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

Week 74 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - Dec 2, 2013

Mi querida familia, We had such a great week! I think I was feeling a little down yesterday, but when you take the time to count your blessings and look on the good things that happen, those moments of discouragement really do seem to fade away into nothing. I guess that's the power of the Atonement. I am so excited for this month. Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year where we get to focus on Christ a little more. The Nativity story has taken on so much more meaning on my mission. I am so greatful for my testimony of Christ. I take it for granted so often, but I realized just this morning that my faith in Christ is what has ennabled me to overcome so many doubts, fears, and inadequecies. This past week we had Thanksgiving. We didn't get to proselyte much, so spent most of the time with the members. We joined the ward at a local elementary school for a Turkey Bowl. I was sore for the next day, who knew all those muscles you use when you play football. IT was a great day to reflect on what I'm grateful for. It's strange, but I realized that my list of things that I'm thankful for has changed from before and after the mission ever slightly. I think I'm more thankful for spiecific people rather that specific things. I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon, but moreso I am grateful for the prophets who gave everything to make sure that those sacred testimonies of Christ were perserved. I am grateful for my mission, but I am more grateful for the companions that I've served with. They've helped me become who I am today. I am grateful for my family and the assurity the Gospel brings that we will be together for eternity. This knowledge makes me want to perserve those relationships the best I can. Ok, miracle for this week. Our mission president set a vision for our mission for this month...50 baptisms by the end of the month. A week ago, we had no baptismal dates and my companion and I were a little discouraged because we want to contribute to the mission vision. So we prayed and planned and organized the members and we had a miracle on Friday. We met and taught Donna the Plan of Salvation. She is a single older lady living at home. She has studied with another church in the past but has disagreed with most of their doctrine. WE taught the Plan of Salvation, and it basically answered all the questions she had from studying with the witnesses. She had also read up to 2nd Nephi 15 in the Book of Mormon and so far believes it's true. Then we invited her to be baptized on Dec. 28th. She paused, and said "Oh man that's really soon....ok I'll do it!" Woah! She said for 20 years she has been praying for God to show her her purpose and what she should do and this is it! We are so excited! She came to church yesterday and enjoyed it as well. Here's another insight: My companion Elder Kennedy and I were doing a REAL Play (which is basically where one person teaches and one person takes the role of the investigator) and while we were teaching, my companion (who was this lady that we found) asked me why I went to church. Then I taught her about the sacrament. As we talked we felt really impressed to talk about the sacrament during the lesson. So we brought it up in the lesson and...Donna just opened up about how she disagreed with the church she's studying with in that they don't allow everyone to partake of the sacrament (unless you are one of the few elect going to heaven). We taught her and let her know that no one was forbidden from taking the sacrament but that it was a reminder for those who have been baptized and made sacred covenants. When we taught her this piece of the Gospel, her eyes lit up and she felt the spirit. You could tell that this was "that portion meted unto every soul" that she needed. God gives us more revelation when we plan and prepare beforehand. The church is true! The doctrine is so sound and answers the questions of those who are honestly searching for the truth. Have a great week everyone! I love you all and hope that you see miracles this week. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 73 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - November 18, 2013

Mi querida familia, D'Quan was baptised and confirmed this weekend! Wahoooo! It was such a great service. The ward support was incredible, one of the members baptized him (his name is Jace and he's actually from Vernal but working her in OKC) and another member and I did a musical number. It was very simple and calm. D'Quan gave a powerful testimony at the end of the service and we are pretty positive that he will serve a mission one day. It's been a great week! We didn't any new investigators but we had a quite a miracle in finding an inactive member of the church. My companion and I were out looking for names on the roster. We knocked on this one man's house, he answered thanked us for coming over but wasn't too interested in coming back to church. We left a little disheartened, but then we decided to knock on his neighbor's house. A man anwers the door and invites us right in...super friendly. And then he asks us "So what ward are you in?" Looking surprised we told him which ward we were in and then we asked if he was a member. He invited us to sit down and listen to his story. He was a convert since 1996 or so, baptized in Idaho. His work had moved him around a lot. He mentioned how whenever he moved, the missionaries would find him within a month so. But when he moved to Oklahoma, it had been perhaps 6 years since he'd been in contact with the church. We talked with him, nd he still has a pretty strong testimony. He knew that God had led us to his door, he always knew one day the missionaries would find him. In act he'd always look out his window and see missionaries riding their bikes and he'd always think to himself "Oh, they've almost found me!" It was a great visit. We didn't even have to invite him to church. As we visitied, the Spirit just worked with him and he told us that he knew that he wanted to come back to the Church. WE assured him that we would be there to help him out. He goes out of town for a few weeks, but when he gets back, we'll get to work on helping come back to the fold. After this encounter, Elder Kennedy and I were just astounded. We knocked on just one door, and it just happened to be one where someone was prepared to receive us. Moral of the story: DON'T ignore a door prompting! You just never know when it's going to yield a miracle. Later that week (we were really pumped to go tracting since this experience) we were knocking doors in a neighborhood. No one received us, but after we knocked this one door, we were placed in the path of this lady walking her dog. WE must have startled her as two young men in dark suits walking up to her. He offered to come by and share her a message... she didn't quite accept it. Then we offered to a say a short prayer with her. She aggreed and asked us to pray for her father who was in the hospital. WE prayed, and after we prayed it was like the Spirit had broken down the thick wal between us and we were able to talk about the Gospel with her more in depth. She consented to give us her number and we might be able to get an appointment with her this week. Miracles all over the place! This mission is so critical because it helps develpe the spiritual sensitivity that we all need in this world that is down-spiraling into temptations and doubts. Have a great week! I'm out of time! Hopefully I can send a picture real soon of the batpism. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 72 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 11 November 2013

Mi querida familia, I don't have too much time today, but I just want to say that I am very grateful for my mission. I've a had a few experiences today that I'd like share that have really boosted my testimony of the Gospel. First off, if you thought D'Quan was awesome last week for bearing his testimony in Sacrament Meeting...hold your breath for round two! We took him out teaching with us on Friday to go teach Lisa (the one lady we found last Sunday who lives two houses down). It was probably one of the most powerful Plan of Salvation lessons I've ever been in. It wasn't necessarily because the doctrine was so new or exciting, but it was because of the simplicity and sincerity of D'Quan's testimony. During that lessons, there were a few moments that I just want illustrate. 1. We open up to 2 Nephi 2 and read the verses that explain why Adam and Eve had to fall. As we read those verses, Lisa's eyes just lit up and she was astounded by the simplicity of the Doctrine. She kept repeating over and over "It just makes sense." 2. We invited Lisa to be baptized on Dec. 14. She declined based on that she didn't feel ready yet to make the commitment. And then D'Quan chimes in "that's exaclty what I said 2 months ago! And now I'm getting baptized this week!" 3. D'Quan testified of the improtance of coming to church. He said to Lisa "Now, there will come a time when you do commit to baptism and you'll all the sudden have a panic attack. You'll start wondering why you're doing this, if it's even right and if you're even up for it. When this happens...just go to church. The same thing happend to me, and when I went to church, all those doubts were just wiped clean." He went on to say that those feelings of doubt were from the adversary. Elder Kennedy and I were just stunned as we watched D'Quan bear simple testimony without ever having been taught how to teach. The Spirit converts even the most humble of men and causes them to speak as if with the tongue of angels. During this lesson I felt like what Alma the Younger must have felt like to see Amulek get up and testify to the city of Ammonihah about the Gospel after only been converted for a few months. I learned something that day. We are not in control of what's going on here. As missionaries we are part of something so big that we don't even comprehend the Lord's plan completely. The Gathering of Israel is so amazing and I am in awe as I witness the elect come unto Christ. The only thing we really do have control over is our will and obedience. I also learned that we must allow those we teach (whether it be our children, of investigators) to have their own spiritual experiences. When investigators have their own experiences they will become more converted. Great lesson! Other highlights, we got to go to Catholic Mass, This was my first time going. I won't go into to too much detail, you need to experience it for yourself:) But I loved singing in the chapel there. The congregation is singing almost nonstop. The Spirit was there in that room. I am learning so much, and I can see the Lord's hand. I wish I had more time to share what I've learned, but we've got to get going! Have a great week everyone! The Church is true! We must follow Christ in order to change our natures. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 70 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - October 30, 2013

Mi querida familia, It makes me happy to see missionary work happening in our home ward. Congratulations to Sister Place! We also had a baptism this weekend for a man named Mike. I don't think I've mentioned him that much in past emails, allow me to relate the story: Mike had been dating a member of the ward the past few years. She had resolved not to marry anyone who didn't hold the priesthood. At first, Mike didn't really want to investigate the church, he had been baptized as a Baptist before and wasn't to interested in Joseph Smith being a prophet. Then one day, he had an awakening where he realized that he was fighting the promptings of the Holy Ghost. He decided to investigate and has been converted ever since. I came into the area on the latter end of his conversion. But it was amazing for me to see and hear his testimony. This last week we had a few lessons with him and his newly wed wife, and he was really nervous for his baptism. He requested a priesthood blessing and so Elder Kennedy and I ministered to him and the Spirit truly touched his heart. On Saturday, he was baptized, and his mom also came (though not a member). She was fully supportive and enjoyed the service. It was one of the most sincere services I've ever witnessed. He took a few minutes to bear his testimony at the end, and the spirit was so strong coming from this native Oklahoman. Simple language, without eloquence but with power. We ended the service with "How Great Thou Art" (a common hymn that most all other denominations cherish) and it was just great. We also had D'Quan come to church this week. He is progressing so well. During Gospel Principles, he participated and offered an insightful comment. He is starting to feel comfortable with the ward and the members are really reaching out to him. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it feels so good as a missionary to see the ward take one of our dear investigators under their wing. That way, the baptism belongs to the ward and the Lord, rather than just the missionaries. Those were the happy experiences this week. We had a few more interesting experiences. First of which, we visited the Stavinoha family this week. We had a great lesson where we read from the Book of Mormon. I had sort of an epiphany. A lot of times, I think as missionaries we fall into the trap of just assuming that people will read the Book of Mormon and recieve an answere to its truthfulness that we forget that the Book of Mormon is not always easy to understand the first time around. Bro. Stavinoha mentioned how he didn't know who was Nephi, who was talking or why Jerusalem had to be destroyed all from the first chapter. This things he didn't understand, restricted him from feeling the true spirit of the Book of Mormon. During our lesson, we explained the details, and as we discussed it with the family, you could see the Spirit working with them and they understood more. Another interesting experience we had on Saturday. We met with an inactive member. I was shocked and amazed by this experience. He invited us right in. He was so kind and loving, I honestly thought we were mistaken and was actually active. But as we talked, even though he was kind, it became evident that he had lost his testimony. This man had served a mission Australia. He loved his mission. But he had lost his testimony of the Book of Mormon, and even worse, he lost his testimony of Jesus Christ. He wants to be back in church. He has a desire at least. But right now he has all these doubts in his head. I just wonder how things like this can happen? I know the answer, but it still just amazes me how someone can lose a testimony if they aren't careful. I worry about myself. what if I become like that after the mission? So many less actives we meet treat us as young men who don't seem to know anything about life, and that if we had more knowledge we would see more clearly (at least that's the feel I get). Nonetheless, I have more than a testimony. I'm converted to this Gospel. The next morning at church I was assured and taught by the Holy Ghost. I realized that I need to stop measuring conversion by activity in the church. Sure, activity is important, but church activity is a manifestation of our faith in Christ, willingness to repent, how much we understand the sacred convenants we've made, and how much we listen to the promptings of the Spirit, and stay obedient. If there's one thing I've seen on my misison is that doubt is replaced by faith when we turn to the Lord. Doubt doesn't have to weigh us down if we don't want it to. We will experience doubt because we must know opposition. but these moments will help convert us if we turn to God in prayer and keep the commandments. I love my mission. It's like panning for Gold. I don't see the effects immediately, but little by little I get those flecks of golden spiritual moments, that have added up over the last 18 months or so. Have a happy Halloween everyone! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 71 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 4 November 2013

Mi querida familia, Happy Halloween! We didn't have much happen this year. Cars were grounded at 6:00 so we couldn't go out and work. But we had some appointments beforehand that were really good. The real miracles that happened this week happened these past few days. I'll start off with yesterday. D'Quan stood up and bore his testimony. Elder Kennedy and I were glowing with pride as we saw him stand up and stroll to the pulpit. He introduced himself as a new member, or almost new member and he announced his intenions to be baptised. He bore a powerful testimony of forgiveness and how he felt Heavenly Father's hand in saving him. He bore testimony of how he'd been led to the church and how his family thinks he's wasting his time, but nonetheless he knows its true. It's a miracle to see how comfortable he feels in the ward. Then Mike (who was baptized last week) got up and bore his testimony. There is nothing more pure than the testimony of a true convert. Our ward has two solid baptismal dates coming up in the next month. We're excited! I am starting to realize how personal conversion really is. When new converts are baptized, I don't think we often realize the spiritual preparation process that took place before. The Spirit prepares people in such a delicate way, it's almost impossible to describe. D'Quan met missionaries for the first time a year ago and then fell out of contact with them. He was found again by Elder Kennedy. And now we are teaching him. He also has had many spiritual experiences beforehand that have helped him learn what it feels like to be led by God. That's how he's been able to recognize the truth of our message. I was on exchanges this week with one of the APs and we felt inspired to knock on this one house. A wonderful lady jumps outside and we learn that her name is Lisa. She was very enthusiastic to learn about the Gospel. We prayed with her. She mentioned how she had moved from Dallas and how before she moved she worked at a gas station. Missionaries would stop at the gas station to get a treat or something every now and then and she would talk about the scriptures with them when they came. She was prepared and just yesterday we taught her the first lesson along with 2 other ladies living with her. They also live literally two houses down from D'Quan. Member support! Heavenly Father is directing the missionary work. There are people prepared. We just need to filter out the rejection and hope that yes God will eventually lead us to those who are ready. I read in D&C 3:3 this week that It is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of man. Frustration only comes when we don't see things go our way. We can choose to not be fustrated and hope that God's work will always triumph. WE can continue in good cheer and do whats asked by the Holy Ghost. We also had a great lesson with the Stavinoha fmaily where we watched the First Vision. Once again, they felt the spirit. Slowly but surely they are feeling the spirit of the message. Keep praying for them. The Spirit has to direct what we are doing. Looking back, absoltuely nothing has happened because of something I did on my own. Miracles happen because I humbled myself enough to follow the spirit. This church is true. Missionary work is less of trying to drag people to the church but rather shines as brilliant rays of Christ-like examples (constantly inviting) and then sitting back and watching as people flock to the truth. Have a great week everyone! Look for opportunites to share the gospel. They can and will occur acourding to the desires of our hearts. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 68 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - October 23, 2013

Mi querida familia, What a great week! We had some pretty awesome miracles this week. First off, we set a baptismal date with D'Quan! It was cool how it happened. So last week we invited him to pray about a date. We came back on Tuesday this week and asked him how it went. He said that the 16th kept popping into his head and he didn't know why. Elder Kennedy and I looked at each other and then turned to D'Quan and Elder Kennedy said "D'Quan...today's the 16th! Let's go!" It was way funny. Then we looked up the 16th of November and its a Saturday! We usually always schedule our baptismal dates for Saturdays. We then invited him to pray about the 16th of November. So on our return appointment on Friday, we asked if he received an answer and he said that he would be baptized on that day! Wow, it's such a great experience when you see people you're working with receive revelation for themselves. It just reminds me that as missionaries we need to be remembering to make sure our investigators keep their commitments. It's seriously the only way you can receive personal revelation and just as Joseph Smith said "Salvation cannot come without revelation" We also found a new family to teach. One evening we were looking for less-actives, during the dreaded 8-9 hour at night. We knocked on this door. I was feeling a little skeptical honestly because we'd tried before and no one answered, and this guy without his shirt on answered the door. We introduce ourselves and tell him who we're looking for. Turns out the lady had moved and that her daughter was living their. The man we met was the daughter's husband. He invites us in (without us even asking) and we start getting to know them. Super nice people! The daughter is inactive, and was batpised Catholic to be the same as her husband. We had a prayer and set a return appointment. Unfortunately I missed the return appointment because I went on exchanges with Elder Pierce (my first son!). But according to Elder Kennedy it went really well and they are open to baptism if they receive an answer. The family is called the Stavinoha family. Pray for them that they feel the spirit and keep their commitments! We're really excited for them. But I had a great exchagne with my former companion Elder Pierce. He has grown so much and it was a breath of fresh air to speak and teach in spanish again! He's such a great friend and he's doing a great job as a District Leader as well. Life is great out here. I'm learning the ropes more as a Zone Leader. One of the things I'm working on is being more unified with the ward. Elder Kennedy has such a great relationship with them and he's really good at organizing visits with them and having them come out with us. I'm trying to obtain those skills as well. I got to give a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting, so I hope that helps me establish more of a relationship with the ward. We're seeing the Lord's work hasten out here in Oklahoma! I am slowly learning that missionary work is for our benefit. The Lord asks us to do missionary work because it is such a great privileage and opportunity to develop Christlike attributes. If we surrender our will and take advantage of doing missionary work, we start to change into beings more like our Savior. Have a great week everyone! Que Dios les bendiga, recuerdense a orar en cada momento. Recuerdense que este vida es para cambiar...y el transformacion puede pasar unicamente si actuamos con fe en los susurros del espiritu Santo. Les quiero! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 67 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - Oct. 14, 2013

Mi querida familia, To start off, I think I'd like to say a few words about the ward i'm living in. I am in awe at these members I'm serving with. They are so full of the light of Christ, and have a great affinity for missionary work. I was a in a correlation meeting last night, and I was just so impressed at how organized everything is, and also how each of these people are so invested in missionary work. It feels great! Missionary work is so much more enjoyable when members and missionaries are working together to do the Lord's work. I love serving here. With that being said, we have to maintain member trust. And from what I've learned obedience, faith and optimism gain trust. I am learning so much from their examples. We had another miracle lesson with D'Quan this week. He is solid. He skateboards 20 blocks to the church just to have a lesson with us. This week we asked him about baptism. HE mentioned how at first when we were meeting wit him, he was a little apprehensive towards baptism. Now, he feels more mentally prepared. He also bore testimony about how reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church had made him a calmer person. The spirit was so strong in the meeting, and we're hoping to set a date with him soon. This week we also found an inactive member. She was baptised at age 8, but went inactive during her highschool years because her family stopped going to church. We had a great lesson with her. She has no animosity towards the church. She doesn't go simply because she doesn't understand the church. Her father also returned to activity lately and has asked her to listen to the missionaries and come back as well. So she's super- interested, and also her husband isn't a member, so hopefully we can start helping this family come to church and meet the amazing members of this ward. Those are the main miracles for this week. Quick spiritual thought from last night. We had dinner with our ward mission leader, and a small incident really stuck out to me. During dinner, their 3 year old daughter didn't listen to something her mom said. As punishment, she went to her room. She was crying and screaming, but her dad said, just give her a few minutes and she'll calm down. And she did. She came out o the room and walked up to her mom and said in the sweetest voice "I'm sorry I didn't listen." Her mom then took her in her arms and gave her a big hug, and a piece of dessert. And I couldn't help but notice how it's the same thing with our heavenly father. If we will just come to him sincerely and repent, he will forgive us. Not because it's like a requirement on a piece of paper, but because there is something that happens when someone sincerely asks for forgiveness. I can't quite explain it. We feel compassion. And in Moroni it says that as many times as we sicncerly repent, the Lord will forgive us. I love this gospel, and I love my family. I love this church because it helps us BECOME more like our heavenly parents and our savior Jesus Christ. Have a great week! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 66 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - October 7, 2013

Mi querida familia, Conference!!! Wow I was so spiritually uplifted this weekend, and I am so glad for the prophetic insight we received for the future. I can't wait to apply what we've learned. It's been a smooth transition to being a zone leader. I'm really excited to serve with Elder Kennedy, he's been out 20 months and he has a great grasp on missionary work. He's been converted over the course of his mission and I'm excited to learn from him. Like I mentioned the area I'm serving in is almost exactly the same area I served in when I was here almost a year ago when I was in the Spanish branch. What's even cooler is that my first son (missionary that I trained) Elder Pierce is still serving in the Branch and he's in my zone! He's become such a great missionary and he's become a great district leader as well. Wow, I love finding joy in my posterity:) Even more strange coincidence, there are two other missionaries in my zone that are also from Sandy/ Cottonwood heights and they even went to Brighton! Sister Cooper and Elder Finnlinson (I think thats how you spell it) Also the ward missionary leader in our ward went to Brighton High school as well: Brother Brandon Boyer. It's like a huge reunion! It's great and I can't wait to serve here. The ward is awesome! The members are loving and have a great excitement for missionary work. We have a few baptismal dates coming up and I can't wait to see miracles here. We had an investigator come to Conference yesterday! His name was D'Quan, and he's one of our most solid investigators right now. He is reading the Book of Mormon, and even more he is receiving revelation from the Book of Mormon! A few days back he mentioned how he had read 2 Nephi 2 and was really struck by the explanation of Adam and Eve. He mentioned how before he thought Adam was making a stupid mistake in eating the fruit, but he realizes now how we need to have sorrow in order to know joy!!! Touchdown! Then when he came to conference...it was really funny. He actually slept for most of the morning session, but then we woke him up for President Monson. He was dead focused for the entire talk. Afterwards we asked him how he liked it. He more or less answered "It was actually really interesting. I had always thought of God as sort of a stoic God, someone who doesn't feel emotion or really cares about us. But know I get it. He wants us to follow him, he is pleading that we follow him because he loves us." As he spoke this words Elder Kennedy and I looked at eachother and smiled. On the outside we were like "Uh huh, yep you're right." But on the inside we were like "WAHOOO! YES HE'S FEELING THE HOLY GHOST AND IS GONNA BE BAPTIZED! (insert fireworks, part horns and choirs of Hallelujah:) It's such a special moment when you hear others bear their testimony for the first time. After conferance we asked if D'quan had any refferals and he said that he was going to try and get his mom to listen. Man, I'm so excited to be hear. The only problem is the D'Quan doesn't have a car or cell phone, so its very hard to stay in contact with him. PLEASE pray for him! He is receiving the spirit and we need to just pray that the fire stays lit. Now real quick I have a few comments on conference. It seemed to me that a lot of the of the talks had a reoccurring theme of avoiding the philosophies of men, and to hold on to your faith. "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." President Uchtdorf's talk especially seemed very prophetic. I think that there is going to be some event or movement that is going to really challenge the beliefs of the Church. We need to stay strong and hold fast to our beliefs. Philisophical ideas, and laws cannot replace God's law. It is unchangeable. I also feel that the fmaily is going to be the only safe haven from the ideologies of this world. We need to be sure that our family life stays centered on the Gospel. There was a General Authority who talked about how skipping one sacrament meeting led to inactivity in the Church... we have to be careful. I also loved Elder Bednar's talk. In general, the principle I got is this. The commandments help change us spiritually so that we can change our circumstances. Paying tithing doesn't miraculously change our circumstances (although we can receive miracles) but more often than not it helps us stay humble so that we can act in faith and change our circumstances. I love it! The gospel is true! Also Elder Ocha's talk was very prophetic as well. Avoid anti-material about Joseph Smith as you would pornography. We must examine the fruits rather than the rantings of false accusers. And there were many other insights, I could go on and on. This church is true! Come join with us! Feel of the light and truth that come from living the restored Gospel. Les quiero mucho! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 65 - Clinton, Oklahoma Sept 30, 2013 (transfer to Zone Leader)

Mi querida familia, Well, after 6 months I'm leaving Clinton, Oklahoma. Ahhhhh man, I'm going to miss this place. it's been like home. I don't know what it is, I just love Western Oklahoma. I've come to really love the people here and I have so many fond memories. These past 6 months I've really learned how to be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Being obediant to those promptings brings miracles. I think I say that every week it seems like. It still hasn't hit me yet that I'm leaving. I'm kind of in a state of denial because I don't want to pack. They've assigned me to be a Zone Leader in the Quail Creek Zone (not sure why). This is the Northern part of Oklahoma City...nearly the exact same area I was serving in before I came to Clinton, except I was serving in the Spanish Branch. It's crazy how the Lord wants me back in the city and I'm excited to serve there. I'm going to miss my companion Elder Tanner, I've grown pretty attached to this guy, he is such a good missionary and I have full confidence that he'll do well leading out the area when I leave. We had kind of a sad experience this week. Remember Josh I was telling you all about a few weeks back. He was a miracle find, bishop came and taught a lesson with us. His mom came home when we were teaching him (Josh is 19 so we figured we were ok coming over) and she blew up in the middle of the lesson. She basically said that she didn't want us in her house anymore. It was hard. Josh apologized after she left and said we could come back anyways and that he'd talk to her. So we came back few days later and he wasn't there so we left a note. A few hours later the mom calls, just furious with us. We apologized and said we weren't meaning to offend anyone, and that Josh had invited us back (plus we had no way to contact him before since he doesn't have a phone). It was a stressful moment for me. The mom obviously some misconceptions about us, and I wanted to just explain everything, but she wouldn't let us. She said we could teach him still, just not at the house. But we have no way to contact him. I'm hoping the Lord leads us to him again, because he was so ready for the gospel...at least from my perspective, maybe Heavenly Father thinks differently. I was frustrated. I was stressed. I felt so down because I had offended someone. I don't like to be hated or disliked. I guess this is the Lord's way of teaching me about rejection. I took a step back and tried to see things from the mom's perspective. Her son is unemployed and 19 years old, living at home. She loves her son and wants him to be happy; she also is very fond of the Native American traditions. I thought how would I be in her shoes if I saw one of my children living at home talking with strange men from another church. I'd probably be a little upset as well. As I started looking at it from her perspective, I was able to calm down and love this lady a little more than before. On the other hand, we've had some great experiences as well. We had a lesson with Cindy, and a member came with us. During the lesson we heard a crash. We turn around and see that Cindy's daughter had backed into the member's car. I was curious to see how the member would react. He was calm and collected. We finished the lesson and went to inspect the car. It was a pretty bad dent. Cindy was stressed out, her daughter wasn't on the insurance, plus her daughter was in trouble already. And the member totally forgave her of the incident. They were going to get it fixed anyways and the insurance would cover it. I was filled with so much joy. It means so much to someone extend mercy to someone you care about. Also, for the last sunday, our recent convert Xzaylia (back from my first transfer and she's 9) called a member to take her to church, and she brought two friends! Member missionary work! I love it! What a good week! I look forward to Conferance, and a new beginning back in the city. Que Dios les bendiga! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 64 - Clinton, Oklahoma - Sept 23, 2013

Mi querida familia, FELIZTACIONES A MI HERMANA ALEJANDRA! I'm so excited for Alex to to serve a mission! She is so well prepared and she will touch the lives of everyone down in Ecuador. This week has been indescribable. The Lord has shown me and taught me many things that I didn't quite comprehend. For example no matter how depressed or down you might get, God will always make tomorrow better. I know it sounds cliche, but this week we saw the blessings of following a prompting. So I mentioned in the past few weeks that we've been prompted to try some of the wealthier areas. Let me tell you about Tuesday Night (Tuesday the 17th for all you Psyche fans:) I had a rough night. Elder Tanner took the rejection really well, but for some reason it was hard for me. First, we ran into a man who completely bashed our beliefs. It was in a polite respectful manner, but he made fun of what we believe. He mentioned three things 1. We can't become like God 2. WE don't believe in grace. 3. the Book of Mormon is false. I'm so glad I had a testimony for all three of those concerns. We can become like God, we do believe in grace, and the book of Mormon is true. Thankfully, my companion and I had just 20 minutes earlier talked about how we would respond to someone who tried to bible bash. We handled it well, we didn't argue, try to prove our point we just bore testimony and invited him to hear more. We'll see what happens. Then we went to perhaps the wealthiest neighborhood in all of clinton and we knocked doors. 8 doors, 0 return appointments. And most of them didn't even let us explain who we were. It was hard for me because for most of my mission I'd spent more time in the poorer areas. It's 20 times more intimidating to knock doors that stand at the end of long driveway, neatly decorated and furnished. Even though we didn't see any success, we were confident that we were following a prompting from the Holy Ghost. That evening, I felt attacked by feelings of doubt and discouragement. I got frustrated with myself. Why am I doubting? Why am I discouraged? I've been on my mission this long I shouldn't be doubting. I've learned that you've got to turn to the Lord when these feelings of doubt start coming at you...because they are from Satan. So I prayed. I went into a separate room from my companion and I prayed aloud to myself...and let me tell you there is difference between praying aloud and praying in your head. Once in while, we should all take time to pray aloud to our Heavenly Father, it feels more personal and intimate. I felt his peace envelope me. Then I started studying the scriptures the next morning, and then we visited a potencial investigator (Josh) and taught him the first lesson...and he accepted a baptismal date. AFter that appointment, whatever feelings of doubt I had before vanished. It seemed laughable that I had doubted. This gospel is so true! The message of the resotration is true. We CAN become like God. We found many more people to teach in the following days, and then miraculously many of our investigators came to church yesterday! The Spirit of God is touching the hearts of Western Oklahoma. It's incredible to see that the Lord is in control. He seems to just non nonchalantly place people in our path when we jsut trust in our feelings and be obedient. I am so grateful for the mission. If anyone who reads this is thinking about going on a mission, they should go. This is the greatest experience of my life and I am growing closer to Heavenly Father because of it. I'm grateful for my companion Elder Tanner, thorughout our hard evening on Tuesday, he stayed strong and was a great friend to me. I could open up to him. It's so great to have a companion you can open up to. There have been so many more miracles I can't explain them all. Siga adelante! Placentero nos es trabajar en la vina del gran rey Jesus! con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 63 - Clinton, Oklahoma - Sept 16, 2013

Mi querida familia, It's been a slower week, but don't think for a minute that it was bad! The weather is cooling off finally. We had some hard trials including the huge family we found a weeks back, the one that came to Stake conferance. They ended up dropping us this past week. WE talked with the mom and she told us how they decided to attend another church. We tried to set up a time to come back and share a message, but you could tell that she no longer had that desire to learn more. Man, it's hard to find families to teach out here in Oklahoma! But Elder Tanner and I have found a solution. For the past week, we've been gradually seeing promptings to go try the more upper-middle class areas. So we've made plans this week to go find in those areas.It's going to take more faith, but I'm excited. We had a cool lesson with Santana (our baptismal date) wherein we felt prompted to read from the book of Mormon with him. Starting off the lesson was a little weird because he had a friend over and they were discussing business. When the friend left however, the spirit prompted me to ask Santana "Since our last visit, have any concerns come up in regards to baptism?" And then he opened up to how his family had been influencing that he didn't need to be baptized. He also stated that he believed what we were telling him. Then we read 1 Nephi chapter 1. We read slowly, explaining the story every 5 or 6 verses because this is a hard book to read for most people. Aa we finished the chapter, we asked Santana what he learned. He said that you have to do what you believe in even when others are making fun of you for it. Lightbulb! I pointed out that the principle he just stated answered his concern about his family that he mentioned at the start of the lesson. When we pointed out how the Book of Mormon taught him, his face lit up and you could tell that the spirit had enlightened him. Chapter 10 of PMG is inspired, no doubt about it! The Book of Mormon is so powerful in answering concerns. I love it. Let's see what else is on my mind.... Cindy is still attending church, unfortunately we haven't seen Armando come in a long time. It's so hard to be a teenager here in Clinton. There are so many temptaitons and not a lot of recreational activities to do. The part in the Family:Proclamation to the World where it says families need to be built on principles faith, repentance, love etc and wholesome recreational activites. Staying actively engaged in positive activities is so essencial for our spiritual well-being. Idleness allows for Satan to sneak in and put negative thoughts in your head. Other experiences, while on exchanges Elder George and I taught a man named Terry. He's real down on his luck, recently divorced and out of a job. WE taught him at a park downtown. It was a great lesson! Terry had given his Book of Mormon to his nephew to read (who is interested in the Gospel) and he loved the message of the Restoration. There is such a strong spirit that is present when you teach a good Restoration lesson. There is a different spirit when the student and the teacher are both anxiously engaged. The teacher must be in tune to the spirit and focusing on the needs of the investigator, while the student needs to be open, listening, and wanting to learn. It was a great lesson, unfortunately Terry will be out of town for the next few weeks. I hope he comes back soon. Patience is becoming more of a habit now. Well have a great week everyone! Try to share the gospel with someone new. Send friends links to mormon messages on Facebook, those videos are very powerfull, we use them in lessons and they bring the spirit in a unique way. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 62 - Clinton, Oklahoma - Sept. 9, 2013

Mi querida familia, We've had some great experiences this week in following the Spirit. Many finding miracles. Also, we've had some rejection miracles as well. What I mean by rejectioo miracles are mainly lessons I learn from being rejected. First off, we've found some young 18 year olds to teach this week. Let me demonstrate how subtly the Spirit works with us. During weekly planning one day, I asked Elder Tanner to look at the map and pick a place to go tracting. He pointed one out and we went. As we talked with people, on the streets, knocked doors we didn't find too much success. Then there was this young man working on trimming a tree. The spirit prompted us to talk with him. So we did, briefly introduced ourselves and asked if we could come visit him t o share a message about how Christ has restored his Gospel. He said yes and we exchanged information. We didn't set a return appointment though. So we left it alone for a week. Then again during Daily Planning we felt prompted to plan to go and visit this young man (Santana). So we did so, got to his house at the time we planned. We met his mother, and share a Heavenly Gift with her and set a return appointment for later in the week. We come back and Santana is there and we share a lesson with him. He's very respectable and humble. We invited him to a specific baptismal date and he accepted. And it turns out the he is the brother to one of our inactives members. I don't know if he'll get baptised or not. I've seen lots of people stop progressing even when we set a baptismal date in the first lesson, but I have hope. The Spirit inspires us more effectively when we plan! Set goals and make plans. When we do that effectively, the Lord can use us more effectively. I cannot imagine doing this mission without the use of my Daily Planner. It is basically our life. We've had many other experiences like that this week and in the past. I guess it's an eternal principle. I am so grateful for this mission because it is teaching m,e to follow the Spirit. The mission provides so many opportunities to build that skill in following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am slowly starting to recognize how he speaks to me. Rejection Miracle: We found this one family and set up a return appointment for yesterday. WE went over and the Dad came out and very politely said they weren't interested. Well, I couldn't just leave it at that, I wanted to know why. now it's improtant to udnerstand that I already udnerstood that he was not willing to listen to the full message, but I felt like I didn't want to just walk away and not talk about why. This is where you have to just be social. So I asked him what he was expecting us to teach him, and he said he didn't know. He mentioned that he looked up the differences between mormons and christians (sigh of frustration). So I asked him what were some of the differences he noticed. He mentioned how we believed that we could become God. I smiled, acknowledged that he was correct (we do believe that we can become like God) and asked if I could share a scripture from the Bible Romans 8:16. This little encounter slowly turned into a teaching moment from us to him. Even though he was not willing to investigate or even accept a Book of Mormon, we asked him friendly questions and we ended up having a wonderful conversation. Even though we probably won't visit him again, I felt like we walked away successful. We had taught him some things we believe and we did it in a non-forceful manner. The lesson I learned: not every teaching opportunity has to happen with a nice sit-down lesson with opening and closing prayer. As missionaries we should be ready to teach and expound at any given moment. We have to become so skilled of teachers to teach things according to the Spirit rather than relying on the format lined out word for word, point by point in Preach My Gospel. The layout in PMG is great don't get me wrong, and it's ideal, but there are some situations where you have to find peoples concerns and then follow the spirit in teaching that "portion that shall be meted unto every man." Lots of lessons this week. I wish I could go on and on, but this is where I'll stop for today. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 61 - Clinton, Oklahoma - Sept 2, 2013

Mi querida familia, It's been a nice week here in Clinton. Not quite as action packed, we had a lot more appoinments fall, and not as many members came out with us. You know, that's significant...the more members that come out with us, the more progress we see in the missionary work. The biggest impression that's come to my mind is this quote that a member mentioned to my companion and I yesterday after dinner. He was paraphrasing a devotional that Elder Bednar gave to the youth in Oklahoma. The question was asked, "What is it like to be an apostle?" Elder Bednar replied "The most significant I can say is that the Holy Ghost directs every minute of my life." I think the most difficult aspect of obedience is being obedient to the still small voice of the Spirit. I lot of times we think of obedience is being obedient to what church leaders say, or what the scriptures say...but sometimes I think we forget that we must be obedient to what the Lord says to us personally through the Holy Ghost. For example, the Holy Ghost will prompt us to repent on some aspect of obedience. This happened to me this week. Our district sometimes has a hard time getting out of dinner appointments on time, so we cousneled about it during District meeting, and apparently everyone else has had similar feelings. After we couseled, it felt so much better, like load being lifted off my shoulders. I guess that's what repentance does. THe Holy Ghost will prompt us to talk to people. Just yesterday, Elder Tanner and I were riding our bikes and we passed a man sitting at a picnic table. I had the slight thought to go talk with him, but I ignored it because we were on our to visit a different family. The family ended up not being home, but we doubled back the same we came, wherein we'd pass the same guy on the picnic table. This time I knew we needed to talk to him. So we did and it turns out he is the exact same guy that Elder Masters and Elder Hisrschi and I talked to about a few months ago! When we met him the first time, he was homeless, jobless, divorced and feeling down. We gave him a Book of Mormon and our number. And then we never saw him again. Until yesterday! And it turns out he had been reading the Book of Mormon and was about halfway through. He now has an apartment, a possible job and he loves the Book of Mormon. I asked him if he'd prayed about the Book, and he said he had not. So we invited him to do so. We have an appointment for next Sunday. Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how stinking subtle the Spirit is. And not every spiritual prompting brings drastic miracles like the one just described, in fact some times I think we follow impressions and they hardly turn into anything spectacular. But the simple fact that you follow those thoughts, strengthens your faith. The gift of the Holy Ghost is essential. On Saturday we had a baptism for the other Elders in Elk City. It was wonderful service. The family all came, the older brother gave a talk and now he wants to serve a mission. It was so touching to see this older brother give a talk at his younger brother's batpism. It made remember my own little brothers and how proud I am of them. But the little boy who was baptized didn't come to church on Sunday, and therefore he missed out on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Without confirmation, baptism loses all it's meaning. Baptism may wash our sins away, but it is the Gift of the Holy Ghost that sanctifies us. Elder Tanner...I am so proud of my companion, he took over the area and led out all the affairs in Clinton when I went to Elk City on Friday. He is so mature in the Gospel...and he's only 18. He's going to be a leader, I just know it. So much is going on. We have consistant Bible Studies every Thrusday, english classes every monday and wednesday, and many other wonderful people we are teaching. Follow the Holy Ghost. I promise if you make it a goal to follow just one random idea that comes to your head, you will start to see miracles (as long as that idea is consistant with the scriptures and persaudes you to do good Moroni 10:6). Have a great week! Good luck to everyone starting at BYU! Les quiero! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 60 - Clinton, Oklahoma - August 26, 2013

Mi querida familia, Wow! I love training new missionaries! I believe the Lord really blesses new missionaries when they come to new areas, because this week has been chock full of miracles. I wish I could tell them all, but I'll just focus on a few that stick out to me. First off, dad wanted me to mention a few things I do when training a new missionary. I think most of all I just try to express my love for them. I try to involve them as soon as possible with teaching. The sooner they teach, the sooner they can improve:) I evaluate every lesson, we go over what went well, what we can improve on. I try to help him notice things for himself. It's so critical that new missionaries recognize when the spirit is working and inspiring them. The sooner they learn that, the more faith they have to follow those spiritual promptings that come every day. AS traininers, we a have 12 week program we follow. We read the handbook at the start of every study. I also try to explain everything we do so that he isn't ever lost. Communication is key. I've learned that much on my mission. Also, I put faith in those I train. I constantly ask them what they feel that we should do (such as where to go tracting or what house to try and such) then let him make a decision, and then we do it regardless of what I think we should do. OFten times, the new missionaries are inspired more than the trainers. And this week, I've seen the potencial that Elder Tanner has. He has a ton of faith. If it weren't for his faith, I don't know if we'd have the miracles this week to show for it. Mriacle #1: We found a family! Last week we met an inactive on the street. We gave him our number to call us. He then called us and set up an appointment. WE came to the appointment, and learned that he a wife and 4 teenage kids. They all sat in for a lesson, and they all came to church yesterday. It was like they were regulars:) We introduced them to the bishop and huis counselors, and we are super excited to work with them. They don't like to be stalked, I guess in the past, missionaries were a little over aggresive, and they didn't like that too much. But we found this family, adn I'm pretty positive they will all be baptized eventually:) Miracle #2: We had a Bible study this week. Only two people showed up, but the spirit was so strong as we discussed Joseph and how he saved his family from the famine. We compared him the Christ. One of the men who came, also expressed how he loved the name of the Church. We hope to invite him to take the lessons later this week. Miracle #3: We provided a bike for one of our members. He is poor and living in a motel with his wife and brother-in-law (who's 3 years old). Here's the deal. The thought to get this bike occurred to me very briefly. Almost like a fleeting thought. I knew he need a bike, I knew another member had a free bike. Anyways, I almost ignored the thought. In fact, I ingored it once on Saturday, and then the thought returned on Sunday to organize this effort to get this man the bike. So my companion and I did it. We got the bike and gave it to this member. We received a text message from the wife about how grateful they were for the bike. He needed one to get to work every day. We felt so good! It makes me wonder how many spiritual experiences we are missing out on because we ignore those fleeting thoughts that pass through our heads. This email is turning long, but I am full of joy this week. The mission is amazing. I feel change, I can see my faith growing. I can see the Lord's hand in this work. No doubt about it, this work is real! Those of you contemplating on missions...I promise you that it is the right decision. It's the best thing in the world! I love you all and I hope that you have spiritualy experiences this week. Have the faith to follow those small fleeting thoughts. They are from the Holy Ghost:) Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 59 - Clinton, Oklahoma - August 19, 2013

Mi querida familia! Oh what a great week! We had a trainer's meeting and I am super excited to train again starting this Wednesday. I just learned my companion Elder Hirschi is going to Texas to open up an area. He's going to the Deep South part of the mission which means I won't see him again for a really time. Awe, I'm gonna miss him! He's been such a fun, uplifting missionary to serve with for the past few months. We'd gotten to the point where we are on the same wavelength on many different subjects. I'm s o grateful that all of my companions have been fun to serve with and I haven't had one that has really ticked me off or made my mission miserable. The biggest thing this week, is our success we've seen with member presents. We've had quite a few members come out with us and participate in lessons. And the spiritual impact has been more beneificial to members in my opinion moreso than the investigators. You can see their testimonies grow and strengthen when we have lessons with them. For example, just yesterday we had an older man in our ward come out to a few appointments with us. We visited a family which I guess you can describe as a "welfare case." They weren't too educated or mature, but they were humble and willing to accept our message. The member that came with us later mentioned after the lesson how he had received revelation while we were teaching this family. In the past he had trouble with helping people such as the ones we visited because of their situation, and then it dawned on him how much Heavenly Father loves them just as much as he loves us. He realized that as servants of the Lord we taught these people essential truths for them to gain exaltation. The member was humbled, and you could see the spirit working with him. And we've had similar experiences like this one all week! The Lord uses us missionaries as tools in perfecting the saints as well as preaching the Gospel. This is something that is very humbling to see. The Lord sometimes wants to build the faith of the church in one area before completely blessing them with baptisms and growth. I'm gaining such a new perspective on the mission. Miracles don't jsut happen with the lives of the investigators but with the members we serve with. Other miracles this week: I was with Elder Taunteang on an exchange (he's from Kiribati, an island close to Fiji) and we were out trying a few potencials. He had a thought to try one house that we were passsing by. I'd tried the house multiple times, so I didn't want to try it again. But I asked Elder Taunteang if he felt prompted to try the house. He said yes. So we knocked it and met a mother with 4 daughters. We had a prayer and set up a return appointment...woah!!! I'm not the only one recieving revelation! Both companions recieve revelation. It was a learning experience for me, because I realized that when I rely on my companion, I open up more possiblites for miracles. Think about it: you literally double the chance of having miracles if you follow revelation from other people you associate with. I'm having such a great time out here! I'm excited to stay another month and a half in Clinton. WE have so much work to do! I'm finding that as I talk to more people and share my testimony, my personal testimony of the Restoration grows stronger and stronger. If this church wasn't true I don't think my tesitmony would keep growing. It's like Alma 32, when you feel these swelling motions and see the seed beginning to grow, then you can know that the seed is a good seed. you must experience the Gospel in order to gain a testimony. Once you stop experiencing, testimonies start to dwindle. I love this gospel, and my mission. I only pray for more miracles! They are gifts from Heavenly Father if we do what he asks!!! Que Dios les bendiga! And to all my cousins, brothers and sisters, good luck with school! Rely on the Lord with all your studies! When you fail a test, pray to heavenly father for help to make-up for it and improve. You will see success! Serve your friends, express your appreciation to them that you are their friends. Tell your friends you love them! It will strengthen your relationships with them. and if saying I love you is too wierd, find other ways to show your love. Have a great week! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 58 - Clinton, Oklahoma - August 12, 2013

Mi querida familia, Que semana hermosa! We had a great time this week. It's been a little slow, but I've had to privilege of seeing quite a few miracles. The first miracle: The internet capabilities at the church aren't working. Usually, we do all of our emailing at the church but this past week we've had to use the library. So on wednesday, we were taking our "mormon.org" time for 30 minutes, and while we were finishing up, my companion and I sat down at a table in the library to run over our plans real quick. As we sat down, a young man from Guatamala came up. He said he recognized who we were because he had a friend who was a mormon as was serving a mission in Peru. He introduced himself, and said he wanted to take English classes. So we set up a time and today we are going to teach him English. I have no idea how to teach English, but I think we are mainly just going to practice doing a job interview with him. We'll see how this works. Hopefully he can turn into an investigator soon. He's very friendly is living here with his whole family. Then today, we came to library again to do email, and literally just an hour ago, we met a man who knew who the missionaries were from Texas. He lives in an apartment complex close to the Church and he said we could come by and visit him and his wife. That appointment is for to tomorrow. Who'd of thought? This library is turning into a great place. This week I also got to conduct a few baptismal interviews for a companionship up in Woodaward. What a neat experience to here the testimonies of 3 baptismal candidates. They were all ready, and two of them were baptized on saturday. They were a middle age couple that had been married for 44 years. Two of their kids were members of the church. As I interviewed them, I could see the Lord's hand in preparing them their entire lives for this moment. Both had grown up in different churches, but gradually their hearts softened to accpeting the Gospel, mainly with support from their family. They mentioned the last name of some of their kids was Despain and they were from Sandy, UT. If I remember right, I thought we some Despains in our ward, but I'm not sure. It's an interesting experience to interview people for baptism. The spirit is super strong, and it's basically a huge tesimony session. I'm so glad I got to meet them. Then I interviewed this young man from Haiti. What a treat! He was a little hard to understand, but his knowledge and understanding of the gospel was so incredible. He liked to use analogies a lot. One thing I found interesting was how he rarely looked me in the eye. I think I might have intimidated him, because when I'm talking to someone I look at them dead in the face. He must have noticed because he mentioned how in Haiti, his mom taught him to never look people in the eye because the eyes can decieve. He taught me how when you don't look at someone in the eye, it forces you to listen to what they are actually saying and listen with your heart. That's their culture. And it makes pretty good sense. He has a solid tesimony too. He literally prayed for God to send him a message about which church to join and then the missionaries showed up. Miracle!!! Things are great here in Western Oklahoma. I got a call from the APs a few days back and President wants me to train this next transfer!!! Wahoo!!! I love training! New missionaries have so much faith and desire to learn and it's always a rewarding experience. It also helps me stay motivated to be a little more diligent and a little more obedient then perhaps i was before. That's all for today. Our investigators are still progressing. Oh one more miracle...on wednesday we found a new investigator who committed to be baptized on the first lesson. We actually contacted her 1 month and half ago and have been trying to see here ever since. Just this last week we met and taught her. The lord's timing is never what we expect, we just have to willing to put ourselves out there, excercise faith, and then the Lord can use us to accomplish his work. I love you all! Keep up the Spirit out there at home. The gospel is true and the spirit really does teach the humble in heart to accept the message of the Restoration. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 57 - Clinton, Oklahoma - August 5, 2013

Mi querida familia, Another great week full of miracles. The biggest news for this week has to do with the Temple Conferance we had on Wednesday with President Walkenhorst. First off, the temple was amazing. It's always very insightful to remember the sacred convenants that we've made in the House of the Lord. I think each time I go, a different part always sticks out to me and I suddenly understand the impact it has on my life. That happened several times on Wednesday. President Walkenhorst issued a new vision for the month of August...you ready? brace yourselves...100 baptisms for the whole mission for the month of August!! This is a huge stretch for us, last month we had 28 and it's been hovering around that number for the whole year. And he's not just saying this number to set a goal...he truly believes that there are 100 people ready to be baptized this month. We are really excited! This is going to be a good month. It means we have to work twice as hard as last transfer. Obviously if we don't change anything, then we won't reach a higher goal. He focused a lot on receiving revelation. He talked about three ways revelation comes: 1) It comes very gradually with trial and error and work on our part, 2)all at once when we aren't looking for it, or 3) all at once when you specifically ask for it. He stressed that the first way was more common. Ok a few experiences for this week: Armando received the Preisthood, at first I thought it was a little rushed to give it to him so quickly...but now that I think of it, this is what he needs. The priesthood gives him that opportunity to participate in the duties of the priesthood and thus giving him more ways to increase his faith and testimony. We met a solid new investigator! WE met her a few weeks back and I may have mentioned her last week. But Carolina is awesome! We had a lesson with her and Brother Poteet this Wednesday and we just taught her about faith from the Book of Mormon. The spirit was very strong and she mentioned how when we came over she felt at peace and that her problems didn't seem that stressful anymore. Brother Poteet also connected with her because they both were active in Amway (a multi-level marketing company or something like that). They established a good friendship and after the lesson, you could start to see his excitement for missionary work grow as well. I'd always thought that missionary work was strictly between investigators and missionaries, but now I'm seeing that it effects all members of the church. We had a lesson with Cindy this week in which we invited some members who had just moved in. They were such a great source of testimony. The mom and daughter who came did a great job. And in this case I think they benefited most from the experience. You could see the spirit working with them:) A little sad news... our golden investigator Jesus from a couple weeks ago dropped us over a text message. Ever since we explained that becoming baptized involved a little bit of commitment, he started declining. It makes me sad and frustrated because he told us himself that our message made sense and we know he felt the spirit. I wanted to call or text him back and try and save him from dropping us, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he had used his agency to not accept the message...and there's nothing more you can do in those situations. We'll try back in a few weeks though. I can't imagine we found him for no reason at all. Also our recent convert Sister Lonebear from a few months back is going through some struggles as well. She hasn't been coming to church... and literally every single week, she's had someone in her family go to the hospital. Satan is working so hard on her and it's difficult to watch. We don't want to lose her to inactivity. It's crazy how much you start caring about these people you interact with. I can feel my capacity to love expanding and I've never been happier. I'm running out of time but have a great week. Pray for all the names I've mentioned here in the email. They are so close to finding the truth, they just need to follow the small whisperings of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 56 - Clinton, Oklahoma - July 30, 2013

Mi querida familia, Armando got baptized! This is the biggest news of this week. We had a great service, tons of members came and supported. Armando's whole family and a few friends came. Funny story. One of his little sisters didn't quite grasp the whole reverent aspect of the service and apparently thought the baptismal font was a swimming pool. And she took my companion's suit coat swimming with her...hm. But the service was wonderful. I had the privilege of performing the ordinance and it was such a wonderful feeling to utter the baptismal prayer and exercise priesthood authority. Armando bore his testimony at the end. It took him a lot of courage to get up there and say "I think these things are true,, I think what this church teaches is true." It was simple but very sincere, and the spirit was very strong. His mom Cindy was very appreciative as well. She provided dinner for everyone afterwards and it was neat to see the ward really fellowship her and Armando. Now we pray that he will be able to endure to the end. The friends he has in Clinton aren't the best influence, but I trust things will work out. Also, Armando's father came to the baptism as well! We didn't get a chance to talk with him, but it was cool to see him there even though he'd been avoiding us during our past lessons. Hopefully we can start seeing some progress here. We met a really solid young couple this week: Caroline and Rudy. They are super nice and are very open to the gospel. Caroline felt the spirit super strongly when we told about Joseph Smith's experience in the Sacred Grove. She accepted the baptismal invitation when she receives an answer for herself. Rudy was a little more reluctant, but he agreed to read the Book of Mormon. I'm really excited for this family, they are in a great position to receive the Gospel. But they need member fellowshippers or they will start to lose interest really fast. Not that I lack faith, but it's just simply what happens. While on exchanges, I also had the chance to teach a full-out atheist lady. She was open to our message, but it was interesting to have to adapt our teaching style to teaching someone who doesn't quite believe in God. Her biggest argument was "Why would God allow evil people to live and inflict pain on righteous people?" This is where we pulled out the Book of Mormon and testified about agency and how God can't force us to make right decisions. This has really stuck with me. Because as much as agency applies to decisions between good and evil, it applies just as much to choices between Good Better and Best. We can make a lot of good decisions, but miss out on the blessings of making better decisions which maybe require a little more faith. The lesson was very interesting, the most powerful moments were where we taught about the Atonement and Jesus Christ and bore testimony about how God has answered our prayers. I am so grateful for my testimony that God exists and that Christ performed the Atonement. A testimony is a precious gift. You can lose it through careless time wasting, or you can perfect through making small diligent acts of faith every day. The Gospel is true! I love it so much. I'm finding myself in a routine sort of mode right now. There's a whole other level of missionary work that I want to attain right now, but I'm lacking in so many areas. This week we have a temple conference and I plan to ask Heavenly Father for revelation on small things I can do to improve. Have a great week! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 55 - Clinton, Oklahoma - July 22, 2013

Mi querida familia, The biggest news for this week would have to be that Armando passed his interview and will be getting baptized this coming Saturday! We are so excited! Estamos muy animados para el! We had a cool experience with him this week. As we were heading to an appointment, Cindy (Armando's mom) texted us and said that ARmando was super angry---cussing and throwing stuff. Normally, I think I would have texted back and asked if it would be better to come a different time. But, Cindy insisted that it was still ok. so we came by. Armando wasn't there so we started teaching Cindy and her daughter Angie. All was going well until Armando walked in. You could tell he was angry. I tried shaking his hand, but he kind of looked at it and shook his head and walked into the other room. After a while you could tell he was upset about something. He came back in and we asked if we could share a scripture with him. He sat down and we shared D+C 121 where it says "My son, peace be unto thy soul for thine afflictions shall be but a small moment." The spirit just flooded the room and you could tell the spirit was calming him down. We expressed our love for him and we talked about some of his concerns...including getting angry. We taught how it's our choice to be angry. I shared an experience with a time I was super angry (high school drama where the girl I liked started dating another guy). I couldn't get rid of those feelings of anger and jealousy on my own.... I needed the Lord. After the lesson, I gave him a big hug and we left and the spirit was felt very strongly. 30 minutes later, I get a text from Cindy saying how Armando gave her a hug after we left and said he was sorry. The Spirit can soften people's hearts. Dad thanks for what you wrote about faith being like a domino effect. When you believe in someone else, the believe in themselves. When you show your faith, others will start to show theirs. I think of Christ and how he had the upmost faith in everything he was doing and how billions are drawn to him because of his example. He paid the Atonement...the ultimate act of faith and love for all of us even though we are unworthy at times. Because he believes in all of us, we can believe in ourselves. His love motivates us to change and exercise faith. In other news, our investigator Jesus is slowly progressing as well. He came to our Bible Study on Thursday and after the lesson we had a church tour. after the tour, he opened up to us a host of concerns that we didn't know about. His main concern is how he wants to know exacltly what he's getting into before he gets baptized. He worries about committing to something and then finding out down the road there's more stuff he has to do. We explained that this church is an active church and how he will be expected to keep staying active. He accpeted it and he loves how honest and sincere we are. Honesty and openness dispels all doubt and confusion. What else? I had personal interview with President Walkenhorst on Friday. He said a lot of interesting things one of which was how you can't change other people, but you can change yourself. He applied this to member missionary work. I realized that if I wanted to see more member activity, I need to stop waiting for them to do something, but rather take initiative myself and start exercising my faith in them. Then I believe progress will follow. I am learning a lot out here about myself. This week I am going to try and focus my testimony on Jesus Christ rather than how Joseph Smith restored the true church. I think Jospeh Smith even said something about how the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the center point of our religion, everything else is simply an appendage to it. Jesucristo es el salvador del mundo. Su Expiacion nos anima a cambiar y arrepintirnos. Nuestro salvacion es tan importante, y eso es porque Jesucristo establicio una iglesia por conducto de un profeta. Le invito a encontrar por su mismo si esta mensaje no aumenta a su paz y entendimiento en su vida. Que pasa un buen semana! Tendre fotos del bautlzmo la proxima vez que les escribo. Siga adelante! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 54 - Clinton, Oklahoma - July 15, 2013

Mi querida familia, Another fantastic week here in Clinton. There were a few days during the week that were really slow and full of rejection, but they all seem overshadowed now because of the miracles we saw yesterday. First off, Cindy and Armando are still doing well. They all came to church and Armando seemed to be bonding well with the young men. Cindy also had a great experience reading the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi chapter 8 about the tree of life. She read it, understood it and found her own personal insights from it. The spirit is really working with her. Yesterday she gave Elder Hirschi and I thank you cards. We came to her door at the perfect time in her life to accept the Gospel and she is so grateful. The Lord really is mindful of all of our needs. Then after church it started to rain really hard. So we stayed in our apartments for a bit studying Spanish and waiting to see if it would clear up. It didn't. After I fixed my flat tire (I had got one the day before) we headed out into the rain. We had called all our appointments: one of them cancelled, another didn't answer and the third confirmed that they would be there. And real quick, before we headed out, we said a prayer, and I remember finishing the prayer and then feeling prompted to pray again and this time ask specifically for a miracle in finding someone to teach. And then we met Jesus (not the real Jesus but a new Hispanic investigator) We introduced ourselves to Jesus and he invited us in. We shared the first lesson with him and his wife. He was intrigued! He loved how simply and clearly we taught and he said that the way we taught was better than any preacher he had ever heard, just because it was simple ad straightforward and the spirit was there really strong as well. So at the end, we invited him to baptism...he accepted. Then we challenged him to a date (keep in mind this is the first lesson) and he accepted again! It was incredible, he was very well prepared. He expressed some concerns about tithing and going to church being commandments because he doesn't like to be forced into doing things; we explained that commandments are there to bless us and he seemed to get it. Then we invited his wife to read the Book of Mormon and she started expressing doubts about God. She had had two miscarriages in the past and was wondering why God let bad things happened to good people and how could he allow irresponsible people to have kids. So we turned to Ether 12:6 and explained that god gives us trials to try our faith. She didn't answer or respond, but you could tell the spirit was working within her. It's incredible how every time you apply the principles in Preach My Gospel how miracles happen! Pray for miracles! When you finish a prayer and feel like its incomplete, don't feel embarrassed in opening up another prayer and starting over. Also, Jesus was a back-up plan that we made the evening before. Planning ahead of time is just as inspired as spontaneous decisions. I'm learning so much. I'm still weak and I know there's more to my potential. But I can see growth, and according to Alma 32 that is all I need. When the seed starts to sprout, this is evidence that your faith is true and then after patience and diligence you will see the fruits of your faith. I only pray that miracles will continue happening. I really like what Brother Eakins said about the mission being more like a sprint. The way we can see a mission more like a sprint is to expect miracles right of the bat. That was my mistake at the start of my mission, I don't think I actively searched for miracles as much as I should have. But now I'm learning and I'm so much more happy. Another miracle happened on Saturday. After I got a flat tire on my bike (this happens very often unfortunately) we went over to a member's house to pump up the tire. As we were in the driveway, a man drives up and asks us for a pamphlet. We gladly give him a book of Mormon and a restoration pamphlet. He said he likes learning from the scriptures. he asked us if we owed him anything. We said no but rather we would like to come and visit him. He like that and gave us his address. I don't know if he'll progress, but at least we have a new area to go explore and find. Oh life is great! The only thing we can improve on is inviting more members to come out with us. Keep on expecting miracles even if you aren't on a mission. Then take the moment to recognize and count your blessings (another word for miracles). You'll find a boost in your morale and much lighter. I love you all and hope you have a great week. Con mucho Amor, Elder Powley

Week 53 - Clinton, Oklahoma - July 8, 2013

Mi querida familia, Que semana loca! I don't know where to start. First off, Clinton is crazy. They didn't even have a firework show on the 4th of July, they waited until the 6th of July (they just do things differently in western Oklahoma I guess:) We didn't go to a firework show, but since Oklahoma is so flat you can stand anywhere and see a firework show, even if it's at your apartments. I'll start with updating on Cindy and Armando's progress. It turns out that Cindy could not set a baptismal date. We invited her and she accepted, but then she told us that she was not legally married to the guy she's living with for 14 years. We explained that she would have to be married or separated in order to be baptized. She then said that she couldn't be baptized. I couldn't explain the extent of her concern, but I will say that the adversary is very tricky. Just when you get so excited for someone to get baptized, we find another hang-up. But we are still hopeful. Cindy knows this Gospel is true, and she and her daughter Angie came to church again yesterday. They love it! Cindy actually knows one of the members from her work and they are good friends! Now let me talk about Angie. She is one of the biggest miracles this week. The first time we met her, she totally avoided sitting in on the lessons. In fact, she tried to argue with us about gay marriage and such. We never would have guessed in a million years that she was ready for the gospel. When she came to church this last sunday, her demeanor completely changed. We set a date with her for the same day as her brother Armando!!! And she is progressing. When you listen to her life story, you realize how the Lord has slowly been preparing her for this moment in her life to hear the Gospel. It's been nothing short of miraculous to the Spirit actually working in people's lives and to see people receiving answers to their prayers! We will need to be patient with Cindy. There are issues beyond our control, the Spirit has to teach her what to do and we just need to teach the doctrine clearly and simply so that she can understand the Lords will. The spirit then will do the rest. We don't have to convince anyone that our message is true. In fact I've found the more you try to push someone to see the truth, the more they turn away, even if you are teaching correct doctrine. You have to simply present the truth clearly, and then people have to choose to follow it or not. Just yesterday we had a cool lesson with a man named Roy. He keeps saying that he's set in his ways and won't convert to our church. Instead of trying to take the "our church is the only one with authority" route we decided to teach the Doctrine of Christ. We asked him what he thought it meant to be saved. He told us. We then turned to 2 Nephi 31 and showed him what Jesus Christ said about being saved. It takes more than faith in Christ. As we expounded on the scriptures and clarified things like "why we need to be baptized, why Christ needed baptism, how enduring to the end was essential, why the sacrament was essential" then he started to understand. At the end of the lesson we asked what he learned, and he only uttered one word.... "baptism." you could tell that the Spirit was his real teacher. All we did as missionaries was explain the scriptures. Life is great! I'm learning so much. We often have discouragement. And then we get discouraged because we don't want to feel discouraged because it might mean we are weak. But we have to just keep working. We had President Walkenhorst talk to us on Thursday. What an inspired man! As I listened to him speak and share experiences I had no doubt that he was the man called specifically for our mission. He actually didn't serve a mission at age 19, he waited a few more years simply because he didn't feel like the time was right. Now, he was still active in the church, had a testimony and wasn't sinning or anything like that. He just felt like it wasn't his time. His main theme was how we need to live worthily in order to have the confidence to summon down miracles from heaven. Obedience lets our confidence wax strong in the presence of the Lord, confidence turns into faith, the stronger your faith, the more you will act, the more you act the more miracles you can witness. I can go on and on, but this email is already pretty long. I ask for you to pray for Cindy. Pray that she will find the guidance in life that she needs so that she can have the faith to act. It's the hardest thing to seem someone with a testimony of the truth not progress simply because of one little hang up on obedience. I love you all. Elder Powley

Week 52 - Clinton, Oklahoma - July 1, 2013

Mi querida familia,
We've had a bitter sweet week up here in Clinton. A missionary that we all knew and loved went home early (ask Dad if you have questions, I don't want to go too much into it on this email) But at the start of the week, many members of our district were feeling very down. We know that the adversary was trying to discourage us. Elder Hirschi and I resolved not to let this event slow us down so we went out and worked. We talked with people. We prayed with them. We worked. I found that the more I worked and focused on the Lord's work,the more happier I felt even though we had this trial going on.
The natural instinct for us as human beings is to turn inward when we face adversity. But...we need to realize that the best remedy for adversity is just the opposite of what we think. We must turn outwards and worry about other people. We must turn outwards and rely on the Lord. That's what Christ taught us. The more charity we have the more we can overcome hard situations. I've felt the Lord strengthen our companionship this week...and likewise we've witnessed quite a miracle!
We are teaching a mother and a son right now: Cindy and Armando. We love them so much! This week we met with Armando and he opened up saying that he'd recieved an anwser about the Book of Mormon...HE KNOWS ITS TRUE! He knows that what we are teaching is true. We were able to set a baptismal date for July 27 and we are excited to see him progress.
LAter that week we had another lesson with Cindy and Armando...but this time we had Sister Hansen (the relief society president) come with us. Again we had a great lesson on the improtance of obedience and the word of Wisdom. It turns out that Armando and Cindy have hard time accepting the need to give up tea. Sister Hansen is a convert and she remembers having to give up sweet tea so her testimony really helped break the barrier. We then challenged Armando to pray about whether or not he needed to give up tea.
Now thorughout this experience, we were more focused on Armando. We knew that Cindy was taking a little longer, for the whole week she seemed hesitant on whether or not she knew this church was true.
But then yesterday...she came to church for the second week in a row! She stayed for all three hours this time. I was talking with her and she starting telling me about how she had been praying for the past two nights straight...sincerely asking if what we were teaching was true. SHE RECIEVED AN ANSWER!!! She expalained because of prayer she felt like she needed to come to church. She is even willing to give up tea!
I was speechless!!! I'd rarely seen people receive such sure answers to their prayers while on my mission (except for myself). It is such a great feeling to have when you see the Spirit working with those that we love and care about. I guess that's how parents feel when they see their children gain testimonies for themselves.
And on top of that, Cindy even brought her daughter to church as well (who is about 17 or so). The daughter actually knows one of the members. She also stayed for the full three hours.  I'd met the daughter during the week and she was very closed minded to what we were teaching, but now i think she might be more open.
The Spirit is working with the people of Western Oklahoma! I am so excited to see this family progress.
Another quick miracle: We are teaching a hispanic family, and this week we met with the mom. Even though her husband and son were gone we felt like we should share a message about faith. We did so and it went really well. Turns out this lady has an aunt in Mexico who converted to the Church. She was talking with her aunt and her aunt encouraged her to keep listening to us!!! Woah!
The spirit of a God like a fire is burning!!! Now we just need to be diligent to keep it burning. We need to work with the members more and get them involved. The thing with Cindy and Armando is that they have great member support right now. Armando went to Young Men's. cindy has Sister Hansen, and because of these members they feel comfortable at church and are progressing.
Everyone is needed for the missionary work to move forward!
I love you all. I'm sorry I don't get to write each of you inddvidually more often. Life is busy, busy, busy.
Que dios les bendiga!! Hasta la proxima semana.