Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Week 56 - Quito Bella Aurora - Jan. 26, 2015

Familia --

As we start the last week of January, I am blown away by how fast time goes by. This week was up and down and up again. Even though we still don`t have investigators progressing we have high hopes for this week! There are a couple families that we have found and contacted this week, plus a couple old families that we have re-found, that we are excited to teach this upcoming week. I will be honest, this week was a little bit of a sick week. I got strep throat wednesday morning and trudged through the day triumphantly until 9 pm, then thursday I was a dead log. We called the nurse assistant and then Hermana Hancey the mission nurse. She scheduled an appointment with a doctor in the Hospita Metropolitano, where for the first time I had a doctor`s appointment in Spanish (crazy.. there are still so many words in Spanish I need to learn), and was given a lovely shot of Penicilin. Thursday was basically a lost day other than a couple contacts we made on the bus and taxi rides. Planting Seeds. Friday and Saturday were much better days.

Real quick.. the miracles of the week.. Branch Conference. We worked really hard with members to help us visit all the recent converts who aren`t going to church. And members of the branch council truly went above and beyond to help the inactive converts come to church this sunday. The past month we`ve only had 1 or 2 converts coming to church a week (out of 13) But this sunday we had 4! The best part is, Mariana and Alexandra Altamirano came, and they had told us a little more than a month ago that they would not go back to church. With much love and care, we were able to help them see reason and return. Jenny Simbaña, another recent convert, came to church too, she is practically inactive, but the relief society president along with others in the branch have been helping her and she came on sunday! Rocio is doing great as well. We can count on her and her calling is underway!

Branch conference was amazing. I left church on sunday feeling so edified. One of the speakers from the stake presidency made a really cool connection. He talked about Cain and Able. They both gave sacrifices to the Lord in the beginning. But they gave different types of sacrifices. Able understood what God asked and Cain did not. Cain gave what was easier, just a few plants. This simple mistake, not sacrificing enough, culminated into all that we know Cain famous for. Now we live in modern times. Christ came. He told us that we no longer should sacrifice animals but a broken heart and contrite spirit. Now the great question: Are we giving a partial sacrifice or do we understand the nature of the sacrifice Chrsit asks? Are we like Cain or Able? Be honest with yourself. Are we holding back part of our heart? Do we let selfishness, envy, and pride get in the way of truly repenting each day? Are we giving everything? I know that I still need to give more. His talk definitely got me thinking. We must MAGNIFY our callings in every moment. Not just our callings as members or missionaries of the church, but also our first and foremost callings as daughter, son, brother, sister, mother, father, or spouse. I invite everyone reading this to make a self inventory of how much we are giving to the Lord.

We have focused on our diligence this week and it has payed off. Maybe all our contacts didn`t come to church, but the Lord blessed us with these sweet recent converts with whom we´ve been trying to help for all my time here in Bella Aurora, and they finally came to church. I know that everyday as we continue to work and be focused 100% on the mission, we will be blessed and be able to see the changes in those we teach. Its not easy, but being a disciple of Christ isn`t supposed to be. I know that He lives. I know that he calls prophets. I know that the truth is restored and we are called to declare it from the rooftops.. maybe not literally. The field is white and ready to harvest. Have a great week everyone!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 55 - Quito Bella Aurora - Jan. 19, 2015

Mi Querida Familia,

"Mas tu voz escucharè, `calma yo te guiarè.´" This week I have been able to learn even moreso that we need to rely on the Lord in EVERYTHING we do. I was reading in Luke when Christ tells his disciples and the Farisees, "Remember Lots Wife." Lets think about that warning for a moment. Lot`s wife looked back. Even more than looking back we can understand that her heart was placed in the things of the world. She looked back to her past. As missionaries and members of the church we can never look back. We can`t look back, changing our view towards the world, we can`t look back and be focused on past mistakes or choices. That's why Christ came and paid the price, so we don`t have to look back. We need too look forward. To the promised land.  As of right now we don`t have any investigators coming to church. But today we are not looking back. We have goals and a new week. Our teaching pool is dwindling but its a blessing in disguise. We fasted to be able to find families that progress. When we drop investigators its like finding a new opportunity at the same time. A new opportunity to teach those who are ready and prepared to make changes in their lives. And we won`t be able to find these people if we don`t depend in El Gran Maestro, Jesucristo, or in other words lets all look forward! 

We still have miracles everyday. On Wednesday we had a visit with a family that we visit on and off, the Familia Males, and we taught the Restoration so well until they understood that they needed to be baptized by someone who had the authority. I will admit I was a little nervous for this lesson. I just remember praying in my heart that God would give me and Hermana Espinoza strength. And he did. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. We challenged them to pray and see if Joseph Smith was a prophet. And they said they would come to church, but the adversary works hard too, and they had to go to Otavalo last weekend. We jsut have to shelter them this week so that they can go to church next week. But this family is solid. they have so many desires to change and a genuine curiosity. 

Also our recent convert, Rocio came to church on sunday and a member of the stake high council came to speak. He came to greet us the missionaries before the meeting and told us he was going to talk on family history. But when he got up to talk, he just testified of tithing and temple attendance. It was inspired and the spirit was there. After all three meetings we started talking to Rocio and she was full of questions about how to start paying her tithing so she could attend the temple with the branch at the end of February. Miracles! She is the best. We love Rocio. We are also teaching her son, but he disappeared off the face of the planet this weekend so he couldn`t come to church. Oh well. We`ll get him next week.

This week we had an amazing Capacitacion Especializada (Special Traning). We rewatched Lynn G. Robbins and Jorge Klebingat`s talks from General Conference, and talked about diligent repentance. I NEED to be more diligent. I need to let virtuos thoughts of diligence garnish my thoughts unceasingly :) I have set a goal to repent for specific things in my prayers each night. I will meditate on what I need to change at the end of the day and write in my prayer journal (idea tagged from Herman Richardson) what I need to repent for. That way we will be able to target our progress in a more thoughtful and thorough way.  We make mistakes each day, and without repentance we aren`t asking for Christ`s help in the changing process. The purpose of our life is to repent.  Also recently, we as a mission have been memorizing The Living Christ.. it has been such a blessing. No matter what people say, I can always testify of the savior and the vocabulary from The Living Christ helps me testify with even more power and concrete faith. So great to use the words of apostles and prophets when testifying of Christ, which just proves through the spirit that Christ`s true church has been restored! I know that Christ is at the head of this church. I know that we are endowed with power to preach the restored truth to the world. We are serving our fellow man, and we are serving God. I love being a missionary!

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Week 54 - Quito Bella Aurora - January 12, 2015

And another change begins! I am staying here in Bella Aurora with Hermana Espinoza, I´m excited to keep working with her and to reach some new goals. Also, I´m excited for all the new Hermanas in our zone. It will be nice to help Hermana Corne, Hermana Saragoza, and Hermana Wight get accommodated to their new sectors, and two of the other Hermanas in Quito are training...what fun!

This week we still don´t have investigators that have accepted baptismal dates. That doesn´t mean we´re not challenging people to be baptized, just that many people aren´t ready yet. I feel like as I start this change, patience is a virtue. Sometimes when people just don´t want to act, it nags on me.. and I just want to change their attitudes! But we can´t do that, we just have to respect and invite and pray with faith that God will lead us to those who are prepared. I will be working on the Christ like attribute of patience this change as I worked and focused on humility the change before. I can sense a difference. When we make goals to become more like Christ, he is beside us cheering us on. You are all invited to choose an attribute for this month to develop, through scripture study, prayer, and action. Send feedback! If anyone knows of good talks on patience and hope, send them my way!

This week every time we stood up and testified of the restoration, my testimony grew that much more. This week we have strived to follow the spirit in everything we do. We had an impression to focus on the Doctrine of Christ with everyone  (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Confirmation, and Enduring to the End) Ironically, many times this week, investigators with whom we have been teaching lately told us to stop pressuring them, and we´ve had to leave quite a few. It just goes to show, that the adversary works hard, He tells people that its enough to simply believe Christ exists... that no matter how one acts in this life we all will reach heaven. A great lie. Many place their fear of man before their fear of God. We all face moments in our lives where we have to be brave. At times when pleasing God is socially unaccepted, at least once in our lives, we have spoken merely to please the crowd...but we need to change! (See Lynn G. Robbins talk, "Where do you Face?" from Conference October 2014).  Many don´t like to change because its not easy. They just want us to visit them, bring peace to their home and then leave them to do nothing in return. I wish with all my heart that we can just find and keep those who meet commitments. Constantly we promise blessings, and explain Christ´s doctrine, which is in essence.. change and progress. For a reason, we felt inspired to focus on Repentance and Baptism this week.. we had to let those people go because the Lord has others prepared.

Counting our Blessings. One miracle this week was Sunday night, we went to visit a family with whom we have been on and off visiting for a month or two. They have progressed, especially the husband since we began visiting them. The husband, Alberto Males told us last night that he was going to go to church with or without his wife next week. Alberto never has thrown out promises like that. He has never committed to any of our invitations before. The spirit filled the room. I can´t describe how much love I felt in that instant. I know that he will keep his word, and these first steps will make all the difference in Alberto´s conversion. We are hopeful to have many fruits this change. Its my 3rd change here, and I am learning that I need to change.. be more patient and loving, and selfless. I need to reach out to people. I need to dive into the water to find people, instead of just casually waiting with my fishing pole in the water. I need to know their desires their hopes their dreams, and then bring them out of the depths of sin and show them the light of Christ. This is only possible with the guide of God himself. He will be with us if we are with him. This week has been very edifying and I am grateful to the Savior for helping me see my weaknesses. Now! To work!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley
PS: Also divisions with my hometown sister, Hermana Hill! Love her so much! A super excellent missionary who simply glows:)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 53 - Quito Bella Aurora - Jan. 5, 2015 - The New Year!

Mi Querida Familia,

Espero que tuvieran una feliz dia el 31 de Diciembre. Aunque que yo no estaba allá, espero que comieran mucha torta y participaran en hacer mucho fuego artificial. 

In Ecuador the new year is even bigger than christmas. As soon as christmas ends, everyone starts parading paper maché statues on human size people with extremely ugly faces along side the street. On New Years eve, they burn all of them. Also men dress up as women and its pretty convincing. They´ll come up to you on the street and start dancing in an umcomfortable way until you give them money. We tried to avoid them. No one works this day, and almost everyone gets very drunk. It was also my birthday! Best birthday ever! At midnight there were fireworks in the neighbors yard and all the way up the hill. It kind of sounded like Quito was getting bombed. Not only do Ecuadorians burn human size clowns at midnight, but they also burn the old stuff they have accumulated throughout the year in a bon fire. We had a lot of cardboard boxes along with old clothes and supplies that previous missionaries have left in the house, so we gave everything to the neighbors to either keep or burn. It felt good to give people free clothes, and even better to clean the house! 

Aside from the cultural facts, this week was great in some aspects but also slow in other aspects. I was able to do divisions with Hermana Henderson and Hermana Mantilla which was awesome. With Hermana Henderson we were able to meet some of her goals and find a lot of new investigators. Hermana Henderson loves church history and I was able to learn a lot of cool things with her! Divisions with Hermana Mantilla were also great. We contacted and talked with a lot of people, and almost got attacked by two drunk guys. They may have been following us, because we met them in the early afternoon and at night they showed back up. One of them grabbed my hand and wouldn´t let go, but with super strength I broke free and we ran. They kept saying teach us la palabra de Dios… And we were like just take the pamphlet and leave us alone! To lose their tail, we crossed a busy street, caught a taxi, and made it home safe. Who knows maybe one day they will read the pamphlet we gave them and be converted to the gospel. We hope.

It was a little bit of a slower week due to all the parties. There were a couple nights where we went home 30 minutes to an hour early to finish studies we had missed in the morning because it was impossible to contact. Throughout the day we were truly able to exercise our faith because this week the rejection was unusually high.

I feel good about this week because we were diligent in contacting all the families that we came across. We have been praying to find a family that will progress and we found and have been able to teach many families. Especially Saturday afternoon we found a special family contacting on the street, when our mamita was running late she told us to wait 30 minutes until she got home to feed us lunch. We decided to take advantage of the time and contact. Then we found William and Angelica who were later joined by Angelica´s husband, René. They accepted a visit for the next day. We taught them sunday afternoon in their home. Usually follow up visits with contacts fall through because the contacts forget and dont answer their phones, or hide. But with the family Gualonchango, they let us in and were very friendly and we were able to teach them the restoration and challenge them to baptism. They didn´t accept a specific date but are very curious and eager to read the book of mormon. We have a tour set up with them on wednesday with the branch missionaries. We are super excited for this family!

I love working with the recent converts because they just need someone to be direct with them. I love being direct. This morning I was reading Alma 34 and it is such a great chapter. It talks about how we cant procrastinate the day of our repentance and in verse 39 we are told to always be watchful unto prayer. Or in other words we should alwasy have a prayer in our hearts so that we cannot be tempted. If we procrastinate our prayers it might be too late. I want to help all our recent converts slash inactives realize that repentance isn´t something that we can forgo day tras day. We must be strong, and through the power of prayer and Christ´s atonement we can be purified and clean. That was the great lesson I learned this week. I know that Christ is our savior and through him the world was created. We are part of His fold and we have the responsibilty and honor to love and serve our neighbors and familes. I love being a missionary!

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Week 52 - Quito Bella Aurora - Dec. 29, 2014 (Prospero Año y Felicidad!‏)

Mi Querida Familia,

Wow Christmas has come and gone! We spent most of the day eating candy, visiting less active recent converts, Traveling somewhere where there was decent internet connection to skype, and staying in the house. As a mission rule, we had to be in the house at 5.. because Ecuador gets super drunk on Christmas. Also for año nuevo we have to be in the house, becuase Ecuador goes out into the streets and makes bonfires, burning human size dummies of clowns. I will try to get pictures. Hermana Espinoza and I enjoyed Christmas Eve just talking and doing some full fledged facials. It was wonderful.
This week was a White Christmas :-) Even though we didn´t have snowfall, Rocio was baptized! Rocio is jsut the beginning to many baptisms in her family. Her baptism was beautiful and the service was smooth and full of the spirit. When Rocio bore her testimony you can tell that she knows the gospel is true. She just kept saying Tengo que seguir adelante.. este evangelio es lo mejor. She has another daughter who lives in our sector with her husband and 2 kids; we are planning on going to find and teach them too.

We also have finally been able to see some progress with a less active recent convert we are working with. We found out in a lesson on Sunday, that he has been reading some type of Black Bible archive he found on the internet. And we were able to help him see the negative influence it has made in his life. Luis is such a good kid, he´s 18, but he´s made some mistakes. He came to church on sunday and stayed for the full 3 hours, we gave him a new book of mormon. Luis was also a Christmas miracle. We read with him 2 Nefi 33.. one of my favorite chapters that talks about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I advise you all to read it! They are the last words of Nefi to us and they truly are written directly to us and his posterity. 
This week, with Christmas and a new focus on my studies in memorizing the Living Christ has been wonderful. Hermana Espinoza and I spent Christmas Eve baking desserts, reading the Chrsitmas story, and reading the Living Christ in English. I think it really just hit me how much Chrsit loves us and knows us every second of our lives. It was his purpose to show us the way and now we know! I feel like my testimony in Christ grew a lot this Christmas and that because of Him, we are saved and clean. I hope I can always be a righteous and worthy representative of Him.

Sorry this letter is a little short this week, but I feel like I just barely wrote last Wednesday! It's been a wonderful time, and I hope you all have enjoyed your holiday season! May the spirit of Christmas siempre be in your hearts!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 51 - Quito Bella Aurora - Dec 25, 2014 (Feliz Navidad!)

Family --
This week was filled with divisions and fun! I was hardly in my sector, but it was such a blessing to work with the other Hermanas in their sectors and visit their investigators, getting to know everyone! It is just so beautiful for me to see how the work is hastening in all parts of Quito.

Rosio was going to get baptized last Saturday, but there was a family emergency. Her sister in law has cancer and she turned for the worse on Thursday. Rocio left to go be with her brother and his family. She felt really bad to miss her baptism, but we are planning to have it this Friday. Rocio is excited and ready. We are excited too. Hopefully her sister can get better to come to the baptism, that would be the most beautiful thing. We had a huge fast last saturday that Rocio would be OK and be baptized the month of December. When we visited her sunday night after our fast, she told us everything was fine and that she was excited for this saturday. I know the Lord will answer our acts of faith and everything will work out this weekend.
We have found quite a few new families this week but no one came to church and so we are working hard this week to help them commit to their promises and receive revelation through church assistance. I`m excited to set some new goals for the new year as far as baptisms and convert families in my mission.
We had a really sad experience on sunday morning. We were going out to pass by for one of our investigators to go to church. Earlier that morning we had called a couple of the recent converts in our sector. Members who have been baptized in the past year by other missionaries. All of them our inactive except one. It breaks my heart and is actually a huge problem in our mission. Member Retention. Anyway, we had been working really hard with a mother, her daughter, and their cousin, the Familia Altamirano and they told us they would come to church but didn`t answer their phones sunday morning. We ran into all three of them. Coming back from the market with bags filled of purchases made on the sabbath. Then another convert was actually standing by us waiting for the bus and we tried to talk with her but she wouldn`t give us any type of attention. We have worked so hard to help these sweet daughters of God, and as I was sitting on the bus on our way to church, I just couldn`t handle it, thinking of the Hermana Missionaries that I did divisions with that asks me about their converts, and I know that they are just doing horribly. I felt insufficient. Tears may have fallen, literally I felt broken. As we walked into Sacrament Meeting they were singing, and I couldn`t even let words come out of my mouth. The only thing that helped, was I started to write my testimony down in my agenda. Slowly I was able to calm down, and by the time the sacrament made it to our row, a wave of peace and awareness passed over me. God knows how hard we work, and he will bless us with miracles in time. I am so grateful for that experience I was truly able to feel the love and guidance of my Savior. I know he watches over us and is the greatest gift of all time. This Christmas He is the gift.

I love you all! Have a wonderful Navidad:)

Hermana Powley