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