Week 96 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - 5 May 2014 (LAST WEEK)

Mi querida familia,

Well, we had quite a few miracles this last week. Thank for all your praying and fasting. The Lord truly softens hearts, because Tammy Michelle and Victoria have all committed to be baptized this Saturday! They came to church yesterday, Tammy talked with the Bishop and everything that happened a few weeks back is now in the past. I'm just reminded about the importance of church attendance. I do not think Tammy would be getting baptized if she did not come to church. There is something about church that enables us to receive revelation and feel the Spirit more abundantly. Past investigators have mentioned this too: all doubts that seem to accumulate during the week, are swept away after faithfully attending church and partaking of the sacrament. Oh the gospel is just so true.

So this last week I got to go to the temple with my MTC group. It was great to see how everyone had changed so much from that first day we all met at the MTC in Provo. Everyone was in high spirits, we all felt the joy of a job well done and serving a faithful full-time mission. After the temple session, we had the change to sit in with a training with the temple president, where we could ask questions about anything. In the temple there are a lot of symbols, and a lot of the questions I had came from wanting to know what those symbols meant. And the Temple President didn't tell us... instead he promised us that if we wanted to know the meaning of what the symbols meant, we just had to ask God and then the Holy Ghost would reveal to us the meaning of those symbols. Whoa! I'd been using James 1:5 my whole mission but not to have it actually used on me was a thrilling prospect. There is so much still to learn. 

It was strange to go to the airport with my MTC group and wave good-bye and then ride back with President Walkenhorst back to my apartment. I'll admit I had questions about whether I made the right decision to extend another week. But as I went back to the apartment and jumped back into weekly planning, I felt that excitement again that comes from working for the Lord. I am so gald I am here for another week. Elder Beus and I are still serving together, and now we have a third  companion, Elder Collins and he is a fireball! Man I feel so uplifted around him and he has some really good ideas. He's a business man so he has some great talents in organizational skills and planning. I am learning a lot from him. 

We've had some cool miracles. The three of us were driving in a neighborhood when we looked out the window and saw a lady sitting on her porch. Elder Collins piped up and said, did y'all see the lady sitting on the porch?" I looked at him and asked "Did you want to talk to her? I felt the same the same way." He said yes. So we parked our car and walked all the way back to her house. Turns out she was from Arkansas and had lost her husband 9 months back. She was super nice and was open to having missionaries come teach her. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she gave us her address in Arkansas. The Lord works through small and simple means! 

Saturday was especially miraculous. The sister missionaries had a baptism. Like 1/2 the ward came to support Matt and Megan. Megan recently married a member, and Matt was a friend from the member's work. Both their testimonies are super solid! I had never seen a baptismal service like that one. The Spirit was so strong, less active members were participating, everyone was happy and excited! The Church is so  true!

I am so excited to work another week. Sure I have worries about the future and what I'm going to do next week, but I know that if I keep my temple covenants, the Lord will provide by daily bread. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I love my mission! Thank you so much everyone for your support! I will be a civilian again this Saturday and my email (if it stays the same) is powleyandrew9@gmail.com.

Y'all have a blessed day now! Que Dios les bendiga!

Con Amor,

Elder Powley


Week 95 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 28 April 2014 (Happy Birthday!)

Mi querida familia, 

Thanks for everything! Liz, you look absolutely beautiful in your prom picture! I love you all so much. 
I did end up getting a 10 day extension so this will not be my last email home, but next week will. I'm pretty excited that get to tarry I little longer in OKC. We have two baptismal services planned for the next two weeks, one from the sister missionaries and then the Clements family on May 10th. The service will be at 10 am and then I fly home at 3:15. It will be a crazy day. I still get to go to the temple this Wednesday with my MTC group and spend the night at the mission home, and then Thursday I head back to my area to keep working. Elder Beus and I (much to Elder Beus' dismay) will be in a trio with Elder Collins. Let's just hope we all don't self-destruct in 10 days from cramming into a small apartment. Just kidding, I'm sure we'll all be best of friends. 

We had such a crazy weekend. Saturday was probably one of the most incredible/stressful days of my life. Elder Beus and I went to Paul's Valley to go see a family get baptized that Elder Beus helped teach and find. It was one of the most spititual experiences of my life. The husband and two sons got baptized, the mom (recently reactivated) gave a talk, the sister missionary that originally taught and baptized the mom and grandma 20 years ago came back, and it was just very apparent that the Lord's hand was in it all. The main theme that kept coming up was how we need to be willing to make sacrifices and hard decisions in order for God's plans to come to pass. The sister missionary was the only convert in her family, and right before she left on her mission, her mother (not a member) was diagnosed with cancer and was going to die. Her family begged her to not go on a mission, but this sister missionary decided that serving the Lord was more important than anything, and perhaps that includes family. And this sister missionary met a young mother with her daughter who got baptized, and then we just saw the baptism of the daughter's family.  I was just so astounded. This Church is true. God's hand is in it. The REstored Gospel saves families from the calamities and temptations of this world if we will just listen to the Holy Ghost!

Anyways great baptism, and Paul's Valley is beautiful, it reminded me of Vernal.
Then later that day, Elder Beus and I walked through one of the most intense/stressful experiences of our lives. It was John's birthday, but it quickly turned into a huge fiasco. John got angry at something and it all blew up, no one was happy and we showed up right when everyone was at the peak of anger. John was crying. And I just felt so sad. Satan is so tricky. If he can one person angry enough, he can destroy the happiness of 10. We must be mature enough to forgive and not be easily offended and avoid contention. Elder Beus and I went to buy a birthday cake to help cheer John up and that helped a ton. 

Then part 2 of the fiasco started. Michelle and her three kids were living in an apartment with a less active who was doing bad things (bad enough that would risk Michelle losing the three kids). So Tammy, the mom, enlisted our help to go move all of Michelle's stuff out. So we went, we assumed that we'd put all the stuff at Brother Holman's house. Then we get to the less active member's apartment and emotions just blew up. Anger filled the air, Tammy was mad at this less active member. We ended up moving all of Michelle's stuff to our apartment because Brother Holman didn't have room at his house. And then yesterday we moved all of Michelle's stuff to a member's house.

I just gave you the watered down version, but now Tammy isn't sure about being baptized, Michelle is homeless, and we aren't  sure if we will have a baptism on the 10th.  

Don't choose to be angry! It does absolutely no good. I'm grateful that the mission has taught me to be patient with people and love them even if they offend you. 

So even with the stressful weekend, I'm still hopeful and happy. Some of the missionaries surprised me this morning with coming to our apartment to decorate the door and our truck for my birthday, and I'm just overcome with gratitude for these last two years that I've had to change and repent and become a better man. I hope that these next few weeks will all work out. Even if they don't, my happiness does not depend on the good or bad decisions of others; it comes from living a life of consistent, true principles. Sure I rejoice when are baptized into the Church, and I grieve when others don't accept the message, but I know that I've made sacred covenants that if I keep, the rewards of eternity will outweigh everything.

I love you all! Have a great and I pray that you enjoy the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I gave a talk yesterday in church and I think the best way to not sleep through the Restoration is if we always strive to follow the promptings of the spirit and stay from anything that will hinder the involvement of the Spirit in our lives (selfishness, addictions, competing priorities, see President Uchtdorf's talk from Priesthood Session.)

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 94 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 21 April 2014

Mi querida familia,

This has been one of the best weeks of my mission, it's just so fitting that it's the same week as Easter as well. (Watch "Because of Him" if you haven't yet).

We've had some lovely rejection this week from tracting, nothing new. Jesus Christ was rejected and he dealt with it with dignity, so should we.

The most exciting thing was how on Wendesday we set a baptismal date with Michelle and Victoria(John's older sisters). The Spirit was so strong and then she came to do a church tour with some of the members and she seemed to really like it. The members did a great job helping her not to feel self conscious about her three kids coming to church. 
And then right after the church tour, we get a call from Tammy (John's mom) where she leaves a message saying that she has something to tell us (Elder Beus and I were besides ourselves). We call her back and she said that she just had a lesson with the missionaries and our Mission President in the area she moved to and that she is GETTING BAPTIZED ON MAY 10th!! She said that President Walkenhorst just opened up the scriptures and made it just so clear (good lesson for all of us to use to scriptures). 

This is such a miracle, 2 or 3 months ago I NEVER would have guessed that she'd be baptized. She went from completely disinterested in the Mormon church to "I'm not sure" to "I'm just waiting" to "Yes I'm ready to be baptized!" Oh my word, the Lord is in control. We just have no idea who the Lord is preparing or has prepared to receive the Gospel. We know nothing in comparison to Him. We just need to be dilligent and obedient and the the Lord can use us to perform mighty miracles in his name. 

Our calling as missionaries is real. there is just no way we could help people receive the restored gospel if we were not endowed with authority from on high. Oh my word I love my mission. I get to see a family be baptized on May 10th. We'll see if I get an extension, but I am just on cloud 9 right now! The Gospel is so true!!

And then yesterday I had the most memorable Easter of my whole life. There was no Easter egg hunt, but it was just purely focused on Christ. WE went to Sacrament meeting and then right after we left to go to another "non-denominational" church where an investigator invited us to come to their Easter Drama. This was the first time I've ever attended a "mega church" type atmosphere. It was out of control. Music blaring, pastor yelling, lack of authority, and in the midst of it all I did see pockets of truthful messages. It was so interesting. I felt awkward. the people were nice, but you could just tell that authority was not present. 

and then that evening we attended an performance organized by the Church (involoving different faiths) called "The Lamb of God" composed by Rob Gardner who I think is a Mormon. 
It was incredible! Some of the best music I've heard in two years. Tammy came, John came, and then Chris (the investigator who invited us to the Easter Drama) came as well. The spirit was definitely there even as we sat on hard metal chairs. I just love music so much! Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. 

Life is just amazing right now. I can't wait for the coming weeks. I am so grateful for my mission and how I've learned about the love of God in a way that just isn't possible outside of missionary work

have a blessed y'all!

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 93 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 14 April 2014 + pics

Mi querida familia,

What a week! The Holy Ghost is so real. There have just been some great experiences this week that confirm to me that the Holy Ghost, God the Father and Jesus Christ are truly living and guiding this church, and even our own individual lives.

We had a baptism on Saturday for John! It was a crazy/wonderful/stressful event. Everything worked out great though. The service started off with the priesthood ordination of one of a returning less active in the ward, Brother Holman. Elder Kennedy and I were working with him ever since I came to Quail Creek and we always knew someday he'd get the priesthood, but it was amazing that we actually got to see it happen. He was so happy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. And then Brother Holman shortly after got to baptize John! It took a few times for him to get the words right, but eventually he got it and it was a wonderful experience. 

John's mom, Tammy, and sister, Victoria sang Amazing Grace. It was out of tune and she forgot the lyrics, but at the same time the spirit was there! Why isn't Amazing Grace in our hymn book anyways? 

Then they all came to church the next day to see John confirmed. He looked like a new man in his suit (that Elder Beus and I acquired from a local thrift store) and tie. I'm excited to see him progress, he doesn't have much to do so we'll be able to take him out teaching with us (he's been begging us the whole time we've been teaching him to let him ride in our truck). 

The whole baptismal service, as stressful as it was reminded me how the Gospel is for the imperfect. Even though the service didn't run quite as picture perfect as some other one's I've been to, the Spirit was still present recognizing the importance of the ordinance performed.

In other news, I want to mention about our STM we had the last week with our zone. We focused on the baptismal invitation and how to properly prepare someone to receive it. It takes three ingredients 1. Teach the doctrine of baptism, 2 testify of the importance of priesthood authority, 3 promise specific blessings. From the STM, I had a cool epiphany about the importance of promising blessings. I've noticed that during lessons, the Holy Ghost testifies especially strong when we promise specific and meaningful blessings. For example when we talk about baptism, we should always accompany it with promising that when they are baptized they will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost which will help them make decisions, warn them of danger and so forth. 

Another cool experience we had this week was with or investigator Michelle. She is a little closed off, by open to listening to us teach. She had bad experience with her family while growing up in her church, to the point that she's lost almost all faith the God loves and cares about her. There was a point in the lesson where we were talking about how awesome God's love is in our lives and I had the distinct impression that she does not know what God's love feels like. I asked if she'd ever felt God's love in her life, and she said no. WE found a concern. If she has never recognized the Spirit in her life, how can we invite her to find out if what we are teaching is true? So we counseled with her for a bit, and after the prayer she piped up and said I think God's love is that feeling when you are alone in a wilderness and it's just complete peace all around you. We smiled and said "yes that is how the Spirit communicates with you." Michelle felt the Holy Ghost during that lesson. Those feelings from God inspire us to repent. 

We had another teaching experience where I was on exchanges with and Elder and in both our lessons that day we ended up just reading the Book of Mormon and explaining what it is. I'm starting to recognize that unless investigators start feeling the spirit from the Book of Mormon, it's hard for them to accept any other doctrine. We should be spending a lot of time as missionaries really explaining the Book of Mormon (it is not the Bible and yes we believe in both) and helping them understand the story at the beginning of 1 Nephi. It takes a lot of time, but in the end, it's worth it when people start receiving revelation from the Book of Mormon for themselves. 

I love my mission. I'm learning so much about how to be a teacher and how to help people turn to God. I'm grateful for my companion Elder Beus who helps me recognize my weaknesses and push me to do better. I'm excited to finish up here in a few weeks and start applying everything I've learned. Keep praying for our area!

Con Amor,

Elder Powley


Week 92 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 7 April 2014

Mi querida familia,

So this week was a lot calmer than last week. No more gun threats, thanks for your prayers. We haven't had too much of anything happen this week. John is still progressing towards baptism, and we're excited for this next weekend. The hard part is just going to be organizing rides and everything since neither John nor the member he's living with have a car. 

Conference was amazing this past weekend! I loved Priesthood Session the most. Thanks for the pictures, looks like y'all had a great time. I loved Elder Hollstrom's talk. He said that one of the most dangerous statements is "That's just the way I am." Who we are is not who we can become. The mission has definitely taught me to not be content with my weaknesses. I've found it very helpful to always confess your weaknesses in prayer and then actively seek for ways to improve. The Lord can help us overcome our weaknesses and transform our natures. 

Then I loved it when President Uchtdorf talked about Rip Van Winkle and asked everyone "Are you sleeping through the Restoration?" I felt like he was speaking right to me when he said that. It's so tempting when you near the end of your mission to adopt a sleepy attitude. I'm trying hard, but I would be lying if I said those temptations never came to me. So I'll be seeking to apply the remedies that President Uchtdorf presented including loving the Lord. And I truly do love him and this work. The Lord is working so many miracles with John. 

I also think there was a common theme during conference to avoid the trap of worrying about popularity. We need to always be willing to act in courage and stand up for our beliefs. We need to be willing to suffer persecution for standing up for our beliefs. I've been reading in Acts about the apostle Paul. He stood before kings and literally said to their faces "I know that you believe in the prophets." (see Acts 26:27-28).

I also gained a more profound appreciation for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the Resurrection, Jesus was just an ordinary prophet. But we have the testimonies of the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants to confirm that indeed Christ was Resurrected! The Gospel is so true. 

 I hope everyone has a great week! I'd love to hear what everyone thought of Conference! 

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 91 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 31 March 2014

Mi querida familia,

We've had some crazy experiences this week. There was a missionary in our zone who went missing on Tuesday (we found him the same morning and everything is ok), but almost all the members in our zone went on a huge search for him. It was really intense, we were praying almost every 20 minutes that we'd be led to him. Finally, Elder Beus and I and two other companionships that were searching all had the impression to go to the library and tell the people at the desk to call us if the missionary walked in. We did so and then literally 8 minutes after we left the library, we got a call from the people at the desk telling us that the missionary just walked in. Whew! Sigh of relief! Now I understand the importance of staying with your companion. There is just so much more safety.

Then just last night we were doing our planning session and we got a series of mysterious text messages. "I know where you live....you have a picture of Jesus in your window....I'm angry and have a gun..." AGHHH. The person actually texted the address of the apartments of another set of Elders in our Zone. So we called President, who told us to call the police and go pick up the other Elders and have them stay the night at our place. It was another really intense situation, we prayed really hard and then literally 1 minute after we prayed we got a text message from the same guy saying "I'm just kidding I don't have a gun...sweet dreams." Aren't some people just great?:) At least it didn't into anything more serious than that, but now we might have to take down our pictures of Jesus Christ in our windows. We'll see. All in all I am just so grateful for the safety God has been providing for us. 

We've had a great week as well proselyting wise. John is progressing really well towards his baptismal date on April 12th. Keep praying for him! He is doing so well. He'll find coffee and get rid of it, he has come to church the past 3 weeks with a member, and he is starting to ask when he can come out teaching with us! The Lord truly can work miracles with the weak and humble. Honestly a month ago I did not think he would have progressed to this point. It's amazing how a little faith and diligence can allow the Lord to work his mighty miracles. 

Here's a cool story with John: Earlier this week John was kicked out of the apartment he was living in (by his own sister it was very dramatic). He was worried about having to go live under a bridge, but then one of the members, Brother Holman stepped in and offered to let John live with him. Wow! I am just astounded every week by the charitable capacities of members of the church. It's really cool because Brother Holman was somewhat less active when I first came here in October, and now he's helping someone come into the fold of the Church. And even better, Brother Holman is going to get the priesthood on the same day as John's baptism. People changing their lives---THERE IS NO GREATER MIRACLE! 

What else has happened this week? Yesterday Elder Beus gave me a brief handwriting lesson and oh my word I can see a difference. It was like Extreme Makeover: Handwriting Edition. Who would have thought that I'd been making the loops on my 'e's and "B"s to small this whole time? Ha I love Elder Beus for being so persistent with improving my handwriting. Even though it's hard and takes longer to write, I'm sure it will end up being better off for me in the long run. 

Life is wonderful! I feel discouraged at times because I'm nearing the end and I sometimes feel like I haven't done all I could have, but I just keep working and focusing on what the Lord requires of me right now and the discouragement goes away. Work Work Work there is no better secret to missionary work than work. 

I was reading this morning in Acts 16 about a cool tracting experience that Paul and Silas had in Macedonia. They were walking by the riverside when they saw a group of women talking. They walked up and started talking with them. One of the women's name was Lydia. She had a belief in God and was a very rich merchant, and she was prepared to receve the Gospel of Christ. She and her whole household were later baptized. Talk with everyone! You just never know. We were just in line at Wal-mart and we talked with this man who's wife was Mormon but passed away some years ago. The Lord will guide us if we have faith and don't doubt. 

Have a great week everyone! I love you all and please don't freak out about the people texting us. I'm sure it's nothing and we are doing everything we can to be safe. 

Que Dios le bendiga! Siga orando por Juan, y estoy bien animado por la Cofnerencia General esta proxima semana! Escuche a los hombres y mujeres inspirados y meditar sobre sus palabras y ore por la guia del Senor! Van a tener un experiencia revelatoria. 

Hasta las proxima!

Elder Powley

Week 90 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 24 March 2014

Mi querida familia,

We had an awesome week! We've been teaching a lot and the Spirit's been working with so many people in our area. Yesterday, my companion and I and the sister missionaries did a musical number. You should be receiving an email from Sister Clark, she recorded it for y'all to listen to!

We had two late night blessings in a row this week. Thursday Night, there was a member family moving to Utah from Arkansas that got in a car accident. They all survived, and they asked us to give everyone in the family blessings. Then the next night we found out one of our investigators was in the hospital with one of her daughters (who is mentally handicapped and was having seizures), so we went and visited her. It's fun to go to hospitals and give blessings, it's such a great opportunity to help people feel the Spirit. Our investigator Tammy, was very touched and she ended up coming to church this week with her son John who's getting baptized in a few weeks. Tammy was so awesome, she participated in Sunday School and Relief Society and during Sunday School when said that she wasn't sure which way her religion is going right now! Ha! The Spirit is getting to her. this week we also showed her the Restoration DVD and she was blown away as well. I sometimes think we are there more for Tammy than for John. I don't know if i've mentioned her story at all, but Elder Kennedy and I met her a few months back and she said she was totally not interested, but was a devout Nazerene. It's incredible how the Spirit can soften and prepare peoples hearts. It doesn't happen very often, but with a little patience, those moments do come and they still astound me. 

We also got to meet with Cindy this week. We walked up for our appointment and she was carrying some wood to the back of her house. We went up and started helping her. Man i love spontaneous service opportunites, they show that our motives are pure. We then had a great lesson with her about the Book of Mormon and she mentioned how she was interested in Family History! 

With starting my last transfer, I've really started to gain an appreciation for the chance we have as missionaries to testify about the Restoration of the church of Jesus Christ. I love testifying that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I love testifying that this is the Lord's kingdom and Church established here on the Earth to prepare for the 2nd coming. Just this last week we were meeting with an eternal investigator reading from 2nd Nephi about Isaiah's rpopehcies concerning the house of Israel and how it would be gathered again one day. That's what we're doing here! Gathering Israel! It's so exciting. 

I can't wait for this last transfers. The Lord is doing a lot here and I can't wait to see what happens in the next few weeks. 

Have a great week everyone! I love you all!

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 89 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 17 March 2014

Mi querida familia,

We got transfer calls yesterday and it looks like I am staying here in Quail Creek for my next transfer. And we just had such an awesome week. We a lot of member participation, and we've had miracles in finding. Let me just say that the Lord answers prayers, and we need to take time to notice them. Answers come in the most subtle of ways that if we aren't continually watchful unto prayer we can miss them. 

Let me give one example:
We had an incredible finding miracle on Friday. Elder Beus picked a street corner (or rather the Spirit picked it and he listened to the Spirit) and we went tracting for an hour before dinner. We knocked a few doors, had a little success. Then we went to this one house and we met a young adult named Nathan. Super solid! The first indication that he was solid was the simple fact that he was watching the second Harry Potter movie when we came in. We prayed with him, and he just opened up with questions. He mentioned how he doesn't pray too often, and then he asked us why we were out on missions. Oh I wish everyone could ask us that question. Both Elder Beus and I testified of eternal families and how the gospel blesses families. The Spirit was strong and he willingly set a return appointment with us for Sunday. We had it all organized, a member was going to come out with us and we were excited. I remember asking God that he would soften Nathan's heart to accept a baptismal invitation the night before, and Elder Beus and I were also fasting on Sunday. 

One hour before the appointment, Nathan called and cancelled the appointment. He re-scheduled, but it was sort of a bummer that we got all excited for this lesson and it didn't happen. Then later that day we met with an older African American couple, Nathan and Linda. As we taught them, they readily accepted the idea of prophets and the Restoration. We read Mosiah 18 with them where it says "if this be the desire of your hearts, what have ye against being baptized in the name of Jesus?" Right after we read the Spirit, Linda starts saying "I need the Spirit more and I need to be baptized." WHOAAA! And Nathan also committed as well. It was such a great lesson. If you remember, Linda is actually the lady we met a few weeks ago who we prayed with and kept saying "ask and ye shall receive." Turns out she had met with missionaries in 1997 in Midwest city. 

Life is great. And then it hit me last night that I had asked God that Nathan will soften his heart to set a baptismal date (thinking about the Nathan we met on friday). I guess the Lord had a different Nathan in mind. I love going by God's plans rather than my own. It's so much more inspiring that way. 

This week has been full of miracles: church tour with the Stavinohas. During the tour, the daughter asked "Why do you let kids have any kind of authority" referring to how we have 12 year old deacons passing the Sacrament. We had the chance to testify how the Lord trusts His youth and wants them understanding the significance of the Atonement at a young age. And it's so true. The youth of this Church are simply incredible!

Ok funny story with our investigator John: We taught him the Word of Wisdom a few days back, and Elder Beus and I used "strategem" to help him quit. He was pretty well attached to his coffee, so Elder Beus used this awesome analogy "If I was cutting myself with a knife and hurting myself, what would you do?" John said "I would take away the knife and hide it so you wouldn't hurt yourself." Elde Beus said "Perfect, hand over the coffee:)" Oh it was priceless. John gave his can of coffee to his sister and then went to the restroom. While he was in the restroom, his sister gave us the coffee. Ahh, I love being a missionary! 

Have a great week everyone! Count your blessings! Search for the 'one"! 

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 88 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 10 March 2014

Mi querida familia,
This week just flew by, I can barely remember what happened this week. We went to the Temple this week! I remember just saying a prayer right before starting the session for God to gently confirm that I was in the right place. And I definitely felt the Holy Ghost confirming to me that this was in deed the House of the Lord and the covenants we make with him there are real. I just felt so much more peaceful.
We've had some good experiences this week. My companion Elder Beus and I were talking this morning about testimonies, and how they seem to mean more when they come from someone that we have developed a relationship with. A small example, earlier this week we met a lady while tracting. We said a prayer with her and had a great conversation, my companion and I walked away super excited because we answered some concerns of hers, we were friendly and shared our testimonies. And we came away with a good relationship and a return appointment.
We came back the next day for the appointment and we met her husband and he politely told us that they weren't interested. We took time to bear our testimonies. Elder Beus bore a powerful witness about how our message helps families come together and the man just simply said "Ok have nice day." and then closed the door! UGHH Frustration! Now, we could complain about how they were probably anti-ed or how they were prideful, but ultimately the husband did not feel the spirit because he did not know or feel that we loved him.
Charity has to be at the center of all we do. Yesterday I witnessed a prime example of that. We had just come out of a teaching appointment when we received a phone call from a member named Sister Johnson. She told us how she was at the hospital visiting her mom, when she decided to go around to different rooms talking to people. She met a lady named Donna who was going through cancer treatment. She talked with this lady and had the opportunity to invite her to receive a priesthood blessing from the Elders. Donna accepted! So my companion and I rushed up there and we were able to give this lady a blessing. After the blessing, she was just in awe and the spirit was so strong. More than that, as Sister Johnson testified of the gospel, you could just feel the love in that tiny hospital room. Donna said she would be interested in hearing more about the gospel.
When people feel our love for them, they recognize that we are servants of the Lord. We should never be shy about offering priesthood blessings, they are powerful ways for people to feel directly the love that Heavenly Father has for them.
Can't wait for the coming week! We have a church tour set up with the Stavinoha family tomorrow and a lesson with Cindy this afternoon.  We've done our part in preparing now we just need the Lord to work his miracles!
Have a great week everyone!
Con Amor,
Elder Powley

Week 87 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 3 March 2014

Mi querida familia,
Weather is crazy here in Oklahoma. Saturday was in the 40s and then yesterday it dropped to 10 degrees with a wind chill (the wind chill is the worst part) below zero. Freezing rain, snow, hail just came down on us during the day. Church was canceled and we grounded our cars. Augh! so we stayed in cleaning and rearranging the apartment. Elder Beus has a great affinity for cleanliness. I've been working on it my whole mission, and compared to Elder Beus I still come short. So we cleaned and organized and I feel so much prouder of our apartment! The Spirit is stronger in a clean environment.
We had a great week finding new investigators. We actually able to set a baptismal date with one of them this week. He likes to be called Mr. Clements (he's 18). On Monday, we went out with our bishop to go visit a less active member named Anthony. While we were visiting with him, Mr. Clements asks us what church we're from. We tell him and then he tells about how he loves going to church. Music to my ears! So we set up an appointment and we were able to set a date for him at the end of this month. We'll see what happens because he's not in a stable situation right now and he might be moving to Guthrie, but we're just going to proceed with faith.
On Tuesday we also started teaching a small family. The mom is named Cindy. The spanish sister missionaries found her. They were teaching a lesson when Cindy just walked in on the Plan of Salvation lesson and said that this is what her family needs. We taught her this week about the restoration and she prayed at the end of the lesson. WE invited her to baptism and she'll need some time to think about it, but here's the cute part... her little 8 year old daughter Madeline sat through the whole lesson and when we invited Cindy to be baptized, she piped up and told her mom that she wants to be baptized!
One other miracle. Saturday evening we went out with our Elders' Quorum President. All our appointments fell through, and so we ended up visiting a new member that just moved into our ward. His name is Jose and he lives alone while his whole family lives in Mexico. As we met with him he was just so grateful that we came over and he was just so grateful to have someone to talk to. It's strange how Heavenly Father let all our plans fall through just so we could go minister to this man. Things just always work out when you plan and work hard.
I've been learning a lot this week. This week we had Brother Jarman (head of MTC training) come to our mission and evaluate us. In a leadership training meeting he taught us about our purpose is to HELP people receive the restored Gospel. And the way we help them is through Church tours and establishing our purpose in the beginning of lessons. Our purpose should not be a secret and we should be open with our intentions, especially to baptize and help others pray and read the scriptures.
La vida es buena. The streets are covered in ice still, so we have to walk to places for P-day, but that's ok, we have another great week lined up, and I hope we can continue to see miracles.
Que Dios les bendiga!
Con Amor,
Elder Powley 

Week 86 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 24 February 2014

Mi querida familia,

This past week was great! We had a few miracles on Friday with follow-up appointments today and tomorrow. I pray the Lord has continued to soften their hearts since then. 

We had a lot of meetings this week. Elder Beus and I taught a training on Tuesday to our whole Zone on Establishing Expectations with our investigators using How to Begin Teaching, specifically using the 10th How to Begin Teaching Point (see PMG chapter 10) In essence we practiced how to establish the expectation of baptism in the first lesson. A comment from one of the missionaries in our zone has led me to a new realization... the baptismal invitation is the keystone for all other invitations. Why do we invite people to pray, read the Book of Mormon, and come to church? It's because we ultimately want them to be baptized for the remission of sins and into the Lord's kingdom so that they my gain eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom. People must know that our purpose is for them to be baptized. If we beat around the bush, we do a disservice to those that we meet with. And let me assure you, there is a way to present baptism in a non-pushy, aggressive manner. When done out of love, and solemnity of heart, we do not need to fear being offensive. Oh i love being a missionary! Where else do you get such an opportunity to invite complete strangers to be baptized? Oh it's just great. It's frustrating at times, but just endure faithfully until the Lord works his miracles. 

Our mission is fasting for 70 baptisms in March, and I believe we can make it. We already starting to see the Lord preparing the people here. Let me account two experiences:

Friday evening I was on exchanges with Elder Corbin. As we were trying potential investigators. We came to this one house. It was super dark and the house was actually in the back yard of another house. So we walked into this barely lit alley to get there. As we approached the stairs to the front door, a lady opens her curtains and sees us outside. We smile and wave and she closed the curtains. When we got to the door, she had already come outside and said as a matter of fact "Latter Day Saints." We said yes that's who we were. we mentioned who we were trying to visit. The man wasn't home, but this lady introduced herself as Linda and then said that we could come back to visit her. We were pretty surprised. so we set up an appointment, and the whole time we were talking, she was just in awe and amazement saying over and over "ask and ye shall receive." We prayed with her and left a Book of Mormon. She was close to tears by the time we left. We're going back tonight with a member! I hope and pray we can help her out!

Then just yesterday, a young couple came and sat next to us in Sacrament meeting. The young man was a member that just moved in and the lady sitting next to him was his non-member girlfriend. The talks were all centered on missionary work, and after the meeting, the member turns to us and introduces his girlfriend saying that she was interested in baptism! They lived in the sisters' area so we introduced them to the sisters. Turns out that this lady is just obsessed with the church at this time! The sisters have an appointment with her this evening. 

This is why I titled the subject "Looking forward to this next week" The Lord is preparing the vineyard for a great harvest in the month of March. Get excited! We just need to repent a little bit and stay diligent so that we can have the privilege of being a part of the miracle.

I love this gospel, and I know that the Lord is directing this work! I'll admit it's been slow and at times I've felt distant from God because of my weaknesses. But this is nothing new. We just need to endure faithfully and hope for a brighter future. My companion Elder Beus and I have had a common obsession for the musical "Annie" that past week, we'll often be caught singing from memory some of the songs together including "It's a hard knocked life for us" and "the sun will come out tomorrow." Life is great! 

I love you all!

Que dios les bendiga!

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 85 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 17 February 2014

Mi querida Familia,
We had a pleasant week here in OKC. Elder Beus had a cold so we had to stay inside for a good chunk of time. Nevertheless, we were able to schedule appointments and visit those that we needed too. 
Interesting thing happened this week. W have a recent convert named Candice. She is awesome! She was formerly a Catholic but she went through a miraculous conversion because of a friend she works with. But funny story with her I-pad. On her i-pad she had both the Gospel Library app and also an E-Bible ap. In the past few weeks, she had been receiving e-mails from the E-Bible app that were targeted against Latter Day Saints. How they knew she was Mormon, we don't know. Anyways she decided to delete the E-bible app, and when she did, something happened where all the software on the Gospel Library app just disappeared, and when she went to click on the app, the icon just fizzled away...weird. Satan is using any means to be able to try and break our testimony of the restored gospel, because he knows how much eternal joy this gospel can bring us.

We've had a lot of success this week with less-actives. Sister Wickwire, whom Elder Kennedy and I were working with for a few weeks came to church yesterday! We were very excited to see her. D'Quan also came. It's just always good to have him in gospel essentials class; he has the most unique perspective on things. We were talking about the Fall of Adam and Eve and how Adam was also Michael the Archangel in the Pre-existnce, and he commented on how faithful Adam must have been to accept the calling to be the first man on earth. Think about it, he was the leader of millions of brothers and sisters, someone who had a lot of power and recognition and he had to be the first man on earth, and basically give up his standing as an Archangel and be on earth with relatively few people. You have to be there in class to hear him explain himself, it's hilarious! He's got such a great attitude about life. 

We had a lesson with our investigator Michael yesterday and it went well. But I came out of that lesson with a question: what does it mean to be saved? I did a personal study with that question in mind this morning and I found some interesting insights. I invite everyone to do the same because in order for us to help our brothers and sisters who are Christian and aren't yet members of the church we need to understand what the word "saved" really means.

And to be honest it can mean quite a few things. One instance I read about is the story of King Lamoni's wife. After being unconscious for a few hours, she wakes up and proclaims, Oh blessed Jesus who has saved me from an awful hell. She mentions how Jesus had saved, but up to this point she had not been baptized. She had simply exercised simple faith and repentance. so in a way, you can be saved by simply exercising faith. You can be saved from going down the wrong path. The problem is, is that being saved is not a one time deal. It's a process that you have to keep on applying. Unless a man endure to the end he cannot be saved. 

So when people mention that they've been saved, they are correct. Accepting Christ into life even with not by the proper authority can save you from a life of misery and sadness. However, salvation in the Celestial kingdom and the sanctification required to become like HEavenly Father requires a little more: ordinances, covenants, enduring to the end, changing your nature etc..

I am so grateful for the restored Gospel which helps save me not only in the short term, but in the eternal perspective of things. I can change my nature into one more similar to Christ if I keep his commandments and learn how to love others. 

Anyways, it was a good study and I plan on pondering a little more on what it means to be saved. I love how the Spirit can teach us through the scriptures. there are so many doubts that can be resolved we will just study it out in our minds and apply the things we learn! The Book of Mormon is so true and brings us closer to Christ!
Have a great week everyone!
Con Amor,
Elder Powley  
PS -- a little about some of the duties of a Zone Leader -- some of you asked:
Being a Zone Leader is very rewarding. Some of the most rewarding experiences are to go on training visits with the other missionaries. I love the opportunity to lift encourage and inspire missionaries on a personal level.
Usually, as zone leaders we train the whole zone about once a month. We sit in on District meetings and give advice on the concerns other missionaries have in their areas. 
Some of the trainings we've done include principles such as "teaching when you find", working with members, and tomorrow we are giving a training on our purpose and the importance of establishing expectations for baptism in the first lesson. We find that investigators are more able to progress when they understand our expectations and there's no misconceptions. A lot of times missionaries will find people to teach but not even bring up baptism and then after a few lessons, they don't invite and their visits become more of just talking about the word and less about inviting people to action. 
So there's a little bit about what we do as Zone Leaders. In a few weeks, our mission is getting evaluated and we'll have a leadership council with the President of Mission Headquarters. Can't wait! 
Have a great week!

Week 84 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - 10 February 2014

Mi querida familia,

And so begins another transfer here in Quail Creek.  The cold has really slowed us down. Not many people let us in. Oh well. We'll just keep on working until someone does let us in:)

I want to really quick bear my testimony of the power of priesthood blessings of comfort and counsel. I've had the chance to give a few here on the mission, but this last Tuesday I think was the first time I ever received a blessing on my mission. I asked Elder Kennedy to give me one the night before exchanges because I was worried about taking on more responsibility with a larger zone and such, and I just want to so that as he gave the blessing I felt like I was in direct communication with my Father in Heaven. The counsel I received was so real and inspiring and exactly what I needed. To all those who are stressed out back at home, if you haven't in a while, ask for a priesthood blessing. You'll feel the love of our Heavenly Father in such a powerful way that you will receive the strength and guidance you need. If you are serving a mission, don't feel afraid to ask for a blessing as well. I think i had it in my mind that I didn't need priesthood blessings while on the mission. But that is just not true, we need to feel God's love at all times. 

We haven't been able to teach a lot of lessons the past few weeks so I don't have as many teaching miracles to share this week. It's strange having a larger zone, we do a lot more planning than we would do otherwise. This last friday we drove out to Edmond to go to a district meeting out there. I got to go on a quick exchange with one our new district leaders Elder Adamson. It was such a great exchange, we actually had a cool miracle. We tried visiting a potential who wasn't home. As we were walking away, I saw this lady walk out of her house. Made eye-contact and we waved and said hi...note to self, if anyone you're walking by does enough to say hi back to you, it means you need to go talk to them more. So that's what we did. We went over and talked with her and offered to say a prayer with her. she gladly accepted. We prayed and she wasn't interested in hearing more about the church, but she referred us to another house where there was another person who needed prayer. So we went there. We knocked and a young man answers the door named Martel. We mention who we are and that we were sent by one of his neighbors. He tells us that his aunt was the one really stressed out but she wasn't home. We offered to pray with him and he allowed us right into to his warm home. We talked for a bit and we knelt done and prayed together. And it was such a great prayer. We talked afterwards about the Restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment for tomorrow. Hopefully Elder Adamson and his companion will see some progress out of it. 

The Spirit leads and guides us according to our faith. Kind of like the Liahona... 

I do have faith, I just forget at times because I can only see things based on the present time, but God has eternal perspective and I truly believe that if I focus on the baby steps, what I need to do today, then I can avoid a lot of stress and move forward confidently. 

Pray! It works! You can receive revelation when you pray. I am so grateful for a knowledge that god listens and answers prayers in his own time. I trust him so much and I hope I can be accoutned as worthy to be an instrument in his hands to complete his will here in Quail Creek.

I love you all. I pray daily for you and I am so grateful for my family. You all influence me so much. 

Que Dios les bendiga! Que tenga milagros en sus vidas! Oren cada dia a fin de que Dios puede hablar consigo! 

Con amor,

Elder Powley

Week 83 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - February 3, 2014

Mi querida familia,
The 7 week transfer is almost over, and yesterday we got transfer calls. I will be staying here in Quail Creek (que bien!) with Elder Beus (who was my companion a little less that a year ago back in Clinton) and Elder Kennedy is getting transferred....to Idaho. Yep, his 2 years are up this Wednesday. It's been very interesting to see what it's like for a missionary during his last transfer. Aside from all the "trunky" jokes that we all tease him with occasionally, he has remained very diligent and focused on the work. He's got such great charity. I used to think that it doesn't really matter too much if a missionary says good-bye to the people in his area because people shouldn't be getting too attached to the missionaries anyways, but my perspective has changed quite a bit. A simple good-bye means a lot. It's an act of love a charity when done properly. It's a good way to seal the friendship you've formed and bear your testimony to them. Sure, people aren't supposed to get solely attached to the missionaries, but there is some level of attachment that has to happen I guess. This work is a work of love and we're supposed to form loving relationships with those we serve. Good lesson for me, because I tend to try and avoid getting to personal with people because of fear and shyness.
The week was slow. We called and set up so many appointments in advance, scheduled members, and they all fell through. It's interesting, even though we didn't see the desired results, I don't feel as discouraged as perhaps I would have felt a few years ago. Failure doesn't seem to matter any more. We did our part. Maybe we could have talked to a few more people, but it's all in the Lord's Hands. We share the burden with him.
Went on exchanges with Elder Finlinson! ( from Brighton and our stake)  What a great missionary! His spanish is incredible and he has some massive bike-pedaling legs...I could hardly keep up with him:) His got wonderful charity for the members of the Branch. I'll try and send pictures.
One of the highlights this week for me was a lesson we taught to our recent convert Candice. What an incredible lady! She is formerly Catholic, but she had a Mormon friend that invited and fellowshipped her into the Church. And she is solid. A few days back we taught her the Plan of Salvation but this time going a little more in depth with the more unique parts of the Gospel (Pre Earth life, Spirit World, Exhaltation etc) We used the Pearl of Great Price (I love the Pearl of Great Price, it ties up so many loose ends and answers so many questions) and Candice just loved it. It was a great experience for me because sometimes people criticize the truly unique aspects of the Doctrine, but as we taught and testified, I truly felt the Holy Ghost backing up our words. We were teaching truth. We did exist with our Father in Heaven before this life and this life is a probationary time for US to se if we will be faithful and live up to the inheritance that our Father has in store for us. Jesus Christ makes it possible through his Atonement!
I'm looking forward to next transfer and I'm also a little nervous. Our Zone is getting dissolved and we are merging with another Zone. Elder Beus and I will have responsibility over 25 missionaries instead of 15 from the past Zone. A lot more logistics...ahh! But a lot more people to love which is great! Keep me in your prayers because this next transfer is definitely going to bring some growing pains for me:)
Happy Birthday to Jane! She is such a cute dancer I hope she will want spend even half as much time with me as she does with you all. You are such a wonderful family to me. I was especially touched with the video of Jane blowing out her candles. She had some trouble and at one point almost gives up on the second candle....yet someone kindly encourages her to "blow harder" and she took courage and blew out the last two candles! It's such a small detail, but I think it's packed with significance. Christ is our older brother and he is always just encouraging us to "blow a little harder" endure a little longer and we will be successful.
I know this gospel is true. Progression is God's plan. This church is truly the Lord's kingdom on the earth.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley

Week 82 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - January 27, 2014

Mi querida familia,
Very insightful week. It was stake Conference this week. I got to translate from English to Spanish. I love translating, there is just something that happens to you spiritually when you translate something correctly from English to Spanish. It's like you hear the message twice and feel the Spirit twice (once in both languages). Donna came and sat in the front few rows. She is solid. We invited her to attend the temple on Feb. 15 for the first time and she accepted! Real growth is happening. Things have slowed down with D'Quan and his mom unfortunately. This week we're hoping to meet with them. It's just really hard because LaVonna works a lot. Keep praying for them!
Let me tell you about a miracle we had this week! About a week ago, I was on exchanges with my grandson (Elder Cluff) and while we were driving to dinner, we see this car stopped in the middle of a very busy road. We pulled over to go see if we could help. The lady (Kayla) had ran out of gas, so we offered to push the car over to a safer area. We did so and she was very gracious. She said she had been praying for help for a while and no one was stopping. We only briefly talked and we straight just invited her if she would allow us to visit her and share a message on Christ. She accepted! And this past Friday we got to teach her. The appointment was set a week in advance, we called and confirmed the night before, and we kindly encouraged her to meet with us. After a lot of waiting, she ended up coming to the Church for a lesson. When she came to the lesson, she pointed out the two things that impressed her. 1. The service we did for her. 2 The way we handled organizing the appointment calling in advance and such. I never would have thought that calling in advance would have a profound effect on someone. I guess there is something about the administrative aspect of missionary work (making phone calls, verifying appointments) that allows the Spirit to touch someone. Who knew?
Great lesson! After the opening prayer she said that she had had doubts about coming that evening, but felt a peaceful confirmation after we prayed. Kayla didn't quite accept the Restoration off the bat, but she is interested in studying more. She is moving to Georgia in a few weeks, but we'll help her the best we can while she's here.
We've many other finding miracles this week, I wish I could go on and on. But I must say that I'm gaining a stronger testimony of prayer, and letting the Spirit work it's miracles.
I also have a deeper testimony of the Restoration. We have a Jewish friend named Bill that we meet with occasionally. We were talking about the Bible and he keeps talking about how it's not accurate and such. In the middle of the lesson, it just dawned on me the importance and necessity of a Restoration. The English translation deviates very commonly from the original Hebrew version. There are many misconceptions and things that can be misinterpreted. There is no way someone can settle religious disputes with just an appeal to the Bible. Their needed to be a Divine Restoration through a living prophet. And I am so grateful for the Restoration. I may not be able to prove everything about Joseph Smith, but I know that the Gospel as restored through him by Jesus Christ has given me such a strong foundation for everything I do.
Have a great week everyone and let the Holy Ghost be your guide. He's real.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley 

Week 81 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - January 20, 2014

Mi querida familia,
We found new investigators this week! This is pretty miraculous since we've been in a bit of a dry spell since the beginning of this month. The number one miracle this week was the lesson with had with D'Quan's mom, LaVonna. She is so awesome. We had a spectacular first lesson with her on Wednesday at the church. When we walked into the chapel, we asked how she felt, and she felt very peaceful. As we taught the first lesson, she seemed to agree with a lot of the things we were teaching. She accepted the invitation to be baptized when she found these things were true. And even better, she said the closing prayer. She felt the Spirit!... and then she came to Church on Sunday! Great start! Please pray that she may continue to progress and that the seed we've planted will fall on good soil and not amongst thorns.
That was our main miracle. We met and taught a man who actually received the Book of Mormon as a gift from his aunt when he was 7. It was a great first lesson as well. He was so worried about his family. He recognizes that the world is going south and that it's becoming increasingly harder for raising kids in righteousness. I don't know what it's like to raise kids yet, but I am so grateful that my parents raised me in this Church. I can see how the past 18-19 years of preparation has prepared me and fortified me for the years to come. I am learning how to use so many tools, the most effective of which is prayer. I know that I can contact my Heavenly Father and talk to him. He may not talk back immediately, but I know he hears me and is shaping me into who I'm meant to be.
What else happened this week? I went on exchanges and as we were driving, the lady in front of us ran out of gas. My companion and I pulled over and pushed the car over to a nearby parking lot. She was very grateful, and since we were short on time, we asked if we'd be able to visit her and share a message on Jesus Christ. She said yes! Wow, not many people would respond so positively to a couple of strangers wanting to come over and visit to share a message about Jesus Christ. Service softens hearts to receive invitations by the Holy Ghost. We have an appointment with the lady this Friday. Hopefully it turns out. Unfortunately, it's been common to find that miracles one day, end up short lived in about a week. Satan is very tricky in causing people to forget miracles. Forgetting miracles really puts a negative spin on life, because you start to think that God isn't answering prayers.
 In other news, we had some good rejection last night... it's good to be rejected every now and then I figure, it helps you grow more humble.
Life is good. I hope y'all are doing well. Thanks for your support. I love you so much.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley

Week 80 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - January 13, 2014

Mi querida familia,
What a great week! The first half of the week was super slow. We have been finding people to teach, but they've all ended up either cancelling appointments or not being too interested. Most of our joy at this time comes from seeing recent converts progress and of course the baptism we had on Saturday in Clinton.
And it was a great baptism! Cindy was baptized with no problems or distractions. Elder Tanner sang "Be Still My Soul" and I played the arrangement by Marshall McDonald for "I Believe in Christ. The Spirit was very strong. The Clinton ward did a tremendous job in supporting Cindy. I think that is one of the greatest joys a missionary can have: see the members of the ward welcome and take care of investigators. I can't be in Clinton forever, but the ward will always be there. I think this must be how Heavenly Father feels when he sees his children taking care of each other. He can't be physically with us always, but he can always count on his servants to make sure that others feel his love.
I just marvel at the progress Cindy has made. She came from not understanding in the Pre-Existence to this point where she has such a stronger testimony of Christ and his abounding mercy. I'm so proud of her and I pray that she can continue to progress in the gospel towards the temple...the place where you can feel God's love the most in this chaotic world.
I have such a testimony of the Doctrine of Christ. It can change lives as long as we remain humble and continue steadfastly partaking of the Sacrament and applying the teachings of the prophets in our lives.
Other miracles this week: almost all of our recent converts came to church this week! D'Quan and Donna came! And they both participated in the Sunday School Discussion. D'Quan gave an interesting perspective on exaltation that I'd never thought of before. It doesn't make sense that a loving Heavenly Father would want to just want one person to achieve the type of glory he has. He wants everyone to live like him! We just have to work for it. When one person breaks and Olympic World Record for the 100 M dash, does everyone just stop running? No, they keep working to achieve that standard. Jesus Christ is our examplar and he doesn't want us to fall short. We do fall short because of our imperfections but, through his grace he can lift us higher than we can imagine...if we just keep the commandments and let him.
Donna also wrote us a letter about her conversion! It's such a great letter, sounded like it came straight from the Ensign. I'll have to get a copy to send to y'all!
This week we've also been working a lot more with members, particularly at dinner appointments. We've been focusing more on trying to get commitments from people and we've seen a difference in the work.
Have a great week everyone! The work is progressing, don't forget that.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley
PS. Sorry that everyone is looking different directions in both pictures. There were like 50 cameras going off at once


Week 79 - Pictures

Some pictures of Andrew in Oklahoma...

Week 79 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - January 6, 2014

Mi querida familia, Feliz Nuevo Ano! It's been a little slow around here in the city since Donna got baptized. Our teaching pool is shrinking, and many of the people we teach aren't progressing too much. But these aren't unique problems, and it will take the same solutions I've been taught my whole mission: pray for miracles, work hard and prepare spiritually. This last week, I was listening to a talk by Elder Douglas Callister of the 70. He talked about a lady that he met in Russia who apporached him and shared a concern "I served a mission and expierienced wonderful growth. Now that I'm off the mission, I do everything I'm supposed to but I feel like I'm not growing spiritually." Elder Callister then talked about how he was not the solution to her problem, but that the solution was rather "You need to take control of your life." Take control of your prayer life instead of aimlessely praying about everything. Take time to talk to HEavenly Father and mention just a few things. Take control of the conversation you have, take control of your fasting and he went on to talk about more things. Ultimately what I got out of it was to pay more attention to your spiritual growth. Recently I've felt like I've been plateauing in my spiritual growth and I've started trying to take more control of my life and specifically take control of my mission. Its so easy to fall into temptation and only want to endure through life. I remember talking with a less active and asking him how God has blessed his life. He responded that he was grateful that God was just helping him keep his head above water. Think about that for a sec. Does God want us to just be at the point of drowning just trying to keep our head above water? Or does he want us to walk on water? Or even find refuge in a boat of some sort? It is so easy to just want to endure ,that we forget that the Lord wants us to do more. He wants us to grow and find joy in growing, seeing miracles, helping souls come unto Christ and so forth. So take the time to set so goals and develop new habits. I'm going to try and do so and hopefully I can see some real growth in myself spiriually and physically these next few months. The biggest ray of sunshine this week I would have to say is the progress Donna is making. She took us out to dinner on New Year's Eve and she mentioned how her dreams were different after baptism. Instead of dreaming about Josh Groban :) she had been dreaming about keeping the standards of the church. She has finished the Doctrine and Convenants and Pearl of Great Price! The members are fellowshipping her, she participates in class...this is real growth! I love it! I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us this week. We need some miracles if the work is going to progress, which means that if we're faithful, we'll see some things happen. I look forward to this Saturday since I get to go back to Clinton to see an past investigator get baptized. It's gonna be great. Have a great week everyone! Que Dios le bendiga, y fijen metas dignas con planes especificas para que puedan tener crecimiento espiritual mas eficaz. Dios les ama y queire que nosotros lleguemos a ser semejante a el; y si es el deseo de nuestros corazones, El puede ayudarnos a obtener nuestros metas! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 78 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - Dec 30, 2013

Mi querida familia, Oh we had a great Christmas week! It was great to hear everyone's voices. Matthew and Thomas sounded like they had the same voice...wow they've grown up so fast. Our baptism with Donna was a great experience! It went smoothly without any problems and it was a beautiful service. Many ward members came and supported her, we had two recent converts give the opening and closing prayer, and we had a less active who hasn't come to church in 3 years come to the baptism as well. Our mission experienced a miracle this past month with 57 baptized for the remission of sins. This is the highest number of baptisms in a month that this mission has ever seen. the Lord is definitely hastening his work even in Oklahoma. We've seen so many miracles in this area. A lot of times I forget how prevalent the miracles in my life, but every time I take the time to reflect and remember how merciful the Lord has been, I am filled with the Spirit and those doubts seem to melt away. Christmas Eve was rather miraculous in the fact that we met D'Quan's mom for the first time! And she was super friendly and out-going, she tole us that she wanted to start learning about the Church. Apparently D'Quan has been telling her all about it and she is excited to learn more. Please pray that her work schedule will permit her to meet with us more often so that we can help her enter the waters of baptism. We also took a less active lady in our area to dinner with us at a member's home. It was good to get her out of the house since she doesn't have any family nearby, and the family she does have don't really want to associate with her as much. Other miracles: we found a new investigator! Shawn was someone we met a month ago and we just finally got back in contact with him. He let us in and we got to share the Restoration. It was short and simple and the Spirit testified very strongly. We invited him to pray at the end and he did so. It was one of the most simple, yet sincere prayers I've ever heard. Afterwards he mentioned how that was the first time he'd ever prayed and it felt good! The Spirit does all the hard work! I love it! Also, Cindy (one of my investigators from Clinton) is officially getting Baptized on Jan. 11th! WAHOO! Miracle! I remember praying for a miracle with her and the Lord has finally opened up the way for her to be baptized. She has sacrificed so much and suffered so much. Please keep her in your prayers so that no unexpected road blocks come in the way! I love this Church. We visited with someone who was expressing skepticism about some of the Doctrines of the Church particularly the Book of Mormon. It's interesting how people always try to find ways to discredit the Book of Mormon, its because if they can then everything else about the Church falls with it. But here's the thing, no one can ever fully deny the Book of Mormon. It is true and invites men to come unto Christ. It helps me personally stay on the straight and narrow. I love Jesus Christ! If you really think about every blessing we receive comes because of the hope we gain from his Atonement! I hope everyone had a merry christmas! I look forward to our baptism in January (we don't have one planned yet, but we are confident that it will happen and the Lord will provide:) Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 77 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - Dec 23, 2013

Mi querida familia, Feliz Navidad a todos! Life is great! It was a little slower this week since Elder Kennedy got strep. But the Lord still provided for some wonderful teaching experiences. We had a "freezing rain" this past week. This is where it rains in the evening, and then freezes completely by morning. There was literally 2 inches of ice on our car! Yet it was cool to see all the trees and plants covered in ice. I was looking a tree last night just as the sun was going down and the sun the ice on the trees glistened in the sun, almost as if it had Christmas lights on it. It was a great sight. This truly is a beautiful world. Donna is doing well, she is getting baptized this next Saturday. Please include her in your prayers so that everything will go smoothly even though the baptism is smack dab in the middle of the holidays. We had a great Christmas Conferance on Saturday. One thing that stuck out to me was a training that Sister Walkenhorst gave us. She gave a talk about Christmas and the best gift that our Heavenly Father can recieve. She told a story about the father of a small family who received a gift from his son. The gift was a small scout journal. Every page had the letters GT on it, and most had an x through the letters. The father's son wrote a note explaining that every time he did a Good Term, he marked it off in his journal. The father then exclaimed "This is the best gift I've ever received." It got me thinking. The best gift a parent can receive is an assurance that their child is doing good. The Lord commands us to love our neighbors and so when we do good terms daily, he is happy. When we share the Gospel, he is pleased with our efforts. When a soul makes a special covenant with him through baptism, he is so joyful (D&C 18). I get a taste of that when I hear that investigators I've taught in the past are still doing good. I was talking with the Elders who are serving in Clinton at this time and I heard news about Cindy, who was a past investigator. She had still been attending church. Her work hours changed and she is determined to get a new job so that she can still attend church and eventually be baptized. It's little things like that that make the mission worth...seeing those you care about staying on the straight and narrow. So the best gift we can ultimately give to our Savior is to keep his commandments. When we do so, we are blessed and the Lord is happy. Cool teaching experience: WE were teaching a man named Deandre. During the lesson we talked about convenants and while we were teaching, he just opened up about how he was feeling about the Gospel. He is reading and praying and he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet, but he has problems with thinking the man who baptized him in the past didn't have authority. He loves the church but he is waiting for an answer. In the lesson I asked him "If I gave you a way to recieve an answer, would you do it?" "He looked at me said, jokingly, "if it's to be baptized then no." I laughed and so "No. Come to Church with us." and he paused and said that he would come to church! Miracle! I think that was the first time we got a solid commitment to come to church from him ever. The Spirit can change people's hearts. I am constantly praying for it to change mine, so I can continually become more like Christ. I love this Gospel and I am so grateful for the Restoration. Next to the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Restoration of the Gospel is one of the greatest gifts to the world from our Heavenly Father. He's called prophets in our days! He's revealed so many great and marvelous things and they are available to all who dilligently seek and humble themselves. Our Eternal Family is such a gift! We must share with others! I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I will call home at 1pm Oklahoma time. Can't wait to talk to y'all! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 76 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - Dec 16, 2013

Mi querida familia, I have so many insights to talk about this week and I wish I had time to explain all of them. We've had some great experiences and miracles this past week. We hadn't seen D'Quan for the past two weeks and this Sunday he came to church! (Sigh of Relief!) He's doing well and he has a story to tell us tonight during our lesson. Can't wait, he always has the most interesting stories. Transfer calls were yesterday, I am staying here a third transfer with Elder Kennedy (which is going to be his last). I'm excited, Elder Kennedy is one of those missionaries that is not going to let up and I can't wait the see all the miracles the Lord has in store for us. This could possibly be my last area the more I think about it. We had an awesome finding experience last wednesday! It was 8:45 (the best finding miracles always happen at 8:45 I don't know why). We stopped by a less-active house and then we felt prompted to try a few doors. We came up to this one house with a sign that said "Beware of Dog1 He eats whoever I shoot!" So my companion knocks and an old grizzly- looking man opens the door and my companion says "Hi we're representatives of Jesus Christ hoping we don't get shot or eaten' the man laughed and asked what church we were from. WE said "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints" and then the man answered "Come on in!!" We then had some great lessons with him this week. He gets very emotional about his wife that passed away and he asked us the quesiton "Will my wife recognize me in heaven?" What a wonerful opportunity we had to bear testiomony of the restored priesthood authority. During one of our lessons with Gordon (this man we met) we invited him to be baptized. He said he already had. And then we explained the authority a little more in detail. He then changed and said, I'll have to think about it. The Spirit has such great power when we teach true doctrine! When we teach pure doctrine with confidence and love, we can see the Holy Ghost work his wonders! I'm learning so much about having to rely on the Lord. There is no way you can preach the gospel of the Restoration with just your own knoweldge and understanding. The Sprit has to be there. We had another experience with Donna (who has a baptismal date for the end of this month keep praying for her bytheway). Earlier last week we taught the Law of Tithing and she had some issues with paying it. She understood the principles but simply lacked faith. We had a priest with us and he bore a powerful testimony on tithing with his family (let me invite all you holders of the Aaronic Preisthood to go out with the missionaries, the Lord will use you in miraculous that you can't even believe, you don't have to wait til you're called and set apart as a full-time missionary). Even after that lesson she still had issues, until yesterday. We were teaching her yesterday and she brought up all her concerns. We used scriptures, conferance talks, everything we could to teach the correct principles, but it didn't seem to do much. Then we just bore testimony about how the Lord was going to change Donna into a better person. Promised her that the Lord has so much in store for her if she will keep the commandments. And she started to cry. We asked what she was feeling and she felt that everything was going to be ok. She felt the Holy Ghost! We then got a more solid commitment from her. The Spirit converts, the spirit converts! It's a miracle that we don't have to rely solely on our own abilites to do this work! The Lord will change us according to our obediance and faith. Other great experience: we were teaching a young couple last night in our ward mission leader's home. The lesson was the very picture of how missionary work can happen. The missionaries can either find random people to teach (which I love because the Lord leads us to them) or the members can prepare people to be taught. The latter yields more spiritual experiences. The Lord must be teaching me something about what I need to do after the mission. Anyways have a great week everyone! Thanks for the package! The sweater fits nicely and is perfect for this brisk Oklahoma weather! To my mom and all my sisters you look beautiful, and to dad and my brothers, you look very "large in stature" due to the priesthood, keep up the good work. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 75 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - Dec 9, 2013

Mi querida familia, Wow, what a week. So on Thursday we had the first real snowstorm of the year...2 inches of snow! We were talking to a member about the weather conditions and she said the Oklahoma was in a state of emergency. So I thought to myself... hmm 2 inches of snow = state of emergency in Oklahoma and then my companion and i laughed (since we're both from Utah and Idaho). We soon ate our words when we found out the danger wasn't the sonw but rather...the ice. Oh my word, the streets were frozen! And Oklahomans don't know how to drive on the ice. There were so many accidents on the freeway and there aren't any snow plow systems like there are in Utah. Basically only the main roads got plowed and all the residential areas were iced over. Needless to say, all vehicles were grounded. Well, my companion and I didn't like the idea of staying inside, so we went old school and walked around the near by neighborhoods. People thought we were crazy, we didn't get too much success. This one guy we talked to started preaching against us and we got an opportunity to bear a powerful testimony on the Book of Mormon.It truly contains the same gospel as the Bible (the same good news that Jesus is the Christ) and is such a powerful tool in helping us come closer to Christ. I've really learned how to avoid arguing with people about religion while on the mission. although the message we share is true, arguing will never bring the spirit, only bearing true testimony and showing sincere love, and praising other people for their faith in Christ. Life is great. Donna is progressing really well! She came to church again and she's read up to Alma 55! Please pray for her to help her keep the Word of Wisdom! We did a fun service activity on friday. sicne the roads were iced over, my companion and I decided to step outside the box a little. So we rounded up some shovels and we went tracting to go offer to shovel peoples driveways. We had some great service experiences including one older gentleman who had a pacemaker and couldn't shovel snow himself. We also got a lot of the same responses from many people than if we were knocking doors offering to pray with them. "No thanks, we're ok." Wow, rejecting free service to shovel driveways. It reminded me how it is a humbling experience to accept help from others. Remember to accept gifts with graciousness. giving is important, but receiving with graciousness is just as important. I also learned that asking permission to serve is not always the best idea. For example if you ask, "Will you let us shovel your driveway for free?" People are more inclined to so "No thanks, we're ok." But if you rather see that the driveways needs shoveling and just do it, then you get the service done and people are generally grateful for it. Obviously follow the spirit, we don't want to impose on people too much. But if you know someone that needs service, you don't always have to ask for permision. i've learned so much this weekend. Merry Christmas everyone! Feliz Navidad! I love you tons! Let's get Jane some piano lessons she's sounding like a pro! Con Amor, Elder Powley