Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 50 - Quito Bella Aurora - Dec 15, 2014

Hola Mi Querida Familia!

What a week! Started out with an all day leadership conference on Tuesday. That was fun but very long. Then, I found out that one of the sisters in our district went home due to a crazy health emergency, the doctors don´t know what's wrong. So her companion was left companionless. I was aware of all their investigators with fecha because Hermana Espinoza and I had accompanied them a couple times to help them in their sector. President was just going to send Hermana Aquino to San Carlos, which is very far from her sector, and it would have been like sector suicide. So I talked with him, and we got permission to be in a trio this week to help Hermana Aquino´s investigators. It was very rewarding although very crazy. Hermana Aquino´s sector is very close to ours so we stayed in my house and worked half day in El Eden and half day in our sector, Bella Aurora.
El Eden includes the US embassy, and many Mormons work in the embassy because so many just happen to be fluent in a foreign language because of living overseas for 2 years, so we had north american lunches all week long, and talked english with the members. We also went to 2 sacrament meetings and WOW, sacrament meeting in El Eden was like being in the states. I´ve never seen so many white people here in Ecuador. This week was like the first time in forever that I had a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream, heard little kids talk english, and just entered into fancy houses. It actually got to be kind of overwhelming for me I´m not going to lie, because we had hardly any time to work, traveling back and forth and such. But the blessings are real, the Lord has seen our efforts in serving Hermana Aquino, I know it because we were able to help many of her investigators come to church.

 Rocio Benalcazar continues to progress, and had her interview last weekend. Which means she is all set to be baptized this weekend. We are really excited and she is too. The members are doing a great job helping her feel like she belongs and loving her. Our plan this week is to just really focus on reading the Book of Mormon with her and helping her get even more excited for her baptism. I love Rocio so much. Rocio is our only investigator with fecha, but we also have Luis who possibly could get baptized next Saturday. Pray for him.

We also were able to teach Veronica and her kids this week. Veronica is so great, she is very humble and has seen many miracles in her life over the past couple weeks.  Sadly they weren´t home when we passed by to pick them up for church, but we will be visiting them soon. I have attached a cute picture of Veronica and her kids and the bishop's wife who accompanied us to teach them. Veronica´s kids are golden. They sit quietly and pay attention to our lessons, answer questions, and fight over who gets to pray:) 

This week I would just love to share my testimony about Humility. I never realized that it was something that I really needed to work on, but just because of that, it most definitely is. I was reading about humility in Preach my Gospel, and what struck me was that humility means we desire for and give all the honor to our Heavenly Father. How many times do we as missionaries get caught up with how many baptisms we have, or how many lessons we were able to teach, or any other little thing, so that we are able to say that we are excellent missionaries. The only reason we serve is to give all the honor unto our father in heaven. I love that. Sometimes when I get down, and think, well.. its been so many months since my last baptism, I´m thinking on the “me” spectrum. Not on God's spectrum.  True that we must pray for miracles and success.. but we should never never never take personal credit for such success. We are only missionaries because the Lord has called us. We are called to a higher expectation of living and obedience to be able to be super sensitive to the spirit. How good of missionaries are we? How much can God place his trust in us? God trusted his only begotten son Jesus Christ with the lives of all of us because Christ promised his father that “the glory and honor be thine.” God will trust us with the lives of others, to the extent of our humility.. our ability to forget ourselves and the credit. This knowledge is changing who I am. I love the gospel and I love the sweet and simple revelations we receive through prayer and diligent study. I love being a missionary.

Have a great week everyone!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley   


Week 49 - Quito Bella Aurora - Dec 8, 2014

Hola Mi Querida Familia!

What a beautiful week! I was able to see some real progress in our sector and I just can`t describe how much fun it is to be with Hermana Espinoza. She is just so focused in what really matters, and she has so much hope and faith for the work here. Its been such a breath of fresh air! Today we went to the Teleférico, which is the super cool lookout of Quito that you take a gondola to reach, and we went with a couple other Hermana`s from our zone. It was definitely breathtaking, and someone we met up there even asked me if we were polygamists…. Not a first. Anyway! We got really lucky because it`s been raining the past few days but today was clear! Yesterday there was a thunder and lighting storm.. And literally we thought we were going to die. There was lightning and then like half a second later thunder, which means that it was REALLY close. Also fun fact, speaking of dying… I finally took a test to see if I had things living in my stomach because I`ve been feeling a bit queasy for the past couple months… and truly I have a stomach infection AND a parasite… I`ve kind of been bragging a little about this because usually anyone else would be dying but I`m just normal! Blessings from serving the Lord.  Now I`m on pills so that’s a relief.

People to talk about….
Rocio Benalcazar, has a baptismal date for the 20th of December. She has actually progressed a lot this past week. We were able to finally have a tour in the church with her Saturday and she offered to say the first prayer. Right before the lesson Hermana Espinoza and I had started our fast, and we felt very peaceful and hopeful in what the Lord would provide in this lesson. After Rosio said the prayer, I had the impression to ask her how she feels when she prays. A very simple question in essence. But she just gave a sigh, and said she can`t describe it with words, and that lately she has been feeling even more peace, like she just wants to keep reading the Book of Mormon and learning more. She was able to recognize this as the Holy Ghost. It was really exactly what needed to be said out loud. I was a little worried before that Rocio wasn`t receiving a confirmation of the truth, but now I know that YES. She will progress and be baptized this month if we continue praying with faith.

Miracle Family. Luis y Cecilia Chicaysa Yalota accepeted a baptismal date for the 3rd of January. They are a new family, but its really just such a miracle of how we came into contact with them and they are so ready for the gospel it gives me goosebumps. Luis´ Dad, Jose was a contact that I made in Iñaquito 8 months back. We ran into him in this sector, went back to teach him and found his son Luis. We started talking to Luis and he invited us to come teach him in his home with his wife. We followed up, and met his wife and had an excellent first visit. We were able to learn that they want to have more faith in God, but they don`t feel like the Catholic Church is helping. They have been trying to have a child for 9 years, and are very sad that God isn`t answering their prayers. We were able to talk a lot about the gratitude and the things that really matter. Then we ran out of time so we set up a visit for the following day, taught them Lesson 1, and they totally understood everything! Accepted a baptismal date and are excited to learn! Hermana Espinoza and I really feel like they could be our family. We feel like we both have met them before and already feel a very strong love for them.
I would just like to share really quick what I have learned this week. I don`t think it ever really occurred to me how much Christ truly loves us. He eminates light and he came to earth to do the will of the father. We each can feel the same light when we study His words and His doctrine. That light is so easy to feel, because of His great love an atoning mercy. Christ came to suffer through many trials in order to succor His people. Nothing was done in vain. Let us spread this light to those who have forgotten to look up. It could be a smile, it could be a kind word, but let us show others how to access His light and feel even more of His love. That’s what we are doing as missionaries. Christ came to the world not to condemn it but to help us be saved. I am learning so much this Christmas season of patience, love, and grace. Our father in Heaven hopes that we may do His will just as Christ did. I was reading in Mark 3 and its true, if we do the will of our father, we are truly marked as brothers and sisters of Christ. I love Christmas! And I hope you all have some Happy Holidays!!

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley

Week 48 - Quito Bella Aurora- Dec 1, 2014

Hola Mi Querida Familia,

This week was a great week! Along with thanksgiving, I truly gained a testimony of the power of being grateful. Sometimes not everything goes the way  we want it to go, and instead of being hard on ourselves we just gotta dig deep and say all the things we are grateful for.. out loud! Success isn't about numbers, success is about happiness. Happiness comes when we are grateful. Lets just be grateful and successful then! Last week we didn’t have anyone with baptismal date. But its OK! This week we are going to rock it! Today we had changes and I bid farewell to my dear Hermana Dillman, but now I am with Hermana Espinoza. She is sooo great! She’s from Nauvoo, Illinois, and is an amazing missionary. I met her when we took the bus to Quito a couple months ago to pick up our daughters, We both trained missionaries fromt he same group, and so we got to know each other before. Hermana Espinoza hails from a family of 12, and  she is the oldest sibling. She is very patient and humble. I am so excited to be with her!

Rosio is still going strong, her baptismal date just fell through because her sister was hospitalized on Sunday and she went to go see her instead of to church. That was a real bummer. But Rosio keeps reading and praying, and wants to be baptized.  Last week she even received a priesthood blessing for her bad knees because she took a bad fall a couple days before. That was quite amazing. Our ward mission leader who is a convert of 1 year, recently received the melchezedek priesthood and came with us to give her a blessing. The Elders Quorum President also came to accompany him and helped him out. The Elders Quorum President, Luis, is also a convert of 4 years. The cool thing about this branch is that everyone is a convert. And the branch is very strong, a branch that has truly felt and experienced a great change of heart as the Lamanites once did in times of old.  We hope to visit Rosio tonight and challenge her to be baptized for December 20th.

Luis Guevara. He’s great. He is reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and going to church. He says he most certainly will be baptized, but that the month of December is just too hectic for him and he wants to be baptized in the new year. We need to pray and fast for him that the spirit will touch his heart enough to commit to a baptismal date. I fear that perhaps he will become an eternal investigator. He knows the book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, just maybe now he needs to show true fruits of repentance. We are going to focus on the doctrine of Christ this week with him.

This week, Hermana Dillman and I were brainstorming on how we can help the recent converts in our sector. There are probably about 12 of them, and many have inactivated. It makes me really sad. We have visited them several times and have been unable to gain their full trust. I think the majority feel guilty, or just have let that great and spacious building steal their gaze from the fruit of the tree of life. We have decided to go about teaching them in a new way. We will go and visit our inactive converts with the sole purpose being to read the Book of Mormon with them. Then we will testify and invite them to pray. If one prays and reads each day, they will be excited to go to church every week. That is the key to progressing investigators, and the key to conversion. Prayer and scripture study bring about true humility and repentance.  

Thanksgiving was fabulous. Definitely a thanksgiving to remember. Hermana Dillman and I woke up early to make pie and pie and pie and pie. It was delicious. Our zone enjoyed it. We just stuck the apple pies in the church oven during district meeting and the whole church started to smell of cinnamon and pie crust. Every companionship brought something to share, We had choclo (corn on the cob), peas and carrots, turkey sandwiches with mayonaise, apple pie, banana cream pie, mashed potatoes, and apple soda. It was great. Then after we went to eat even more with our mamitas. You could say we were stuffed. Then, after the second lunch, Hermana Dillman and I went home to change because we had a service activity! We went to help our less active who is returning to church, Ana Maria, clean out her yard. It was really hard work. We were cutting grass with spades. Imagine that. Sometimes you just take for granted lawn mowers in the states. But it felt really good to serve! Ana Maria truly is one of our miracles, she keeps progressing. Its been so cool to be a part of her rescue.  

I am so grateful for the scriptures and for the gospel in my life. I love the tiny blessings we receive each day, even the cool wind that blows in our faces as we wait for the buses in the sun. I am grateful for the power of the Holy Ghost. When it can be felt in a lesson by the investigator and missionary, we are successful. That is the key. I know that through faith and repentance we draw more and more close to our Savior. And I am so grateful for that process. I am so grateful to be a missionary. 

Con Amor
Hermana Powley
 But here's an Ecuadorian Turkey!