Saturday, March 14, 2015

Week 62 - Ottavalo - March 9, 2015

Hola todos mis queridos!

This week has been a great week! There are miracles each day! We know that the Lord is blessing us as we strive to be diligent. Its true that there is always room for improvement, always room to give even more than what we are giving. It  makes me feel good to set goals,  make plans and see them  through.  I love this gospel. I feel like the purpose of life is to reach goals. To reach a goal we need to show daily diligence. Through repentance and faith we can realize each and every plan.

This week President, Cecilia  (the bishop`s mom) Didn`t stay for all 3 hours, so her fecha fell through. Its better this way so we can teach her really well all the lessons so that sh e understands. We were`nt able to refechar her sunday afternoon but we will on wednesday (our next planned visit) Our ward mission leader is helping us translate the lessons in Quichua. So she can understand even better.

A miraculous story that I would like to share from this week is a reference that Hermana Gonzalez and I received from a missionary in a different a sector, Hermana Bowman. The reference `s name is Marina and she is family of a member in the ward. She is a single mom. We called her on sunday to set up an appointment. Even though she wasn`t able toa meet with us on sunday we scheduled an appopintment for this week. We had no idea where her house was. After we called her we started knocking doors, doing some sunday  afternoon tracting. We knocked a door and 4 kids peeked their heads out the door. We presented ourselves and asked them if they ahd heard of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, they said no, and that they  were members of a different church. We asked them which church and they told us the Mormom Church. We gave them a really big smile and told them its the same church. Then we asked them if they were baptized, and they said no. We were slightly confused how they could be members without  baptism but  turns out that they had assisted church several times with their cousins and just assumed that they were members. You might wonder where Marina comes into picture. With afurther questions, we found out that Marina, the referral, is their MOM! Not just a coincidence. We are excited to see them and invite them to baptism later this week.
Also.. fun fact.. I did divisions with Hermana Nogales in my old sector! Ibarra Central 2. All my converts are going strong and giving references to the missionaries. So cool! We visited one convert, Silvia, and a family that Hermana Pinto and I rescued-- the Family Figeroa. The Family Figeroa has been inviting a young man, Junior, 19 years old, to their house to hear the discussions. Junior will be baptized this Saturday. Missionary Work spreads!!  I never had any idea when I was in Ibarra that what I was doing, through helping the Family Figeroa be active members in the church, was setting stones for future baptisms. It just fills me with such a joy to know that the Lord always has a bigger plan than we can imagine.

Anyway, I`m so happy to be here in San Pablo. Its true that ther are ups and downs each day but with the power of faith and fast we are lifted above complaints and doubts. We are seeing true miracles with less actives. We hope to rescue 9 this month. I love preaching the gospel to nonmembers and membears alike. I love this sector because we are truly learnign how to work with members. Like the prophet says, this is our time to Work Together! Members and missionaries. True missionary succes comes from diligence on the members part as well. Faith from members. It doesn`t matter where one could be serving their mission, if the wards are strong, there will be baptisms and even moreso, conversions. I  know that this  is the Lord`s work. We are His friends, His instruments, and emit His light. I love to be a missionary.

Con Amor
Hermana Powley
Pic - Me and Hermana Gonzalez in Mission Council

Week 61 - Ottavalo - March 2, 2015 (settled in a new area)

Mi Querida familia,

Well! After 4 and half months in Llanochico, transfers were bound to happen. Hermana Espinoza completed her misión and I got transferred to San Pablo, Otavalo Sur.  My new companion is Hermana Gonzalez and she is Sister Training Leader too! She was also trained by Hermana Madrid so we are literally misión sisters. Also we are the dream team. She is from Machala, Ecuador and also finishing her misión this transfer. She is so cute and powerful and fun and I could just go on and on. Plus our sector is gorgeous. We wake up every morning to a view from the movies. The beautiful clear lake San Pablo reflecting the grand, colosal, picturesque Imbabura volcano. Its actually the same vlocano that I lived under in Ibarra, but we are just on the other side! This sector is mainly inhabited by the native indigenous of Ecuador. Its so cool. Everyone speaks Quichua (or the language of the Lamanites) Yes. We are teaching pure lamanites. All the men here where their hair in long black braids and the women carry their babies on their backs. Our Ward misión leader could be Moroni. Our bishop kind of looks like Nephi. No big deal. I love it here. We are seeing so many miracles. My companion told me that its been kind of a hard sector the past year but I told her no. We just come to do the Lord´s will and he will guide us to find those people who are prepared.
This week we have an investigator with Fecha! A March Miracle for sure. Her name is Cecilia Farinango and she 64 years old. She is the bishops mother and has been some sort of eternal investigator. She came to church on sunday and we went to visit her afterwards. And she finally accepted a baptismal date for the 1st of March. We talked about how baptism completes repentance and makes it possible to enter into God´s kingdom. We used pictures because she doesn´t know english very well. When we made the invitation to be baptized, we showed her the picture of Jesus with his arms opened wide to receive us (the picture of the 2nd coming) and we told her that Christ was waiting for her. She said that she is now willing to set a date! What a miracle.
We also have plans this week to work with a couple families where not all our members. This is the month to see miracles so we are going to return to work with them after many missionaries have already tried. Two families in specifiic, the family Kashawa and the family Chicaysa, both have fathers who are not members. We met with both the families this past week and had some inspiring lessons on the fast and commited each family to fast for their fathers to enter into the waters of baptism this month. We fasted too. We hope to see miracles this week for these families. God´s plan is to bring everyone to the temple. That families can be exalted and not just saved. Through much prayer and hope and love we will see fruits this week.
Also more miracles! We were out teaching the other day and someone passed us on the road and said Hermanas! Her name was Cisa and she is a member of the church too. The ward is huge so we were working in a new area so we were excited to find a new member to visit with us. In that exact moment she joined in on the lesson and helped us with translating Quichua. Then another member came and we went on splits to visit more people. I went with Cisa, we talked about the mission and she expressed how she wanted to serve.It wasn´t until the end of the day that she told me that she was inactive in the church and that as she was accompanying us she was able to feel a new desire to go to church. Thad day we found many more less actives to begin teaching. Hermana Espinoza and I have a goal to rescue 7 less actives this month. Yesterday we rescued 2 and throughout all this month we are going to be working hard to rescue and teach Cisa, Andy, Nancy, Estela, Jonathon, Melany, and Erica. We might even exceed our goal!
Hey Everyone, I know the gospel is real. I know when we give up our whole will and heart and focus 100% on the Lord we see miracles. I love Hermana Gonzalez, we are so excited to help the members in Barrio San Pablo, each day I feel spiritually enriched. I feel the presence of angels in this sector. We are fulfilling ancient prophecies from the Book of Mormon, bringing the direct Descendants of Lehi to the light. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Being here is just strengthening my testimony even more of the restoration, of Gods love, and that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak. We are about our Father´s business. Have a great week everyone! We love you and pray for you!
Con Amor,
Hermana Powley

Week 60 - Ottavalo - Feb 23, 2015 (transfer)

Mi querida familia,

And the verdict has been made! Hermana Espinoza is dead and I have been moved to Ottavalo. OK she`s not really dead she just finished the misión.

"Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D&C 123:17

Now that we have changes I feel kind of bittersweet, but I also know that we have left a legado in Bella Aurora. I am excited to get to work in Ottavalo with Hermana Gonzalez. We are going to see miracles. We just have to give everything to the Lord and trust in him. I feel like this week I experienced a grand change of heart. It started last wednesday. We had a very spiritual weekly planning sesión even though we both knew that we wouldn`t be together for the following week. We left the house with a feeling that if we just submit to the will of God, He would lead us to where He wanted us to be, but we had to let go of our own selfish desires. We accepted that he would guide us and in order to feel the spirit to be guided we held prayers in our hearts. We found many new investigators this past week, but one, specifically I want to talk about. 
Maria Guaman was a contact from a couple weeks back, who we kept on seeing on the bus. We were able to make a concrete appointment with her for saturday night. When we arrived at her house the spirit was tangible. She told us how she knew she needed to learn more and she wanted to change her priorities from wordly things to godly things. That impacted me. What if all our investigators were like that? If we all just wanted to do what God wants instead of what we want? Thats they key of the góspel and the first great commandment: Love God with all our heart might mind and strentgh. We continued to teach and testify of the restauration and in the end she accepted to be baptized. When we asked her why, she said, "Hermana´s  you´ve taught me a lot and I know I still have much to learn, but if there´s one thing I have felt tonight that I never before have felt is that now I know with surety that God loves me."  We asked her to offer the prayer and she willingly bowed her head to talk with God for the first time, a miracle in and of itself. When she finished tears filled her eyes and she told us that God sent us to guide her. The next day she came to church and loved it. As Hermana Espinoza and I talked walking home that night we rejoiced in how Maria truly understood the purpose of Lesson 1, she felt that God loved her. Thats why we teach Lesson 1 the restoration, so others can feel of God`s love and understand that his church is once again on the earth. I have felt more of the love of my father this week than ever before and it is because I have forgotten myself and gone to work.
We also found a very sweet family, the Familia Echesi, also the family Herrera, and the Family Lema. All three are genuinely curious and have true desires to change the course of their lives in order to experience peace and joy in their families. The cool part is we found two of these families just walking around looking for peole who needed help, be it carrying huge bags of choclo, or washing clothes by hand. We rejoice in finding as we serve and serving as we find. People truly feel the pure love of Christ as we serve. As we have strived to follow God`s will with mind and heart this week we have been able to find more serving opportunites, which is exactly what Christ did when He was on the earth. He loved. He served. He taught. We can do the same be us members or missionaries.
I love to serve the Lord. Its true that I am sad to leave Bella Aurora but I know the Lord has a plan for me here in Ottavalo. Its a beautiful place and as we continue to put God first, to trust and ask him for help before drawing to quick conclusions I know we will see fruit, be it in the members themselves, investigators, less actives, we will change the world.
Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 59 - Quito Bella Aurora - Feb 16, 2015

Mis queridos,

How are you all doing? I have learned a lot this week. I am so grateful for personal and companionship study. I am so grateful for my sweet companion Hermana Espinoza and her amazing example. I am so grateful for orange-papaya juice.. the next big thing. I am also so grateful for Pdays where we just decide to stay in and give each other pedicures. I´m also grateful to have been able to go on splits with Hermana Dillman and Hermana Lefrant in San Carlos and Iñaquito. They both are great examples and I have been able to learn so much form them.  

To be honest, I haven´t  really been able to spend a  whole lot of time in our sector this week. I had splits in San Carlos with Hermana Dillman, and wow let me just say.. its a beautiful place. We had a service project where we helped a recent convert move to a different home. Literally we moved a huge couch from a 3 story apartment to the ground. Still not sure how the couch didn´t break, but miracels happen when missionaries are put to work. Also they rewarded us with grilled cheesed sandwiches, pringels and salsa.. a few American delicacies. Then I had divisions in Iñaquito... my first sector! It was definitley a blast to the past especially because exaclty a year ago we were stepping off the plane onto Ecuador soil. Hermana Lefrandt and I found a ton of new people to teach and we stopped by my favorite panaderia and the owners recognized me and gave me a huge hug. It was very special:) But Wow.. Hermana Lefrandt is a powerful missionary. I feel like I learned so much more from her than her from me. She always finds cool ways to connect the gospel to peoples lives. And she has no shame. A family walked past us as we were knocking doors, and we both looked at each other, and started to run to catch up with them. Hermana Lefrandt just yelled, "Hey! We need to talk with you guys!" and they turned around and listened.. such boldness I have never seen. 

Even though, in our sector we don´t have any investigators that are progressing, we sacrificed for the other missionaries and I know the Lord has his own timetable. We all just need to smile and have fun because we´re the Lord´s servants. We are also on the winning side. Even though some people tell us that they burned the Book of Mormon and they don´t want anything to do with us, we just need to go out every day and every week with MIGHT and LOVE. I know that everything will be OK. I´m just putting everything in His hands now. I´m going to stay on target with positive thinking. Negative thoughts only come from Satan. Doubts must be doubted before our knowledge and hope. I feel like I see so many miracles on divisions, and I truly feel like an instrument in the Lord´s hands when I go out with the other Hermanas. In my own sector, we are still seeing miracles. Strengthening members, helping with Family History, and helping recent converts build their testimonies. We are seeing progress!

I know that the Christ is the Master, and our creator. He is The First and The Last. Es nuestro abogado ante el Padre. Aunque hemos hecho muchos errores, Sé que nunca está demasiada tarde de cambiar o dejar habitas viejas. El Señor es nuestra guía. Entonces aun que las personas nos rechazan, solo se acerca nuestro entendimiento de la vida de nuestro Salvador. Estoy feliz de ser misionera. Sé que el nos forma y nos hace instrumentos perfectos, a fin de que demos música que cambie el mundo. Tenga una buena semana! Oren para las personas en Ecuador!!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 58 - Quito Bella Aurora - Feb 9, 2015

Hola Mis Queridas!

How are you all liking February? In Ecuador February is the month of Carnaval. Which means everyone runs around like crazy throughing eggs, flour, silly foam, and dirty water at each other. People even say that God plays Carnaval because in Febraury the rain begins. But not just any rain, downpour or aguacero. Its been a week of puddles and rivers and wet shoes:) This week has also been a week of meetings! It just flew by! Our investigators from last week kind of flew down the wayside as well. Turns out that Roberto is a member of a Pentacostal church, and they told him a bunch of garbage about us. So he told us he wasn’t interested anymore. God led us to him, so we were a little confused why he told us no, but everyone has their agency. Maybe someday in the future he will accept the gospel. Henry got a job offer and worked all this week so we couldn`t teach or find him. We`ve had to drop a couple families that aren`t progressing. But Oh well. We always must remember that NO means Nueva Oportunidad (New Oportunity) and we carry on with smiles!

On the bright side, we have a sweet family we are working with in the bottom of Yuraq. The Familia Tonato. It’s a little hard to contact them on the weekend to help them come to church. But the other day, Hermana Espinoza saw the mom, Maritza walking back from the store with her groceries in one hand and her book of Mormon in the other. Its little details like this, that keep us moving forward. Knowing that some people go to creative means like Maritza to meet commitments.

Also the other day, we had a lesson with Bridget, a less active and her mother Christina, a non –member. I remember walking up the steps to her house, just saying a quiet prayer in my heart that the spirit would testify to Christina the importance of the doctrine of Christ. As we taught the plan of salvation, the spirit filled the room and we invited Christina to baptism. The spirit was so strong she accepted! Christina had plans on Sunday to visit her Mom, so she told us that next Sunday for sure she would come to church with her daughter in order to prepare for a baptismal date.  Bridget lit up when her Mom accepted the challenge, filling Hermana Espinoza and I with hope and joy.

We also taught the Gospel Principles class on Sunday, it was so fun! The topic was Adam and Eve and the Fall. So we brought a ton of fruits to the lesson for visual effect, and as members of the class answered questions they could pick a fruit to eat. Not a surprise that the last fruit to be chosen was the apple.  (Everyone here seems to think that the apple was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden) Rocio wanted to answer every question and she was very animated as we taught the lesson. We just love seeing her progress. There is an Hermana in the branch who`s going to have a baby, and Rocio bought the baby a blanket and knit the baby a cute little hat. Now she`s just finding opportunities to serve and preparing for the temple!
I know that the Lord will guide us as we trust in him and lean not unto our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). I have decided to start reading the Book of Mormon again. This time I am highlighting in different colors everything that has to do with trusting in the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I want to be the 4th missionary. This is my time to be on the Lord`s time. There is no other time like this time. Its time to be an instrument in the Lord`s hands. I know that his atonement saves us daily. We may be fallen from God`s presence, but Christ lifts us up as we remember him and repent. I know the gospel is true. I love the Lord and I love to be a missionary.

Last week the Mission President`s wife, Hermana Richardson accompanied Hermana Espinoza and I to a couple of lessons (it was fun cuz we went in her car) She told us about a dream she had and its such a great visual of life so I want to share it with you. She dreamed that she was walking along a path and holding on to a ski tow rope. She was walking along holding on to the rope and it was easy. She could let go for a couple seconds, drift for a little and grab back on to the rope. But then something happened. As she kep walking along with the rope she realized that the ground below her gave way into a huge ravine, or dich. Soon she was holding on to the cable, but this time, dangling on for her life. Hermana Richardson said she had to make it to the other side of the ravine holding fast to the cable. Hermana Richardson told us the cable is like the iron rod, or our scripture study. There are times in our life when we can let go for a little and be fine. But there come times where the scriptures are our only lifeline. Where if we let go we fall, and we can face eternal consequences. Let us choose to hold fast to the iron rod.

Have a wonderful week everybody!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 57 - Quito Bella Aurora - Feb 2, 2015

Hola mi querida familia,

This week was a week of quality, not quantity. And we experienced success! Let me start out describing a new investigator whom we found yesterday, Roberto, 21 year old Christian. We had actually met Roberto earlier last week, but it was at night and his friend was doing most of the talking, so we didn`t quite remember him yesterday when we met him walking down the road and he smiled at us and said "Hermanas! ¿Como estàn?!" It took us a second to remember him. And just like that, he invited to his house to meet his mom and his cousin. He told us that he was out walking because he went to buy some medicine for a headache, but as soon as he bought the pill his head stopped hurting. He said it was strange,  but that right after his head stopped hurting he ran into us. As we taught Roberto and his cousin Soñia about the priesthood which Christ gave his apostles, Roberto asked a question I had never heard before, he asked if there was a way he could receive the priesthood. We both felt the spirit and explained that it had been restored through a modern-day prophet, and as we recited the first vision, tears welled up in his eyes. Roberto accepted a baptismal date for February 28th. We gave him a Book of Mormon and pray for his progress. He was definitely placed in our path by our Heavenly Father and is prepared.

Also we have been visiting, Rocio`s son, Henry over the past couple weeks. Henry is 26, and he hasn`t been able to go to church because of work, but this week we taught him the Plan of Salvation, explaining the importance of keeping commandments and trusting in Christ. We referred to Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and he committed to not work on Sunday. He also accepted to be baptized the 21st of February. He came to church this sunday with Rocio and the members loved him! Sadly he couldn`t stay for Priesthood (the 3rd hour) so we are going to extend his baptism date for the next Saturday, or possibly a weekday because the branch temple trip is that day. But Henry is so great. He is very humble, and he has faith that the Lord will answer his prayers as he asks to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

This week Hermana Espinoza and I have been able to feel the immense love of our father in heaven as we have taken the time and effort to make sure that members are with us to visit our investigators. Sometimes when we think of the word diligence, we get caught up in contacting as many people as we can, when really diligent missionary work is planning, studying,  taking the time to team up with the branch, serving the people with simple acts of kindness, and reevaluation. In that way, we see fruits and we see progress!
Funny story. We had to renew our visas on tuesday all the missionaries from my group because we`ve reached our year mark in Ecuador. As we were waiting in the 3 hour line to renew our visas, the senior missionary Elder Williamson sat next to a priest from the Catholic Church and started practicing his spanish with him. So funny. The sacerdote (priest in spanish) was actually young and friendly. They got along really well and the priest didn`t have any mean things to say about the Mormon church. A couple of the nuns sitting around him were a little startled. By the time we could finally leave, Elder Williamson (probably he is about 70 years old) said, "Padre, dame un ambrazo" And they hugged. Elder Williamson is so hilarious you just have to know him. It was cool.

This week I would like to put emphasis in a word that I love: smile. The other day, I was troubled because we hadn`t contacted too many people, and my nose had been running the whole day with a throbbing headache. It was a day in which I actually pictured in my head as we were out proselyting my warm bed at home.  When we got home for the night I remember praying that the Lord would help me know how to focus my thoughts and actions in the work even when we feel tired and weak. Just one word came to my head: Smile. Attitude is Everything. When we feel like we just can`t take anymore, Smile. When people reject, smile ad testify. When walking up a dirt hill, smile. We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there is no better reason to smile in the whole world.

The next day, all the missionary leaders in Quito were privilged to have a mission council with Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the 70. Hermana Dunne and I sang "Yo sè que vive mi Señor" to start out the meeting (with stuffy nose and all) but the spirit was there. When Elder Christensen started the discussion, he told us a story of when he was Mission President in Mexico and there was an area with little success. As he prayed to know what to do, he received revelation to send sister missionaries. The difference was huge. The sisters in their first month had 8 baptisms and in the 2nd month 16 more. When he asked the sisters what they were doing, they told him nothing.. just that they couldn`t hold back their smiles. Elder Christensen said that as missionaries our success is related to attitude, and our smiles reflect our attitude. It was like a confirmation to my prayer the night before. We just have to smile and always see the silver lining. I testify that I know our Redeemer lives and that his mercy is sufficient after all we can do. I love him and I love to be a missionary. Have a great week everyone!

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley