Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Week 67 - Ottavalo - 13 April 2015

Mi querida famila,
This week was wonderful. We have seen and experienced true miracles. Even though it was a little crazy with transfers, we were able to work a little in our sector, and we hope that this week we will be able to work even more time in our sector. This Sunday was so amazing. We had a really good turnout at church, a lot of less actives that came for the first time in years, 8 out of 9 converts, and 2 investigators!

I`d like to start out talking about David Carlosama. I might have mentioned him before, this kid is so prepared to receive the gospel! He was a reference and he has so many desires to join the church. It wasn`t hard for him at all to accept the restored gospel, yesterday we visited him and he accepted a baptismal date for May 2nd. Its been a little hard to find him the past 2 weeks because he studies all week long in Ibarra, and he lost his cell phone. So we took a leap of faith and went to his house Saturday to leave him a note, inviting him to church. He got the note and came! We visited him after church and he showed us how much he had been reading from the Book of Mormon. In the 2 weeks that we haven`t been able to visit him, he`s made it to chapter 20 of 1st Nephi! We were very happy! We had a very spiritual lesson, on faith, and he was able to share with us how he has been prepared throughout his life to receive the gospel. I can just see him as a missionary a year from now. Anyway, our action plan with David is to send him text messages of support each day this week and visit him on the weekends when he is home. May 2nd here we come!

Another cool story. We were in Casco and a couple of our appointments fell through. And I felt the impression to walk up the dirt hill to visit a less active family and recent convert, the Casco Family. It was a leap of faith because, the parents always work (for that reason they are less active) But when we got there, the father, Feliciano, was home! He told us that he no longer was working weekends, and we had a powerful lesson with him and his son, Juanito about the doctrine of Jesus Christ and baptismal covenants. I remember in a training that we had with President Richardson when he said that we need to invite less actives to renew their baptismal convenants by taking the sacrament, not just invite them to church. So we invited him! And he accepted. This whole less active family came to church yesterday and it was beautiful. Also another surprise on Sunday was that a different less active family, whom Hermana Gonzalez had worked with in the past and had zero success, came to church for the first time in years. Recently this family`s cousin, William, has returned home from his mission and has been working hard with them to help them reactivate. I was able to see how William, being a returned missionary is bringing a making a positive impact on his family. I hope to be able to have a similar effect on those whom I come in contact with after the mission. The mission never ends!

I know that my redeemer lives and loves us. It doesn`t matter how many weaknesses we have, just that we trust in Him and believe that he will mold us as we pray with real intent and prove true to the commandments. We have seen repeated rejection, and also sweet, sweet miracles here in San Pablo. This week I have felt Satan working hard, trying to downsize my testimony. But we had an amazing zone meeting, where we all shared our testimonies with the zone. This helped me so much. I was able to realize as I shared my testimony, that no matter how many people tell us we are wrong, no one can deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. This church is true because I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It contains the doctrine of Christ in its most pure form. When I try to think of the one moment I truly received testimony of the church, I think of many successive moments that compile to the overwhelming fact and knowledge that I have felt the Holy Ghost in every meeting, testimony, and study. Its simply sad when others do not open their hearts to hear the music. But I know that as we keep working, God blesses us with people like David, and the Casco Family. I know He loves us and wants the best for us. And he will grant us success.

Have a wonderful week Everyone!
Con amor
Hermana Powley
Yo y Hermana Perez (so cute)
A pig trail that we found....
Carlitos tiene un nuevo perrrito!!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 66 - Ottavalo - April 6, 2015

Mi Querida Familia,

Abrìl, aguas mìl! I said goodbye to my beautiful friend Hermana Gonzalez yesterday. She truly taught me so much and will be flying home to her family in Guayaquil tomorrow. The beautiful part about her homecoming is that 4 days after she gets home, her family will go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. I remember Hermana Gonzalez told me that she made a promise with God. She promised to serve the mission and find families to be sealed so that God would help her family to become temple worthy. And Oh did Hermana Gonzalez see that promised fulfilled. I love her so much, it brings tears to my eyes and it makes me just want to sing at the top of my lungs how great and glorious is the love of God.

  My new companion is Hermana Perez. I have been with her on divisions before and she is a powerful misionary! She just finished her 12 week training and will be working with me in San Pablo. Its awesome because her old sector is closing so we went to her old house and got ahold of some new pots and pans:) (Sidenote) She was baptized a year ago with her whole family in El Salvador and she and her two other siblings are all out on the mission right now. Talk about a golden family. Right now we are in a trio helping out Hermana Salas because she is going to train and goes to pick up her daughter on Wednesday. Its really fun. They talk spanish super fast and I have to really pay attention.

It was a poor week for the work because we only had 2 half-days to work. For Monday and Tuesday we were in Quito in Mission Council with all the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders, Wednesday we got back and had to do planning and correlation, Thursday we worked but also had our reunion de lideres, and friday we went to quito for the Interview of Hermana Gonzalez. Saturday and Sunday were General Conference. Its the worst week of numbers that I`ve had in the mission, but not everything is shown in these indicador claves (key indicators). As a blessing from our heavenly father we were able to focus in on a less active that we were able to rescue this week, Estela. Her kids just need interviews and they will be rescued next week. I also feel that I have truly been enlightened and my personal testimony has been strengthened beyond anything this week. These are the fruits of the amazing Capacitaciones we were able to have on Tuesday and also in General Conference. I remember that someone said that the most important part of conference is right afterwards, when we are brought to our knees to meditate and make new goals for our lives. I was brought to my knees sunday night as I looked at this week`s numbers and was bombarded by thoughts of, "You`re not diligent enough" or "why are you an hermana leader when you can`t set an example." I questioned myself, "How can I have a more profound desire to sing the song of redeeming love? And then I opened up preach my gospel and read page 2. It says in the 3rd paragraph, that as we come to understad the Atonement of Christ more fully, our desire to share the gospel grows. I thought for a moment and decided it was true. I must try to come to understand the Atonement more fully to truly have desires to be diligent in the testing point. I began searching scriptures on the atonememnt and reviewing talks form Genera conference and the Liahona. I have come to the conclusion that Chrsit suffered, literally for every person on this planet. If he suffered all their pain, sadness, and guilt, just so I can pass them on the street, or not talk to them in the bus, without even giving them the opportunity to accept and come unto Him, I am not believing in Him and His power to save. I know that Christ loves every man and women and child and nañagu and torigu here in Otavalo. Do I love them? I am praying to have this profound love. I feel a new and rejuvenized vigor to serve my Lord and Savior and make it so His eternal sacrifice was not in vain. I loved Jeffrey R. Holland`s talk that describes the atonement as hands shot out right before free fall to save us from impending doom. It`s so true. We are literally on a falling earth and we must only fight and keep moving forward with faith. This is what I have learned this week. As of now, we don`t have progressing investigators but we will catch them from free fall this week and we WILL have them in church next sunday. I am so excited to be with Hermana Perez. I am excited to learn from her and acecarse a nuestro Salvador juntas.

Con Amor
Hermana Powley 
Las Fotos:
1ro: Just me and my friend, Toro.

2ndo: For Herman Gonzalez`s farewell in the zone the ZL's brought a cake and I nudged the cake in her face.

3ro: Mision Council in Quito

4to: The Gringo Room for General Conference in English #alwaysagoodtime

PS. For easter, I decided to be my own easter bunny.  I bought a ton of candy and hid candy all over for Hermana Gonzalez. I wrote a sign that said Happy Easter. She loved it.

Week 65 - Ottavalo - March 31, 2015

Mi querida familia,

This week has been a Miracle with a capital M. We were able to help Carlos Catucuamba and Cecilia Farinango enter into the waters of baptism. We are so happy. Carlos will now be able to prepare with his fmaily to go the temple a year from now and be sealed for all eternity. In the bapitsmal program, the bishop felt inspired to get up and say a few words before the baptism. I don`t remember exactly what he said but I remember feeling an indescribable joy. That families are eternal. I looke over at Carlos with his family. And each of them had tear filled eyes. Its just so beautiful how the Lord works and how we can each see the blessings he pours from heaven. It wasn`t an easy week for Carlos but he made it. His daughter, Ingrid, also was baptized with him, she`s 8, and the water was freezing.. she also had to be baptized 3 times because she wasn`t completely covered in water. It was really sad. But she also did it! Cecilia Farinanango, probably the most beautiful abuelita in the world, also was baptized. The most beuatiful part however was sunday, when her own son, the bishop, confirmed a member of the church and gave her the gift of the holy ghost. It was so tender and beautiful. They too will be able to be sealed together in the temple a year from now.

David was able to come to church this week! He also came to the baptism and we gave him a tour afterwards. The members love him. He seems like he has been a little bit of a rebel in the past with his pierced ears and big chain cross necklace but he has strong desires to repent and come unto Christ. He is definitely someone that the Lord has been preparing. He loved church, and even though he has classes in the University of Ibarra we can teach him Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. David keeps preparing for the 18th of April.

Yesterday we went to go teach our newest recent convert, Cecilia Farinango, to ask her about how she felt receiving the Holy Ghost. When we got to her house, she wasn`t home, but her son, Eric Fernandez was home! He usually is hard to find and he is definitely a rebel. Cecilia has been telling us that Eric has been changing for the better since she started going to church. With tears in her eyes, last week Cecilia expressed a huge desire for her son to be baptized too. We taught Eric yesterday. It was a powerful lesson. Eric plays soccer on Sunday, gets drunk with his friends, and I`m sure other bad stuff, but we shared with him Mosiah 2: 36.37. Which King Benjamin basically tells us if we aren`t obedient, we are enemigos de Dios. It was very direct, and I felt like a missionary right out of the Book of Mormon, preaching repentance to the Lamanites. He totally understood and told us he wanted to change, Eric wants to be on the Lords side. We extended a baptismal invitation for the 25th of April, and he accepted. Cecilia came in after that and the smile on her face was indescribable. I feel like now the Lord is blessing Cecilia for her faith to be baptized.

I love this work. I never want to stop. During the Women`s Conference on Saturday night, I just felt a strong urge to never never never stop doing my best. We are here to protect the family. That is our calling. To help people realize that if they are built on the rock of Christ, who is our redeemer, we and our families shall never falter. This is my testimony. I know that Christ is at the head of this church. I know his power is real. As we prepare for easter this upcoming sunday, I want to remember Him more than anything. That thanks to him, we are clean. I know that baptism is just the door. As Alma invites his brethren in Mosiah 18, I testify that we must be witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in all places. Covenants we make with our father in heaven are serious. He promises us strength if we have the faith to keep his commandments. Let us never give up. The reward is life eternal.

Have a wonderful week everyonen!

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

PS. Sunday was the last church meeting for Hermana Gonzalez. So we dressed up in the typical dress of the natives here. Almost everyone in the ward goes to church like this so we fit right in!

Liz Lizard on the road --

Week 64 - Ottavalo - March 23, 2015

Mis Queridos Queridos;

Well this past week was great! And this week coming up will be even better! One highlight of the week was when Hermana Gonzalez and I made green pancakes and surprised some of the sisters in Otavalo by arriving early in the morning to do a house revision and eat pancakes on St. Patrick`s day. Also, Hermana Gonzalez and I have seen the hand of the Lord in splits just as much as in our time together. This week we have been helping Carlos prepare for his baptism this upcoming saturday along with Cecilia. They are both investigators from member families. We are so excited to be able to help them to finally be able to form eternal families. Baptism is just the first step. I`d like to start out talking a little bit about Carlos.

Carlos Catucuamba has been listening to the missionaries for a long time and the only thing that had been keeing him from progressing was his work which only permitted him to be at home every 3 weeks. He has been on vacations the past couple weeks so we have been really able to focus on him. Something miraculous happened on Tuesday. Carlos lost his job. The Lord is closing a door for Carlos, in order to open a window that leads to heaven. He will now be able to look for a job that allows him to not work on sunday and spend more time with his family. Carlos knows that its going to be hard but wants to be with his family for forever. He has announced his baptism for this saturday and has invited his family. Even better he brought his mom to church yesterday! Carlos is going to be powerful! His challenge at the moment is his fear that after baptism he will fall. We are going to be contacting/visiting him everyday this week, building his faith. The members are also visiting and strengthening him.

Cecilia Farinango keeps progressing and has also anounced to her family and the ward her baptism for this saturday. Cecilia is a true March Miracle. Even though she could be my grandma, we have been able to help her cast away all fear and just trust in the Lord. This would not have been possible without the help of the members who have kindly translated into Quichua all the lessons with us. Cecilia came to another family home evening last night and participated! We love her so much. The other day my heart just about melted when she showed us her Camino de Fe (the plan that we give all progressing investigators to put on their wall to see their progress), that she had been marking everyday in which she has said her prayers. We gave her a picture of Joseph Smith to help her remember his name. She can say in Spanish.. "Joseph Smith.. Prophet!" SO CUTE.

We also have one more March Miracle of the week, Davìd Carlosama. Davìd was a referral from a few members that brought him to the noche de hogar we had last sunday. David is 19 years old and has been searching for light. His friends had commented to us that he wanted to be baptized, and our first viist with him we invited him to baptism, he accepted for  the 18 of April! He says he wants to follow Christ and come to know His true doctrine. There are many other churches in the world, but there is just one that contains ALL the doctrine of Christ in su forma pura. (DON`T KNOW HOW TO TALK IN ENGLISH ANYMORE) The young single adults in the ward invited him to the stake talent show and he practiced and danced with the ward. Sidenote* I love being in this area. The ward is solid. Something that I really love about teaching David is that he truly understands and applies the scriptures, and he remembers what he reads! This week he starts back up in the university, and he doesn`t know the schedule yet. We hope that everything will work out so that we will be able to keep visiting him in the afternoon because where he lives there are no buses at night.

Hey everyone. Thanks for your prayers and worries and love that you display for los demàs. As King Benjamin says, when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God. Something I learned today in my studies was that Christ always had the Father with him throughout his life because Christ never did anything that didn`t please His father (Juan 8:29). Christ was fearless. He befriended the beggar. He loved those who despised him. And he NEVER gave up. People knew the father through him. I want with all my heart to be the same. I want people to know God through knowing me. I want people to feel his love, reverance, peace, and goodwill through the example and concern I can give. This is the only true church of Christ on the face of the earth. There is no other way to receive celestial blessings than through the holy priesthood. These promised blessings are real. If we believe in them, than we will let it be known through our actions. Get to work everyone! How do you let your testimony show?
Con Amor
Hermana Powley

PS:::If you know me.. you know about my chicks.

PSS::: Cecilia and her ovejitas or llamagutas in Quichua.. sorry its a little blury

PSSS:::: Anyone want choclo? Its corn season! That means meriendas de choclo cada dia.

Week 63 - Ottavalo, Ecuador - March 16, 2015

Hola mi querida familia,

                This week has been great. We have seen and been a part of some grand miracles. I have gained a real testimony of the power of the law of the fast. With sacrifice, diligence, and faith we will always see miracles if it’s the Lord’s will. And missionary work is His work. Claro que si! Esta es su obra. Estamos realmente cumpliendo Jacob 5. Somos los siervos que El Señor mismo ha escogido para trabajar en su viña, preparando así el mundo para el segundo venido de El. Qué gozo es ser parte de ésta gran profecia!
         This week Cecilia Farinango is progressing! She is preparing for a baptismal date, the 28th of March. She doesn’t talk Spanish very well so we have been visiting her this week with members who speak Quichua to help her really understand the doctrine. I see a new light in her eyes. She told us that she feels as if God’s hand is supporting her and guiding her along as she prepares for baptism. Cecilia is a very special investigator. I love her so much.  We had a special family home evening last night with her, her son, and a good chunk of the ward. The bishop even came with his first counselor, which was a fun surprise. There were about 30 people there and we were in charge of the lesson. We decided to play a game, everyone split into 4 groups and each group was in charge of teaching a commandment  (word of wisdom, law of chastity, 10 commandments, and tithing) We taught them how to teach and watched as everyone came to life teaching one another. It was really cool to watch everyone  try to be missionariesJ  There were many references that members brought as well and a couple possible future investigators.

         We also have a great miracle to share, evidence that this is the Lord’s work and his hand is in everything we do. Last week, Hermana Gonzalez and I fasted for an hermano, whose name is Carlos Catacuamba. He is an eternal investigator, and the head of his family, his wife and 4 children are members of the church. Hermana Gonzalez had been teaching him about a year ago but he didn’t progress. We fasted that he would accept a baptismal date in March. When we went to visit him this past Wednesday, Carlos accepted a baptismal date for the 21st of March. His family was just beaming with joy. It was amazing. The only problem is that he left for a business trip Sunday and doesn’t get back until Friday night. We know that opposition is going to be working hard to keep him from being baptized. But we fasted again yesterday and he already has had his baptismal interview. Everything will fall into place if we diligently call him each day to make sure he is reading and praying.
     This week we had a special training meeting with President and Hermana Richardson and the Asistants. It was inspiring. President talked to us about time. We measured all the time we have in the mission in hours. than, he subtracted all the hours we use up sleeping (which is like a third of the time), eating, studying, and P´day. Our time to proselyte really is only like 85 days. And then he divided that by a thousand years  (which is one day in heaven) and our time to serve the Lord really only adds up to something like 41 seconds. It was shocking. I guess we can give the Lord our whole life and still it wouldn´t add up to be anything truly significant. He only wants our heart, our mind, our might, and our strentgh. That is our only way to give. Sometimes it overwhelms me the extreme and eternaly power of his mercy and love. We are HIS children. And we can become to be like him. As we are told in Moroni 7:48, we must pray will all purpose of heart, so that we may be filled up with His love, in order to look and appear as Him in the final great day. What are we doing each day to share His love? How are we spending our 41 seconds?

      I know that our Lord is with us in everything we do if we walk in faith. A scripture that I love is found in Doctrine and Convenants 123: 17. It’s a scripture that I love to share with the other sisters. Especially sometimes when we feel stressed are upset that everything we do doesn’t seem to measure up this scripture brings peace to my heart. We just need to trust after all we can do to see the glory of God in action. That’s what the mission is all about. To walk WITH Him. I love being a missionary and I know that this is where I’m supposed to be. I know that through praying with real intent and studying with the spirit God speaks to us through the Holy Ghost. I know that the fast is an eternal law and that as we put God before our earthly wants and needs we shall be raised up! I hope that you all choose to put God and His ways before the world. We are working hard ot be consecrated missionaries. Lets all just be consecrated sons and daughters of God. 

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Picture: Our zone with President and Hermana Richardson. Hermana Gonzalez and I are super cool and dressed up in sentros (the typical skirt of the indigenous in our sector)