Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 77 - Ottavalo - June 22, 2015 - Last Email

Hola mi querida Familia!

This week we keep on keeping  on with our efforts to always visit with members present. We are very happy about last week and we are excited to see what this next week brings. Unfortunately, Dayana and Andres were unable to get married last week and therefore will not be able to get baptized this weekend, but we have high hopes for them. They are ready as far as testimony. Andres technically could get baptized this weekend, its still set as a goal and his date hasn`t fallen yet because he always assists and him and Dayana aren`t living together. We just aren`t sure if he`s keeping the law of chastity. But he is going to have a baptismal interview this week and there is a possible chance that he will get baptized this weekend. It would be awesome becuase then, he could receive the priesthood the following week and baptize Dayana. Pray for them!!

If you remember last week`s letter, we mentioned Johanna, who sadly was not able to make it church on sunday, thus her fecha fell through, but she is back on track and we wil re-set tomorrow her goal for the 11th of July. Johanna is an awesome investigator she always has great questions about the Sacrament, living prophets and apostles, and what she is reading in the Book of Mormon. Her husband, Reymundo, a less active member, sometimes loses his patience exactly on Sunday morning and they fight a little. That`s what keeps them from going to church. So we are focusing in on Christlike attributes and repentance with them this week to help them in their relationship.
Also, Omar, our miracle investigator that is working on overcoming a drug addiction. He came to the activity that we organized friday evening with his brother and his neighbors, who are less actives we are working with. Omar has so many cool comments in Gospel Doctrine, and has read a huge chunk out of the Book of Mormon. He says he feels like his life is changing thanks to the Book of Mormon. The Gospel Doctrine class was on tithing and at the end of the class he tried to give our ward mission leader money. We were quick to teach him that afternoon about how tithing works. The sad part is, he`s returning to Cali Columbia next week, but he is determined to find a church there and keep visiting with the missionaries. Meanwhile we will keep working with his Mom and his brother who both have desires to come to church and be baptized!
I`ve been thinking a lot about this next week. I have mixed feelings. Not knowing if I should be happy or be sad. But I know the Lord will guide. I aksed for a priesthood blessing sunday from one of our zone leaders. It was the coolest experience. Elder Caballero gave me the blessing and blessed me to be able to give all my heart, might, mind and strength this week to the Lord. I felt such a strong consolation and joy. This church is so true. The priesthood has been restored. That blessing was very special for me and I know that God truly shall be with us this week to protect and help us be 200% diligent.

I have truly felt the power of repentance and of the priesthood this week. This morning I focused my study on 2nd Nephi 9 and 10, Jacob´s sermon on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the first place in the Book of Mormon where the word "Christ" is mentioned. I learned and love in 2nd Nephi 9: 21 and 23 that Christ truly suffered for each and every person that would ever be born. He literally loves us and wants to live eternally with him. We must share His gospel with every living person on this earth because He suffered for them. It is up to us to spread this gospel, but it is thanks to him that the people can become converted and baptized and saved in His kingdom. Hermana Maximiliano shared something very touching with me. That as we reach the end of our missions perhaps people will ask us how many converts we have or how many families we helped. But the answer is zero. Our converts are not ours at all, they are the Lords. We are merely instruments in his hands. Numbers never have and never will define our status on the Lords scale of accountability. If we can learn to love without expecting anything in return, to walk the path of pain and hope, and to look at ourselves squarely in the mirror to say that yes, I feel I have done everything in my power.. this is conversion. I now realize that the best thing I get out of my mission is me. A new Alexandra Powley. And how great shall be our joy in the Kingdom of our Father. I know he loves us and I know that Christ lives and has paid my price.

Con Amor
Hermana Powley

We climb this hill everyday. And the view is one of a kind.

With Hermana Szerdi and Hull. Zone Training Meeting with President Richardson

Johanna and Reymundo made us Ceviche de pollo con patacones for lunch today.. delish


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 76 - Ottavalo - June 15, 2015

Hola mi Querida Famila

We have seen many miracles and blessings this week. Especially with the investigators who came to church on sunday. Some people came for the first time and it was a true joy!

Joana finally came to church with her husband and her 3 kids. A miracle. Her husband has been inactive ever since they got married. But he came in shirt and tie :) We were just crossing our fingers and trusting in the Lord`s mercies during the sacrament, and when the doors were opened after the sacrament, they walked in the door and it was magical. Joana has some real desires to be baptized and to be a good example for her family. We are excited to see her keep progressing this week. She has a baptismal date for July 4th.

Dayana and Andres also came to church and our preparing to be baptized the 23rd of June. They need to get married this Thursday and are really excited, they just keep seeing a lot of opposition. We found out yesterday, that Dayana might have to travel to Ibarra Thursday afternoon to present her thesis for the university. Please keep her in your prayers that these plans can cancel and they can complete there goal to get married on thursday. We were teaching them the other day and focused on the importance of Service. They have 2 twins, Andrea and Andres Jr, who are just super pilas (smart) The twins are 6 years old, already can read the Book of Mormon like pros, love to pray, and having matching footy pajamas. Cutest kids ever. They fight over who gets to say the prayer. Love this family.

I know that there are Nephite angels walking the streets here in Otavalo because we feel their presence everyday. One great miracle we were able to see was Saturday afternoon. 3 of the Laurels from the ward Young Women`s plus Aylin (The new young women`s counselor and also recent convert) accompanied us to do some group visits. One of the Laurels has been less active for a year whom we have been helping remember her testimony, took us to her neighbor`s house. Her neighbors are from Columbia and are passing through some heavy difficulties. Omar, the oldest son is 16 years old and a drug addict. But he listened to us and understood everything really well. He`s a little crazy because of some affects that the drugs have done to him over the years, but you can tell he wants to change.  Tatiana, the less active who accompanied us, bore her testimony so strongly of the Book of Mormon it made me just glow inside. Its one thing to bear your own testimony, but to watch someone else gain a testimony is something else entirely. Thanks to the lesson we had and Tatiana`s example, Omar came to church on his own yesterday. I know the best kind of missionary work is member missionary work.
Come what may, the Lord is with us. Hermana Maximiliano and I feel like we are being overwhelmingly blessed. Nonetheless, that doesn`t mean we don`t also feel opposition press in all around us. This is the sign that the gospel is true, because Satan is working so hard to tear us down. But we have discovered that everytime negative thinking starts to enter our heads, straight out praises to our Father in Heaven cast out all whirlwind and bring peace. Testify of Christ this week, and see how the world changes. Testify of his love and of how he is the center of God`s plan. Everything we are and everything we will be is thanks to Him. We our dynamic beings, thanks to Him. I love my savior and I know that he doesn`t just ask for 2 or 1.5 years of service. Discipleship never ends. We must love as he does, unconditionally. I love being a missionary!!!!
Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 75 - Latino Ottavalo - June 8, 2015

Hola mi Querida Familia, 

This week flew by way too fast. We have a miracle! Andres y Dayana have finally placed a date for matrimonio! Wahooo!!! They plan on getting married June 18th and then getting baptized and confirmed June 27th and 28th. They have been waiting for a long time to be baptized, and have seen great changes in their family thanks to the gospel. We plan on fasting this next weekend with Bishop, and praying everyday so that they can succeed in reaching their goals. They have been investigators for forever and are so awesome, Satan just has sent way too much opposition that has kept them from getting married. Dayana has crazy work schedules so its been hard for her to set a date for their wedding. But they finally decided that they don´t need a big party, they just said they are going to save the fiesta for when they get sealed! Heck yes!

One of the highlights of the week was with Hermana Szerdi on splits. We worked in my sector and just had a good time. Even though most of the day our appointments feel through, I felt like we worked hard to follow the Lord´s will. We had a couple awesome lessons with Recent Converts, and received a reference from the bishop in the Noche de Hogar that we are holding every friday in the church building. The noche de hogar was amazing, it was only the 2nd one that we put together, but members are starting to bring friends, and we are exciting people to come to church more consistenly and read the book of mormon. Hermana Szerdi is very loving and teaches with the spirit.

I feel like with Hermana Maximiliano we still are lacking in teaching with complete unity. I am trying to think of ideas that can help us to improve. We definitely need our companionship study everyday. We need to practice, and we need to plan with the spirit. If we don´t plan our lessons with the spirit, 1: we aren´t being diligent, 2: how can we expect our very lessons to be taught with the spirit. I also want to improve our method in contacting. Its not very efficient becuase we aren´t trying to get to know the people. We have been using a  technique where we presents us, share a principle and ask for a return visit, whereas the better  method would be in the form that the zone leaders taught us awhile back in a consejo de mision: get to know them first, ask questions, testify of the family and the restoration and get a return visit. Contacting should be something spiritual but right now I feel like its just to complete a goal. So we´re going to change that no worries. And while we´re at that we will change the world.
We had mission counsil last week with President Richardson in Quito. It was my last one! Wahooo! But we did something so cool for the training President gave. It changed my life. I´m not going to give it away because I totally am going to copy it one day. But let it just be said we left that conference pumped to work hard and help the other missionaries work hard. I got to bare my testimony at the end of conference, because it was my last conference. It was weird because we still have a full month to work hard, and I didn´t cry! Another exito (success)! It was very cool to listen to the other missionaries who are leaving and their testimonies. We all could see how much we have changed.

I know that the gospel is true. I know that prayers are answered so long as we do not allow room for doubts. I love being a missionary. I love the people here in Otavalo. I love my companion. I know that the work is hastening. We plan to be very diligent this week, but in all aspects.., in study, in planning, in teaching, in finding. I have a quick thought on the Sacrament. I was sitting at the piano bench last sunday and played the sacrament hymn. How Great the Wisdom and the Love. My favorite. I began to ponder as the deacons past the sacrament. What am lacking in order to  be as the Savior would have me be. It came to my mind as I partook of the bread, to recognize the body of our Savior in its resurrected form, that one day we all shall resurrect and as in Moroni 7, we hope to appear as the Savior, pure and bright, eminating love. As I partook of the water, I realized the blood he shed was for me. The cleansing and changing power of his blood is incomprehensible. We must leave behind envy, anger, pride, and every unrighteous thing and let his blood cleanse us. I truly felt that angels ministered to me during the Sacrament. It was a remarkable blessing that we all can receive the guidance of angels as we partake of the sacrament each week. I have a new goal, that Sacrament Meeting can always be a such a spiritual and cleansing process. A time for revelation. Let us all remember the Savior and ponder in the changes we wish to feel within as we partake of His emblems each Sabbath Day.
Con Amor
Hermana Powley

Week 74 - Latino Ottavalo - June 1, 2015

Hola Mi Querida Familia!!!!

I didn´t think I could ever feel so grateful in my life for the many mercies the Lord has allowed us to see this week. Literally. This week has been one of the hardest and also one of the most rewarding weeks of my mission. We started out the week with all our appointments falling through, losing investigators, and being rejected, but we ended the week finding true, honest, humble people who know how to recognize the spirit and who want to progress. Aylin was also baptized and confirmed, and interviewed by the bishop for a calling in Young Womens! Woot woot! Even more, we were able to attend the baptisms of Lucia Inuka and Cathy Delacruz, investigators from San Pablo that Hermana Perez and I found and taught and cried for. It was so hard to let them go in transfers 2 weeks ago. I can´t describe the joy I felt as we passed by the church building where San Pablo meets, which is in our area, and just happened to see Lucia and Kathy and the members outside taking pictures before the service. They looked so beautiful in white. And knowing all the challenges they went through in their path up until this moment, I felt like Alma when he meets up with Ammon and his brethren, filled with an immense love and gratitude for the converting power of the Lord.

We are teaching Joana and her husband Reymundo, an inactive who wants to come back with all the family. Joana is so sweet and we had an awesome lesson with her on sunday. She has a baptismal date for June 27th. As we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, we were actually just finishing off explaing the 3 kingdoms of glory, when she expressed a real concern for a cousin who had commited suicide a couple weeks ago. She knew that he had died in his sins and she felt a true sadness and wanted to know if there was any hope for him. We explained temple work and the ministry in the spirit world. Her face lit up and tears streamed down her face as she told us that finally she feels at peace, Reymundo told her that they can go to the temple and he can be baptized for her cousin, Temple work excited the both of them to keep moving forward. Joana told us that now she feels more motivated for her baptism. I feel truly grateful for the restored gospel, where all loose ends meet, knowing that God has a plan for each of us. The power and authority once again is on this earth. The ordinances we make in holy temples bind us together as family and to our father in heaven. In essence, this is our purpose.. bring families together in this life and in the life after through helping them come unto Christ. Joana and Reymundo are both eager to attend church, please pray for them that they can make it to church this coming sunday!
Another cool story: We were out proselyting waaaay up on the mountain saturday... more like exploring.... and it started to pour rain. So we decided to start making our way down. But I felt the distinct impression to knock one more door, so I told Hermana Maximiliano, the coolest companion in the world, "hey lets see if someone lives in this house." And we knocked. Viviana came out, and she was so sweet, she told us to hurry and come inside before we got soaking wet. No one ever tells us that. Then we talked with her about her life and got to know her. Viviana is 23 and has a little boy, she has been through a lot and doesn´t live with her husband any more because he left her. We shared the restoration, and she totally felt the spirit and told us she knows Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that yes she wants to get baptized. Wow. A miracle contact. Her only problem is that she is studying sundays until July when she graduates. We commited her to attend our ward mission nights every friday and to attend church when she graduates so she can get baptized. She joyfully accepted. We also have gone back to teach Viviana´s Mom, who is also very special and has desires to change her life. They are excited to read the Book of Mormon!!

I know that Jesus Christ has payed the price for our sins and that everyday we must try to be more like him. The Holy Ghost will guide us as long as we pay attention to his still small voice. If we ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost we will receive it, be it to guide our families, our investigators, help other missionaries, or make plans for our own lives. Our father in heaven loves us so much.

My letter is so long this week sorry, but just one last thing!!
In the beginning of May, President Richardson challenged us to pick a Chrsitlike Attribute and make plan to develop it. The challenge is called Maravilla de Mayo. Part of the idea, is to choose a miracle that we want to see at the end of the month as a sign that we have completed our goals. My attribute was Christlike Love: Charity, and the miracle I wanted to see was a family baptized. I am so grateful that my Maravilla de Mayo has been realized. I feel so filled with love and charity for everyone. For my companion, for the other sisters, for those we contact each day, even when they reject us. The Lord has molded me this May, and I have seen so many fruits from my efforts to develop charity. I prayed in the beginning of the month that Kathy and Lucia would be able to get baptized as a family. And the Lord kept his side of the promise as I kept mine. That's the way the Gospel works! Maravillas!!!! We must trust in Him completely. I know Christ lives and I love him!

Con Amor,
Hermana Powley
1. Aylin at her baptism

2. Lucia and Kathy with the Elders