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

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