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