Week 82 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - January 27, 2014

Mi querida familia,
Very insightful week. It was stake Conference this week. I got to translate from English to Spanish. I love translating, there is just something that happens to you spiritually when you translate something correctly from English to Spanish. It's like you hear the message twice and feel the Spirit twice (once in both languages). Donna came and sat in the front few rows. She is solid. We invited her to attend the temple on Feb. 15 for the first time and she accepted! Real growth is happening. Things have slowed down with D'Quan and his mom unfortunately. This week we're hoping to meet with them. It's just really hard because LaVonna works a lot. Keep praying for them!
Let me tell you about a miracle we had this week! About a week ago, I was on exchanges with my grandson (Elder Cluff) and while we were driving to dinner, we see this car stopped in the middle of a very busy road. We pulled over to go see if we could help. The lady (Kayla) had ran out of gas, so we offered to push the car over to a safer area. We did so and she was very gracious. She said she had been praying for help for a while and no one was stopping. We only briefly talked and we straight just invited her if she would allow us to visit her and share a message on Christ. She accepted! And this past Friday we got to teach her. The appointment was set a week in advance, we called and confirmed the night before, and we kindly encouraged her to meet with us. After a lot of waiting, she ended up coming to the Church for a lesson. When she came to the lesson, she pointed out the two things that impressed her. 1. The service we did for her. 2 The way we handled organizing the appointment calling in advance and such. I never would have thought that calling in advance would have a profound effect on someone. I guess there is something about the administrative aspect of missionary work (making phone calls, verifying appointments) that allows the Spirit to touch someone. Who knew?
Great lesson! After the opening prayer she said that she had had doubts about coming that evening, but felt a peaceful confirmation after we prayed. Kayla didn't quite accept the Restoration off the bat, but she is interested in studying more. She is moving to Georgia in a few weeks, but we'll help her the best we can while she's here.
We've many other finding miracles this week, I wish I could go on and on. But I must say that I'm gaining a stronger testimony of prayer, and letting the Spirit work it's miracles.
I also have a deeper testimony of the Restoration. We have a Jewish friend named Bill that we meet with occasionally. We were talking about the Bible and he keeps talking about how it's not accurate and such. In the middle of the lesson, it just dawned on me the importance and necessity of a Restoration. The English translation deviates very commonly from the original Hebrew version. There are many misconceptions and things that can be misinterpreted. There is no way someone can settle religious disputes with just an appeal to the Bible. Their needed to be a Divine Restoration through a living prophet. And I am so grateful for the Restoration. I may not be able to prove everything about Joseph Smith, but I know that the Gospel as restored through him by Jesus Christ has given me such a strong foundation for everything I do.
Have a great week everyone and let the Holy Ghost be your guide. He's real.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley 

Week 81 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - January 20, 2014

Mi querida familia,
We found new investigators this week! This is pretty miraculous since we've been in a bit of a dry spell since the beginning of this month. The number one miracle this week was the lesson with had with D'Quan's mom, LaVonna. She is so awesome. We had a spectacular first lesson with her on Wednesday at the church. When we walked into the chapel, we asked how she felt, and she felt very peaceful. As we taught the first lesson, she seemed to agree with a lot of the things we were teaching. She accepted the invitation to be baptized when she found these things were true. And even better, she said the closing prayer. She felt the Spirit!... and then she came to Church on Sunday! Great start! Please pray that she may continue to progress and that the seed we've planted will fall on good soil and not amongst thorns.
That was our main miracle. We met and taught a man who actually received the Book of Mormon as a gift from his aunt when he was 7. It was a great first lesson as well. He was so worried about his family. He recognizes that the world is going south and that it's becoming increasingly harder for raising kids in righteousness. I don't know what it's like to raise kids yet, but I am so grateful that my parents raised me in this Church. I can see how the past 18-19 years of preparation has prepared me and fortified me for the years to come. I am learning how to use so many tools, the most effective of which is prayer. I know that I can contact my Heavenly Father and talk to him. He may not talk back immediately, but I know he hears me and is shaping me into who I'm meant to be.
What else happened this week? I went on exchanges and as we were driving, the lady in front of us ran out of gas. My companion and I pulled over and pushed the car over to a nearby parking lot. She was very grateful, and since we were short on time, we asked if we'd be able to visit her and share a message on Jesus Christ. She said yes! Wow, not many people would respond so positively to a couple of strangers wanting to come over and visit to share a message about Jesus Christ. Service softens hearts to receive invitations by the Holy Ghost. We have an appointment with the lady this Friday. Hopefully it turns out. Unfortunately, it's been common to find that miracles one day, end up short lived in about a week. Satan is very tricky in causing people to forget miracles. Forgetting miracles really puts a negative spin on life, because you start to think that God isn't answering prayers.
 In other news, we had some good rejection last night... it's good to be rejected every now and then I figure, it helps you grow more humble.
Life is good. I hope y'all are doing well. Thanks for your support. I love you so much.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley

Week 80 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma City - January 13, 2014

Mi querida familia,
What a great week! The first half of the week was super slow. We have been finding people to teach, but they've all ended up either cancelling appointments or not being too interested. Most of our joy at this time comes from seeing recent converts progress and of course the baptism we had on Saturday in Clinton.
And it was a great baptism! Cindy was baptized with no problems or distractions. Elder Tanner sang "Be Still My Soul" and I played the arrangement by Marshall McDonald for "I Believe in Christ. The Spirit was very strong. The Clinton ward did a tremendous job in supporting Cindy. I think that is one of the greatest joys a missionary can have: see the members of the ward welcome and take care of investigators. I can't be in Clinton forever, but the ward will always be there. I think this must be how Heavenly Father feels when he sees his children taking care of each other. He can't be physically with us always, but he can always count on his servants to make sure that others feel his love.
I just marvel at the progress Cindy has made. She came from not understanding in the Pre-Existence to this point where she has such a stronger testimony of Christ and his abounding mercy. I'm so proud of her and I pray that she can continue to progress in the gospel towards the temple...the place where you can feel God's love the most in this chaotic world.
I have such a testimony of the Doctrine of Christ. It can change lives as long as we remain humble and continue steadfastly partaking of the Sacrament and applying the teachings of the prophets in our lives.
Other miracles this week: almost all of our recent converts came to church this week! D'Quan and Donna came! And they both participated in the Sunday School Discussion. D'Quan gave an interesting perspective on exaltation that I'd never thought of before. It doesn't make sense that a loving Heavenly Father would want to just want one person to achieve the type of glory he has. He wants everyone to live like him! We just have to work for it. When one person breaks and Olympic World Record for the 100 M dash, does everyone just stop running? No, they keep working to achieve that standard. Jesus Christ is our examplar and he doesn't want us to fall short. We do fall short because of our imperfections but, through his grace he can lift us higher than we can imagine...if we just keep the commandments and let him.
Donna also wrote us a letter about her conversion! It's such a great letter, sounded like it came straight from the Ensign. I'll have to get a copy to send to y'all!
This week we've also been working a lot more with members, particularly at dinner appointments. We've been focusing more on trying to get commitments from people and we've seen a difference in the work.
Have a great week everyone! The work is progressing, don't forget that.
Con Amor,
Elder Powley
PS. Sorry that everyone is looking different directions in both pictures. There were like 50 cameras going off at once


Week 79 - Pictures

Some pictures of Andrew in Oklahoma...

Week 79 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - January 6, 2014

Mi querida familia, Feliz Nuevo Ano! It's been a little slow around here in the city since Donna got baptized. Our teaching pool is shrinking, and many of the people we teach aren't progressing too much. But these aren't unique problems, and it will take the same solutions I've been taught my whole mission: pray for miracles, work hard and prepare spiritually. This last week, I was listening to a talk by Elder Douglas Callister of the 70. He talked about a lady that he met in Russia who apporached him and shared a concern "I served a mission and expierienced wonderful growth. Now that I'm off the mission, I do everything I'm supposed to but I feel like I'm not growing spiritually." Elder Callister then talked about how he was not the solution to her problem, but that the solution was rather "You need to take control of your life." Take control of your prayer life instead of aimlessely praying about everything. Take time to talk to HEavenly Father and mention just a few things. Take control of the conversation you have, take control of your fasting and he went on to talk about more things. Ultimately what I got out of it was to pay more attention to your spiritual growth. Recently I've felt like I've been plateauing in my spiritual growth and I've started trying to take more control of my life and specifically take control of my mission. Its so easy to fall into temptation and only want to endure through life. I remember talking with a less active and asking him how God has blessed his life. He responded that he was grateful that God was just helping him keep his head above water. Think about that for a sec. Does God want us to just be at the point of drowning just trying to keep our head above water? Or does he want us to walk on water? Or even find refuge in a boat of some sort? It is so easy to just want to endure ,that we forget that the Lord wants us to do more. He wants us to grow and find joy in growing, seeing miracles, helping souls come unto Christ and so forth. So take the time to set so goals and develop new habits. I'm going to try and do so and hopefully I can see some real growth in myself spiriually and physically these next few months. The biggest ray of sunshine this week I would have to say is the progress Donna is making. She took us out to dinner on New Year's Eve and she mentioned how her dreams were different after baptism. Instead of dreaming about Josh Groban :) she had been dreaming about keeping the standards of the church. She has finished the Doctrine and Convenants and Pearl of Great Price! The members are fellowshipping her, she participates in class...this is real growth! I love it! I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us this week. We need some miracles if the work is going to progress, which means that if we're faithful, we'll see some things happen. I look forward to this Saturday since I get to go back to Clinton to see an past investigator get baptized. It's gonna be great. Have a great week everyone! Que Dios le bendiga, y fijen metas dignas con planes especificas para que puedan tener crecimiento espiritual mas eficaz. Dios les ama y queire que nosotros lleguemos a ser semejante a el; y si es el deseo de nuestros corazones, El puede ayudarnos a obtener nuestros metas! Con Amor, Elder Powley

Week 78 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - Dec 30, 2013

Mi querida familia, Oh we had a great Christmas week! It was great to hear everyone's voices. Matthew and Thomas sounded like they had the same voice...wow they've grown up so fast. Our baptism with Donna was a great experience! It went smoothly without any problems and it was a beautiful service. Many ward members came and supported her, we had two recent converts give the opening and closing prayer, and we had a less active who hasn't come to church in 3 years come to the baptism as well. Our mission experienced a miracle this past month with 57 baptized for the remission of sins. This is the highest number of baptisms in a month that this mission has ever seen. the Lord is definitely hastening his work even in Oklahoma. We've seen so many miracles in this area. A lot of times I forget how prevalent the miracles in my life, but every time I take the time to reflect and remember how merciful the Lord has been, I am filled with the Spirit and those doubts seem to melt away. Christmas Eve was rather miraculous in the fact that we met D'Quan's mom for the first time! And she was super friendly and out-going, she tole us that she wanted to start learning about the Church. Apparently D'Quan has been telling her all about it and she is excited to learn more. Please pray that her work schedule will permit her to meet with us more often so that we can help her enter the waters of baptism. We also took a less active lady in our area to dinner with us at a member's home. It was good to get her out of the house since she doesn't have any family nearby, and the family she does have don't really want to associate with her as much. Other miracles: we found a new investigator! Shawn was someone we met a month ago and we just finally got back in contact with him. He let us in and we got to share the Restoration. It was short and simple and the Spirit testified very strongly. We invited him to pray at the end and he did so. It was one of the most simple, yet sincere prayers I've ever heard. Afterwards he mentioned how that was the first time he'd ever prayed and it felt good! The Spirit does all the hard work! I love it! Also, Cindy (one of my investigators from Clinton) is officially getting Baptized on Jan. 11th! WAHOO! Miracle! I remember praying for a miracle with her and the Lord has finally opened up the way for her to be baptized. She has sacrificed so much and suffered so much. Please keep her in your prayers so that no unexpected road blocks come in the way! I love this Church. We visited with someone who was expressing skepticism about some of the Doctrines of the Church particularly the Book of Mormon. It's interesting how people always try to find ways to discredit the Book of Mormon, its because if they can then everything else about the Church falls with it. But here's the thing, no one can ever fully deny the Book of Mormon. It is true and invites men to come unto Christ. It helps me personally stay on the straight and narrow. I love Jesus Christ! If you really think about every blessing we receive comes because of the hope we gain from his Atonement! I hope everyone had a merry christmas! I look forward to our baptism in January (we don't have one planned yet, but we are confident that it will happen and the Lord will provide:) Con Amor, Elder Powley