May 31, 2012 Letter

Well, I'll be honest this past week has been a little tougher. I've found it harder to recognize the Spirit at times because you're so heavily immersed in it here at the MTC.  But everytime I feel a waver in my testimony, one principle keeps popping up: the divine reality of the "Book of mormon". Elder Holland made an excellent point that without believing in the Book of Mormon or the fact that our Church was literally restored through Jospeh Smith directly by Jesus Christ, our church has NOTHING! This is why, as missionaries we are always encouraged to use the Book of Mormon; once you sincerely believe in the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, there is no way you can deny the Church without lying to yourself. I challenge everyone to read it if they haven't already, or if so, read it again. Whenever you feel doubt about whether this Church is true... reflect on the Book of Mormon, it is living evidence of it's divinity.
The MTC is hodling up great. Fun little joke I heard from my cousin Katie Palmer: Jeremiah 4:19 perfectly describes what the MTC food does to you after a few weeks:)
I am loving this mission; my relationship with God increases every day becoming more personal and real.
I had a chance to hear some of the claims by the protestors outside the MTC on Sundays. One of their points is that God is not human and never was. For me, how can you even consider yourself a Child of God if not at first acknowledging the physical human body of God. True, he's not a natural man, he is glorious and perfect, and we can become like him through our works and the Atonement of Christ.
Spanish is going pretty well. I spoke nearly all day on Tuesday in Spanish, and I was surprised at how natural it's becoming. I'm sure I'll eat my own words once I actually get to Oklahoma and listen to natives speaking twice as fast.
But yeah things are going great, nothing quite exciting to report I'm afraid. I'll just say that the more I serve on this mission, the better it gets:)
Con Amor,
Elder Powley

May 24, 2012 Letter

This week has been a little slower than usual, but nonetheless full of uplifting moments.
First off, let me just say that I love the TRC! The volunteers are super nice and Elder Morrell and I are getting pretty good at Spanish. Nosotros somos missionaros y tenamos un mensaje sobre Jesucristo. It was actually a funny coincidence, I ended up teaching this girl I knew a few years back who was actually a friend of my cousin Emma. The funny thing was that I went on a double date with this girl, and I ended up teaching her a nice lesson on revelation:) Strange right? It was fun though
Had an interesting experience on Sunday. I don't know if this is common knowledge, I didn't know this until my mission, but apparently protestors like to stand in front of the MTC on Sunday afternoons. They must have figured out that us missionaries like to take walks to the temple every Sunday. They don't talk much, they basically stand there holding huge crosses that say "Jesus loves You". I silently think to myself "Thanks I already know that."
Anyways we've been instructed not to talk to them. It feels so cool to be a part of a pack of solid missionaries march straight past the protestors in silence. We know what we're doing is right in the sight of the Lord.
The rest of the week wasn't too eventful. Although I did see a recording of Elder Bednar's Christmas Devotional at the MTC this past year. Inspiring to say the least. He makes an interesting point that sums up the "Character of Christ": whenever the natural man would turn inward, Christ turns outward. Think about it, when Christ is suffering on the cross, he says "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." In his last moments, the Savior is thinking about others.
I reccomend everyond watch or read this talk. It's amazing and undoubtedly changed my perspective on what is expected to be a true desciple of Christ. The title is "The Character of Christ".
Things at the MTC are great! Can't wait to leave though. Hope everyone is doing well. Write me letters! I love hearing from everyone it helps me stay connected and stay motivated:)
With love,
Elder Powley

May 17 2012 Letter

My Dear Family,
Thanks you soooooo very much for your surprise gift inside my winter coat. That photo book of our last few days together is honestly probably the best gift I could ever recieve. I even used it in one of my progressing investigator discussions to help illustrate how much we love our families. I miss you guys terribly; not to the point of depression, but I just remember so many fond memoies of each one of your individual personalities.
A few things... Alex, don't complain about getting grounded :), honestly the MTC is like being grounded for 10 weeks: no cell phones, no music, 8 hours of studying, and no hanging out with friends, and curfew is at 10:00.
I am so sorry to here about Rachel's leg. Is she ever not in a cast? I guess she is just to skilled to play at such a young age level. She should be training with high school students:) Rachel, I hope you pray to God for comfort' he really loves you and wants to help you through your trials, you just need to ask:) Also a priesthood blessing never hurts.
Anyways I love you all. Give Jane a kiss for me.
Well, things are going great. It's hard to believe I've been here for 2 weeks. I'm still progressing in Spanish, and we recieved some more ongoing investigators (they're really our teachers). One is a non-member, catholic, amiable, family man named Javier, while the other is named Antonio. Antonio is a little different: he's jobless, depressed, a les active Church member, mom is sick in the hospital, and I think he has a drug addiction as well (they aren't the best actors). It was interesting, when I met with Antonio, I just felt this overwhelming sense of compassion and love for the man; honeslty Christ loves everyone regardless of their sins. You could tell the man was depressed. We asked him what he expected to get from meeting with Elder Morrell and I, and his answered really touched me: "I just want to be happy."
and that's the thing about this Gospel... it really makes people happy. I've never met Christ, but a must assume he must have been a happy person to be around.
I love my zone. We have this awesome tradition playing soccer every gym time we get.. I'm sure our playing methods are enough to make my little sister Rachel cringe :) there's basically no "offsides" rule, headers are illegal, no one knows how to score, and we all just run around like chickens with their heads cut off. This one time I was literally standing in front of the goal about to kick the ball, and I literally pulled a Charlie Brown moment and missed the ball; my foot didn't even make contact:) But it's fun and a great outlet from studying.
Oh, I totally need to rant about the MTC's rules on music. Basically, we aren't allowed to even listen to music inside our dorm rooms...including Motab or any kind of hymn! It's so lame. The Branch President tried to explain to me why, and when he did his explanation sounded reasonable enough. But sill... I mis listening to good music from Motab, Jon Schmidt, alex Boye and so forth. I also tried out for a musical number "Onward Christian soldiers"; the music board loved it but they said I need to work on not "performing". I think the rules with music are meant to humble me as a missionary; and it's working.
I will obey the rules. I've learned that obedience helps you feel the Spirit because you are more at one with God's plan for you. And honeslty, he knows whats best for you regardless of how sure you are of life.
I'm loving life right now though. Elder L. Tom Perry ( an apostle) gave an awesome devotional this week. He's like 90 years old and he literally jogged up the stairs to the podium. I don't remember much of the talk, but I do remember his powerful witness of preesthood authority and power! When he bore his testimony, his voice rose louder than it had the whole night. There is NO way he is lying or disillusioned. I can't explain what I felt that moment.
Tonight is my first night at the TRC. For those who don't know, th TRC is a training center where volunteers come in and role play investigators. They have Spanish speaking individuals, and the discussions are pretty realistic: non members even sometimes volunteer to come down. no pressure:)
Anyways, real quick, I want to bear my testimony that god lives and gives revelation through the Holy Ghost. It's never a huge vision or dream, but more of a quiet thought prodding you in the right direction, accompanied by a warm feeling in the heart.
Until Next Week,
Elder Andrew Powley

May 10 2012 First Letter

Hey everyone!
So sorry its taken me this long to send out my first update; this is actually the first time I've had a free moment as my P-day is on Thursday and they don't give new missionaries a P-day the first half week. But let me assure you, I am having an awesome time! It's like a constant dose of the Spirit every single day. If I had any doubts before, I am even more positive this is the place I need to be.
Now, for the essentials... my companion is an awesome guy from Kaysville by the name of Elder Morrell. He's really good at keeping things simple, which is good for me because I tend to get really elaborate with my lesson plans.
Spanish, is acutally coming really well! I've learned more Spanish in three days than I did a whole two semesters in High school. I've grasped the language fairly wuickly even to the point where I've started saying my personal prayers in Spanish. I even found the courage to bear my testimony in Spanish this past fast and testimony meeting. It's incredible how much the spirit manifests itself when you bear you testimony in another language; you can only say the simple things when you're learning a new language; and really it's the simple things that bring the most spirit in one's life.
They called me as a District Leader, which is really cool because I get to collect everyone's mail. We have three guys in our district that have steady girlfriends back home so its really funny to see their faces light up when you hand them their perfume scented letters. But seriously, I love the opportunity to lead out district meetings and bring the members of our district together.
My schedule is pretty standard; class and personal scripture study all day. We actually have an ongoing pretend investigator that Elder Morrell and I continually teach, set up appointments and such. Oh and we have to do all our lessons in total spanish! It's a really interesting experience; his name is Daniel, he has wife who's a member and a three year old son. We went into our first lesson hardly knowing any Spanish. I bore my testimony about la amor de Dios and familias eterne but that was about it. However, the spirit was so strong!
We are now in our fourth lesson; yesterday we invited him to be baptized...he said no. He simply wants to gain a witness for himself that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is God and Jesus Christ's church. Once he recieves that witness, he will accept the Gospel:)
An interesting thing I learned yesterday was the correcting to a common misconception I previously had about missionary work. I used to think "Oh, don't challenge and investigator to baptism on the first might scare them away or turn them off from receiving the spirit." This is incorrect. You should ALWAYS invite a person to baptism if they show interest. The worst thing that will happen is that they'll say no, and even then they will become more curious as to what the Gospel is really about. Plus the very pupose of a missionary, as outlined in Preach my Gospel, is to invite all to come unto Christ. And what better way to accomplish that than to lovingly invite people to follow the example of Christ, find faith unto repentance and be baptized?
It was fun to see an MTC devotional with Elder Christofferson yesterday. He is so much fun to listen to; I mean he has a way with delivering witty, religious jokes. And his testimony of the Gospel....unshakeable!!!
I don't have much time, but I'd like to share one last insight... I am not at the MTC to learn Spanish. I'll admit, the first three days my mind was stuck with the frame of mind "study Spanish, study Spanish, study spanish. I want the best instrument I can be in the Lord's hands, so study more Spanish." But I've had so many testimonies and witnesses that my main purpose is to convert myself to the gospel first. I need to develope my testimony even further; there's a whole new level of confidence I need to achieve to boldly teach the gospel. Spanish proficiency will come, but my testimony is the most important.
I love this Church and this Gospel. I miss everyone sooo much and hope you'll al continue to read el Libro De Mormon. Este libro es verdadero.
Love you all and God speed,
Elder Powley
PS. Family, use Dear Elder to send me letters, I need as much email time to actually type my letters than I do to read them.
Also Liz, please copy and paste everything in the letter onto Facebook! :)