena Yaselga, who has been investigator for a while. She is super great, its just that she doesn´t come to church. We are going to give her one last week to come to church, and then we will let her go if we don´t see progress. Marialena is excellent though other than that challenge to get to church. She reads the book of Mormon, prays and knows its true. Hopefully we can help her to overcome this struggle to get to church Sunday morning. We will pass by her house this weekend.

Miracle Contact: After one lesson with Marialena we were walking onto the road from her fornt yard and we ran into Lydia. We contacted her even though she looked like she was in a hurry, and we found out that she was best friends with a member from her work until her friend left on the mission and they lost contact. Lydia is 31 and has 2 little girls, Melanie and Jenny. We set up a return visit because Lydia was very curious about the church and wanted to know more. Her return visit was yesterday. Usually with return visits from contacts they fall through, but this time she was waiting for us. She had read the proclamation for the family and said that she really liked it. We began to share lesson 1 the restoration. Lydia showed so much interest, had questions, and by the time we were relating the words of Joseph Smith about the first vision, the spirit was so intense. As I bore my testimony about Joseph Smith, tears welled into my eyes, and usually that doesn´t happen. But the spirit was testifying through my words in such a strong way. Without doubting, Lidia accepted baptismal date for the 22ndof November. It was amazing. We want to talk with her husband this next visit that we have with her and set a date for him and her daughters as well. When we talk with Lidia, I feel like I am talking to a future member of the church. Its super amazing, she has so much energy and excitement to know the truth.
Anyway, its been a great week. I am so grateful for every opportunity we have to testify of the truth. Truly testimony is power. The holy ghost speaks as we open our mouths. I was thinking, God can command any object, the whole world just by the power of his word or his mouth. And he has called us as missionaries as well to open our mouths and preach repentance. He has given us a form of the power that he himself uses. The power of the word. It gives me such a cool feeling, an honor, to know that he has trusted us with his sacred evangeliio. Sé que soy una representante de Jesucristo. Esoty viviendo cada momento en gracias por esta gran oportunidad de predicar el evangelio y ayudar a los que estan buscando al venir a Cristo. Estoy contenta de estar así. No puedo imaginar mi vida diferente.

Have a wonderful week everyone! I love you all:)

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 42 - NEW AREA - Quito City - Bella Aurora - 20 Oct 2014

Hola Familia y Amigos!

And so I have been changed to Bella Aurora 2 in the Zone Quito Este!! It's gonna be an amazing time here. Hermana Dillman is my new companion and she rocks! She hails from Spanish Fork, Utah, and Utah State University. My first North American companion. Its gonna be weird to talk in English, every now and then, I also don´t think she eats a whole lot. Hopefully she doens´t judge me, I really like to eat. She seems really great and I´m excited to get to know her a little better. To start out my letter, I would just like to give a quick recap of Central 2, with our investigators. And I would like to say how grateful I am to have been to be with Hermana Torres. She has been such a good help´for me and a great example. We really ended up being close friends despite being together only 3 weeks. She´s going to train this change! Wahoo! shes gonna rock. I am so grateful for her faith and hope that she spread through our prayers in order to see miracles. I am going to miss Ibarra so much. I loved it there. We had 2 investigators with baptismal date. Jhony and Malena.

 Jhony was a miracle de verdad. I contacted him and his wife on the bus a couple weeks back, and turned out they lived in the sector of the Hermanas from Ejido. And so we passed the reference. A couple weeks passed by. We were outside of the capilla yesterday waiting for investigators to show up, and then, this special couple Johny and Nichole, passed by and asked us what hour started the meetings. We told them ya mismo! and then we steared them into the sacrament room. I didn´t recongize them at first as the couple I had contacted, but later I asked them if we had met before, and they did remember. I was filled with such a great joy, that I had made a small contact, almost insignifant that led to grand things. Turns out, they moved and now live in our sector!! Blessings or what? Jhony, we went to his house later that evening to teach him, and he accepted baptismal date, we gave a camino de fe, book of mormon, and have a family home evening planned with him and his wife (who actually is a less active who moved from the Oriente) with a member on tuesday. Its so sad that I won´t be able to be there to help them progress, but I know they are in good hands.

Malena, still has baptismal date for the 8th of November, she has great desires to repent and be baptized, but sometimes school projects on sundays keep her from going to church. I hope we can really help her understand the improtance of keeping the sabbath day holy this week (slash, Hermana Torres and her new companion will help her)

As for Betty, she was not able to be baptized this week, because of work conflicts and she wasn´t able to reiceive her interview . Then we passed by her house sunday morning a couple hours before church, and she was getting ready, doing her hair, wearing a dress and everything ready to go. But she didn´t show up to church. We have no idea what happened. Keep praying for Betty, that we will be able to solucionize her problems that our still yet a mystery, We have full hopes that she will be batpized this weekend if we can contact her. But then again, here I am in a new sector! SO with full hopes in this new sector we will see miracles too!

Anyways these 6 months in Ibarra have been teh best. I have grown so much and learned the importance of honor. When we truly honor God and his plan and his commandments, there is power. One cannot exercise the power of God without honoring his name. Every object on earth honors Gods word, and for that God could create it. If we honor Him, he can transform us into being what we need to be in order to reach ultimate happiness. But what does that mean, honor? What do we honor, on this earth? Sometimes we honor more what others say, how many baptisms someone has, how well they speak the language, how much service they do. But when it comes down to everything, is the one we honor most, our very own father in heaven? I hope so. Because only then, are we given power from on high. Even though I don´t posess the priesthood, I can feel its power.  I am so happy. I know that the Lord is watching over us. And I know that he is protecting us. Everytime I read the BOok of Mormon, I know that I must continue to be fiel, keeping every one of the commandments and mission rules with exactness, even with love. I had a huge realization this week. We must act and obey, not just because we fear God and we know the commandmetns are right, but because we love God. I realized that prayer is the most powerful when we recongize the true love we have for our Father thanks to all he has given us. If we love God with all our heart, mind, and might, we have a clear way to return to His presence. This was my week, I hope the week that comes serves to be just as wonderful:)

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 41 - Ibarra, Ecuador - 13 Oct 2014

Mi Querida Familia,

This week I have felt so blessed, God really answers prayers and loves us so much. We have been praying to find new families and this past week we have found 3! I know that if we continue hoping, praying for success in their progress many miracles will be seen here in Ibarra. Even though I`m pretty sure this is my last week in Ibarra I am going to work super super hard in the few days I have left. And nobody knows when it comes to President who stays and who leaves. But I have been here for 6 months so that's a little wild. 

We have a baptism this upcoming Saturday! Betty Salazar, we were able to find her again and visit her last week, many times. She is ready to be baptized. Probably the best miracle ever. She has been reading the book of mormon, praying, and even talking with her friends about the church. Her youngest son Jair even wants to be baptized as well but sadly he`s 6 and has to wait a couple more years. Also, a new member, Amanda, moved in close by to Betty and she also is a single mom and has a son close to Jair`s age, coincidence? I think not. Sadly after one lesson we had with Betty and Amanda, Betty`s crazy dog that happens to be named Mate (short for Mateo but also means kill in command form) bit Amandas son. Betty and Amanda truly bonded as they rushed him to the hospital to get shots etc. Amanda checks up on Betty now, they hung out after church, and are going to be friends forever:)

Also yesterday, another miracle. We had just prayed to know where we should go because an appointment fell through, and Hermana Torres wanted to go check up on an investigator that lived close by. As we were walking to her house, we saw a young mother and her 3 children walking up the road, we contacted them and it turned into lesson 1 the Restoration. When we got to talking about the book of mormon and how it is evidence that God has restored his priesthood power here on the earth through a living prophet, we asked Jenny (the young divorced mother) what she would be willing to do if she came to know the book was true. She quickly gave us an answer that I had never heard before, she said she would share it with all her neighbors and friends and make them read it. Jenny and 2 of her children later accepted baptismal dates for the 8th of November. Hermana Torres and I afterwards were talking about the answer she gave us to our question. We both decided that this was the best answer anyone could give, it is a sign of true repentance. Like Alma, Alma the younger, the sons of Mosiah, and even King Lamoni after they received a knowledge of the truth, the first thing they did was share and teach others what they knew. Jenny and her family are the type of people that I would like to call "pure of heart". We have a lesson with them on tuesday in the house of a member whom they also know.

Anyway this was our week! And it was great:) Our other investigator Malena wasn`t able to come to church yesterday and so her baptismal date fell, but she`s still doing great and we will have to change her baptism for the 1st of November, but its for the best because its a little difficult to teach her because she always goes to study groups for her high school, and hardly has time on weekdays... reminds me a little bit of me in my senior year of high school actually. Changing her baptismal date will give us more time to teach. Also fun story.... 
 We were out contacting one day when we came across a very awnry evangelico man. He acted super smart and told us that he knew a ton about our church and that women didn`t have the authority to be missionaries. We were like whoa excuse us.. look who`s talking... except we didn`t really say that we tried to be nice. I don`t htink he even told us his name. But I asked him if he had read the book of mormon and he said no, and I said well you can`t bash on us until you`ve read it. (also in a nicer way) And then left him with a pamphlet and he insisted that we take a few of his pamphlets. So we graciously did and  I shoved them into a small pocket of my backpack after he closed the door. After that, our day really just didn`t go that well. We were rejected and all our citas fell. Even up until the point that we passed by one the less actives that we have been visiting for awhile, ready to be reactivated....and boom.. he was smoking. (we didn`t actually see him smoking but I called him and the way he talked you could just tell he was stoned) I wanted to cry. And mybe a tear or two escaped but Hermana Torres started talking about Ammon and Alma when they went to teach the zoramites and we just kept walking. Suddenly we reached another street that we wanted to contact and I realized that the evangelico pamphlets were still in my backpack. I grabbed them out of my bag and threw them in the trash. Then everything turned around. We found a new family, and the spirit just sort of descended over us. Coincidence?Maybe. But I learned a lesson. The spirit can`t dwell in unclean backpacks. There is a lot of garbage that people give us, maybe its not always pamphlets that teach false doctrine, but its provactive pictures, swear words and crude comments on social media, negative comments about others. What do we need to do to turn our day around if its not going to well? Stand up for the truth, throw away the garbage, block it, and let the spirit bring peace and happiness to our hearts.  I invite us all to remember who we are and who we stand for, the Living Christ. We must be diligent and faithful and then miracles truly come, starting with our own attittudes. Amo ser misionera, y heck yes tenemos la autoridad de predicar el arrepentimiento. 

Con Mucho Amor
Hermana Powley 

PS! I saw Herman Madrid this week! It was magical:) Mother daughter status para siempre! I would send a photo if this computer would let me. Next week:)

Week 40 - Ibarra, Ecuador - October 6, 2014

Hola Mi Querida Familia,

          This week has been abnormally sunny, hot, and sweaty, we were tricked two weeks ago when it rained everyday and we thought winter was coming. But it really has been a good week, I love being here with Hermana Torres. She is very diligent and passionate about the work and we are going to see miracles in these next couple weeks. She was able to learn the sector super quick and do a great job even when I had to go off to Otavalo for divisions with Hermana Nogales. I am grateful to have Hermana Torres. Conference was also so wonderful. It helped me realize that we always need to be receiving personal revelation. We can receive revelation that confirms the words of our leaders, and also revelation from the scriptures. I loved Richard G Scott´s talk when he was talking about reading the scriptures daily, and he just looked at us all with a stern gaze and said, ”Do it!” It`s what I wish I could tell all our less actives and investigators. It was so cool to hear such a direct order from an apostle of God, which is basically from God, helping me realize that to read the scriptures daily truly is a commandment from Him. Anyway, we had a miracle this week.
        On Thursday we were knocking doors and got to know Melena Teràn. She is 17 and accepted the Restoration on the spot. She is super sweet and she told us that she felt like we came for a divine reason… well she was right about that. We challenged her to baptism, and she accepted just like that to be baptized the 25th of October! She even told us she snated to serve a mission. Almost too good. We gave her a Camino de Fe (its a like a goal sheet we use to remind an investigator of their baptism, you mark it as you go to church, read, learn and prayer) and a Book of Mormon, and she was like thankyou so much, I love to read! She even came to conference and brought a friend. We have already introduced her to a couple of the young women who live close to her and we have plans to teach her in the church building this week along with her friend Jefferson. Melena was an answer to a fast and we are praying that she will be able to reach her baptismal date.
        On the other hand, we haven`t been able to find Betty Salazar this whole week. We have been calling her, passing by her house every night, and to no avail. She finally answered her phone Sunday morning and told us she was out of town with some friends. Knowing that, we changed her baptismal date to the 18th of October and are praying to be able to find her this week to help her progress. The hard part is she just started up on a new job and there´s no really sure hour when she gets back to her house. It drives me crazy the type of opposition Satan puts in some peoples way.
          We also had the privilege to teach Christina Calvachi`s sister,  Patricia, who is 20 years old. We were actually passing by to visit Christina but she wasn`t home, so we taught Patty. Patty has actually been to church a couple times before knowing us, she had a  friend who invited her but long since has moved away to Quito. Patty wants to learn more and we had a very spiritual lesson with her about the Restoration and the importance of baptism by one who has authority. She accepted baptismal date for the 1st of November. Now we will continue to teach Patty, Christina, and their other sister Gabriela. Its an exciting time for the Calvachi family.
     I am so very grateful to be on the Lord`s errand here in Ibarra. Sometimes I get hard on myself because our numbers don`t always display our efforts. But  I know that this church is not a church of statistics. Its about changing lives. We can change lives here in the mission, starting with our own. I know that I have changed for the better her on the mission and I am excited to keep progressing and become more Christlike. We learn new things from each companion, each division, and each lesson. I love being a missionary! This morning I took a moment in the end of my personal study to just take off my name badge and look at it. A rush of thoughts came to my mind. I thought of my Mom`s nametag, and of all the future Hermana Powley nametags (from sisters and cousins) I thought of Christ and who I represent and why I am here. It was a great moment.  I never want to lose sight of what really matters here in the mission, Jesus Christ. And I guess in life, I never want to lose sight of my Savior.Let us all continually seek revelation through knowing our grand potential in the sight of God and the beautiful gift of the Atonement. 

Que todos tengan una linda semana llena de chispas y sonrisas:)  Les quiero!  

Con Amor
Hermana Powley  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 39 - Ibarra, Ecuador - Sept 29, 2014

This week has been a great week. Starting off the week with a special conference for the leaders in Imbabura on Tuesday, another conference in Otavalo with all the missionaries in the area with President on Wednesday, a birthday party for Hermana Pinto on thursday with the zone, divisions with Hermana Berrospi in Quinchuqui (a little bit outside of Otavalo) on friday, and the women's general conference on Saturday (in Spanish---amazing the difference in what I now understand from what I could understand 6 months ago). What a week! Even more so, we got a call last night, (sunday) saying that we had emergency changes, and that Hermana Pinto was to go to Otavalo to be companions with Hermana Tarax, and my new companion is Hermana Torres. It almost sounds like a joke but it's not.
After all this time together, I would just like to say that I am so proud of my mission daughter, Hermana Pinto. We have grown so much in miracles, in faith, and in love. She has helped me be more diligent and she has always been such a  strong support. I am so grateful that we were able to be companions for her birthday last monday. Don´t worry, I made her french toast breakfast in bed, cake with candles, and cute little notes. It was fun:) Even more so, we were able to really have a weekend of miracles, 22 lessons over the span of 3 days. I´m glad we were able to finish things off together with a boom. Now I am super excited to be with Hermana Torres, we have a lot in common, she´s from Honduras and a family of 10.. all members. I love it, because she has the same accent as Hermana Madrid and I miss that accent. I know I sound a liitle creepy but its true. Hermana Torres is 20 and loves to run and eat healthy, she also really wants to learn English and likes to sing, I know we are just going to have so much fun. Hermana Torres and I are going to rock Ibarra right out of its socks. Anyways this week we have 2 investigators with baptismal dates.

Betty Salazar: Betty recently got a job working as nanny for a family where her son goes to school. Its perfect because she doesn´t have to work on Sundays and she´s happier. She´s also been reading the Book of Mormon, and even though she wasn´t able to come to church yesterday because of an emergency trip to Otovalo she still looks good for the 11th of October. We have a lesson with her tonight with a member, and I hope everything will go well. She accepted the Word of Wisdom with shining colors and she feels good about her baptism.

Daniel Ipyalez: Daniel is a contact that Hermana Pinto made on the bus when we were on divisons yesterday afternoon with some members. Hermana Pinto taught him about the restoration and he accepted a baptismal date fro the 18th of October right there on the spot. Even though I don´t know him yet, I have faith that he will progress. He is an Evangelist that feels like he´s missing something. He said that he wants to feel sure about his religion and right now he doesn´t feel so sure. He accepted the challenge to pray and read the book of mormon. Anyway we have an appointment with him this Wednesday, hopefully we will be able to find him because he lives in a little pueblo up on the mountain, but with God everything is possibleJ

Anyways I also would like to share a little story that left me amazed. Yesterday I was on divisions with a member of the Sagrario Branch who was accompanying me to make a few visits. And we were trying to get back to the church to meet up with Hermana Pinto when the bus just wouldn´t stop for us. We had to wait 20 more minutes for a bus that finally stopped. On this bus, sitting across from us there was a young couple with a baby. I was a little tired and  the couple was busy talking and kissing. But their little baby was just staring at me. I smiled and waved and he smiled back, his parents didn´t seem to notice. I looked away and then back, the baby was still staring at me. I don´t know how to describe it, but I felt as if the small little baby that couldn´t be more that 8 months old recognized me as a messenger and disciple of Christ. I could feel it from his penetrating gaze.I know its sounds weird but you just had to be there. The baby seemed to be saying, I have come into this world to be a part of the Lord´s army, and you need to talk to my parents. I thought it was just my imagination so I looked away again, only to see out of my peripheral that the baby frowned at me and looked away too. I can´t describe what I then felt as I opened my mouth to talk to his parents. And you´ll never beleive it...his mother told me that she was a member of the church but had fallen away. She told me about how her family was active but she was living with her boyfriend. She later expressed how she wanted to have an eternal family and she wanted her boyfriend to get baptized. Whoa. It was pretty amazing. Sadly they don´t live in our area, but we passed the reference to the Hermanas de Ejido. Anyways, I am happy for that little baby who was just so persistent, and I´m glad that I was able to open my mouth. I will never let a time pass when I don´t open my mouth to talk to the people.

I know that the gospel is true. I know that we are set apart as missionaries by the holy priesthood of God, and that we as members and missionaries alike have a light. Maybe not everyone notices, but some do (like little babies on buses). I am so grateful for the small miracles that God shows us everyday. I know that if we continue in diligence we will be able to see our investigators progress. I love to be a missionary. And I am so excited to start another week, preparing for general conference to be able to recharge and reevaluate. I love to be a part of this grand restoration of the gospel of Christ!!
Gracias por todo de su apoyo y ayuda a través de oraciones y obra misional personal en sus propias barrios y hogares. Sigan esforzando al leer las escrituras y fortalecer sus testimonios en Cristo y en esta plan de salvación. ¡Sean preparados para la conferencia esta fin de semana con preguntas especificas! ¡Tengan una feliz semana!!l

Con mucho amor
Hermana Powley