Week 33 - North Oklahoma City - February 18, 2013

Mi Querida familia,

First off, thank you so much for that Valentine's Day package you all sent me. It meant a lot to me to receive a letter from all my brothers and sisters. You're all having such unique experiences and reacting to them in different ways it's very entertaining to watch. But one thing that is in common is that you all have so much faith and optimism for the future. Maybe you didn't have a valentine this year, or maybe you twisted your ankle, or maybe you just don't know what to do with your life...but nonetheless you all know who to rely on in times of need: and that is your Heavenly Father, and as well our family. 

This week I've especially gained a testimony about eternal families. Elder Mendoza and I taught a lesson yesterday to Luiz and Celia again, and this time it went a little differently. We more fully explained that Christ originally organized his church, the apostasy the followed and the need for a restoration. Luiz still refuses to believe. He said a lot of things last night that were hard to hear, but the one thing that really hit me was when he talked about how he thinks he already has all the happiness he needs in his life...he has his family and that is all. As I listened, I felt impressed to tell him that we are here to help him have an eternal family. I did so... and we found the source of Luiz's confusion. He said very clearly "No creo en la vida eterna." He doesn't believe in Eternal life or the fact that we will live with our families after death. He said this infront of his wife. 
I was devestated and in that moment I felt the Spirit work through to bear what felt like one of the most sincerest testimonies I've ever given. 
I know that families are eternal. There is no way we would such treasured realitionships here on earth just to have them end with something so trivial as death. God has restored the preisthood authority to enable our familes to exist beyond the grave. I think I started to cry when I bore my testimony to Luis and Celia. It was a special experience for me because I know the Spirit was testifying to my words. I got the opportunity to say "as a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise that this life is not the end. Christ was resurrected so that we can be resurrected one day as well. 

Needless to say, Luis didn't have any comeback and we were able to focus on inviting Celia to be baptized. She said she needs to study more, so we are going to focus on visiting more with her rather than Luis. He still is pretty closed-minded...but we feel we need to start helping Celia progress in the Gospel because she knows our message is true, she just needs member friends so that she doesn't have to take this journey alone. 

I think this was the highlight experience of my week, but here are some other things that happened as well.

Tuesday, we had a huge snow storm. The whole mission was closed and we couldn't leave our apartments. So we spent the whole day eating, watching "The Testaments" catching up on our Book of Mormon studies, calling people and getting caught up on our sleep and such. I almost went crazy. It was a nice break, but at the same time I hated being inside for a whole 24 hours. It was so boring. 

I went on exchanges with Elder Dalia this week and we had an appointment with an inactive member who moved back in. He's made some mistakes, but he seems very willing to repent and come back. Elder Dalia is a great missionary. I learned a lot from him on exchanges. He's had some experiences in the mission that really helped boost my confidence and excitement for this work. 

We had a Stake Conferance yesterday which featured a satellite broadcast with President Erying and Elder Scott, a member of the 70 and a member from the Primary Presidency. 
Elder Scott talked about the Sanctity of Womenhood and Elder Eyring talked about the power of prayer. Very inspiring, Elder Scott's talk really stuck out to me. He literally said that it is a priesthood responsibility to treat women with respect. He encouraged that all priesthood holders should express their gratitude to the women in their lives. 
He also said that priesthood holders need to be bold enough to firmly say "I will not seek an eternal companion who is overcome by worldly trends." I echo Elder Scott's words. I value virtue, chastity and modesty, and the mission has strengthened that resolve. It's my belief that your testimony and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what makes you beautiful.

Have a great week everyone, I wish I had more time to write. But that's all I have for today. I love you all and wish the best. Keep reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if its true. The Lord strengthens us little by little according to our dilligence.

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

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