Week 5 - Oklahoma City - Aug 6, 2012

Mi querida familia,
It's been a hot, hot week here in Oklahoma. I think we hit record temperatures at least 2 or 3 times this week. It's been fun biking around and looking at the faces of people we contact when they check out our hair and shirts dripping with sweat. It actually is a good thing we sweat so much, I think it helps soften the hearts of those we meet to at least give us a glass of water. Then we've got them right where we want them: they want their cup back, and we want to share the Gospel!
Oh, there's been so much that has happened this week. I guess to start off, I got a new bike this week that replaced the old mission bike that I've been using for the past few weeks. Funny story about the mission bike though: this week we locked up the bike to go give a blessing to the father of one of our investigators. Incredibly spiritual, these people really have a strong testimony of priesthood blessings and were literally excited to invite us in to give a blessing. We got to bear our testimonies and were happy to hear that they are finally taking the Book of Mormon seriously.
Anyways great uplifting experience...we come back to get our bikes (now keep in mine we locked them up extremely well using a U-lock and everything) only to find that someone had stolen the bike seat of my mission bike. Now, forgive my language, but that's just plain rude! You can't do much with a bike seat so it was obvious that whoever took it just wanted to mess with us. So my companion and I took turns riding the bike the 20 blocks back to apartment without a seat. On the bright side, our thighs ae pretty massive by now.
Other than that, we had a very great time this week. We set a few baptismal dates. One of them was a little hard to set. We were teaching this lady the 2nd part of the Plan of Salvation about the Spirit World and such when she brought up the concern that we don't seem to believe in a hell. I was stumped for a second because we do believe in hell, but we also beleive in the Telestial glory. Anyways I got caught up trying to explain our point (didn't go very well) but thank goodness we brought our branch Mission Leader as a member to our lesson. HE was able to more clearly explain the doctrine behind our view on hell. I learned a lot from him. We then invited her to be baptized. At first she accpeted bat as soon as we set a date, she backed off because it was a little soon. So I got to explain to her that the purpose of a baptismal date is to set a tangible goal that she could progress to in order to be baptized. If you show the Lord that you have the specific desire to be baptized on a specific date, he will help you come to a knowledge by that time. WE testified of this and she accepted. It felt so good! now we just need to help her attend church, get the husband on board, expalin the Word of Wisdom, tithing, fasting, Gospel of Christ and of course the Law of Chastity... no big deal.
I had an interesting experience knocking on doors while on exchanges with one of the Zone leaders this week. We were serving in an English speaking area and let me tell you... I've never experienced a larger culture shock in my life! My eyes were finally opened up to how difficult it is to truly go around knocking on doors. Because in the Spanish community, people are a lot more humble and willing to listen. Not to mention, it's kind of entertaining to see a few white guys trying to speak Spanish. However, when you're an American knocking doors in an white-American suburb....it's a whole new ball-game. I never knew Americans were so hard to offer a prayer to. It was crazy. It showed me how much you really have to work in order to find those that are ready.
Sunday, we witnessed quite a miracle though. First, let me share the background of the situation. There was a family in the branch that got to go through the temple the day before. For that, the entire branch was deeply affected. Many people got to go bear their testmonies about eternal familes during Fast and Testimony meeting. It was incredibly spiritual, and I could even understand the majority of it.
Anyways, we have this one investigator who has literlaly been seeing the missionaries for nearly two years. She has a son who is going to be baptized this next Sunday (this is Alberto who I mentioned last week I believe) and today she was especially moved by the Spirit. She literally walked up to us and said she was ready to be baptized and wanted to get baptized with her son! WAHOOOOO! The Spirit is real everyone! Just the week before, you never would have guessed she was ready to commit. Before she'd always been very hesitant, but now she's realizing that she couldn't deny that she has felt happier than she has ever felt in her life... and all because of this Gospel!
I truly am starting to gain a testimony that this Gospel has the potential to change lives. Also, every day I'm reminded that the Spirit touches each person in their own time and place. Imagine if the missionaries stopped visiting to her even 6 months ago because they thought she wasn't progressing simply because she hadn't made any steps toward deciding to get baptized. She would never have chosen to get batized if it weren't the faith and perseverence of all the Elders that came before me. It just goes to show that as long as we do our part and not give up because we think someone isn't ready. You just never know, and ultimately it's the Spirit who converts, not the missionary.
Anyways, here's my week report I can't wait to tell you all about the baptism next week. I'm so excited!
Love you all and remember that this Gospel is true. I know I'm on a mission and it's a completly different atmosphere. I know when I was in the shoes of all my siblings, I don't I truly comprehended even a tenth of how real our Heavenly Father and his 'work and glory" truly are. The Atonement turly can change lives...it's changing mine.
Queden en la fe con mucha fortaleza!
Con Amor
Andrew Powley

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