Week 91 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 31 March 2014

Mi querida familia,

We've had some crazy experiences this week. There was a missionary in our zone who went missing on Tuesday (we found him the same morning and everything is ok), but almost all the members in our zone went on a huge search for him. It was really intense, we were praying almost every 20 minutes that we'd be led to him. Finally, Elder Beus and I and two other companionships that were searching all had the impression to go to the library and tell the people at the desk to call us if the missionary walked in. We did so and then literally 8 minutes after we left the library, we got a call from the people at the desk telling us that the missionary just walked in. Whew! Sigh of relief! Now I understand the importance of staying with your companion. There is just so much more safety.

Then just last night we were doing our planning session and we got a series of mysterious text messages. "I know where you live....you have a picture of Jesus in your window....I'm angry and have a gun..." AGHHH. The person actually texted the address of the apartments of another set of Elders in our Zone. So we called President, who told us to call the police and go pick up the other Elders and have them stay the night at our place. It was another really intense situation, we prayed really hard and then literally 1 minute after we prayed we got a text message from the same guy saying "I'm just kidding I don't have a gun...sweet dreams." Aren't some people just great?:) At least it didn't into anything more serious than that, but now we might have to take down our pictures of Jesus Christ in our windows. We'll see. All in all I am just so grateful for the safety God has been providing for us. 

We've had a great week as well proselyting wise. John is progressing really well towards his baptismal date on April 12th. Keep praying for him! He is doing so well. He'll find coffee and get rid of it, he has come to church the past 3 weeks with a member, and he is starting to ask when he can come out teaching with us! The Lord truly can work miracles with the weak and humble. Honestly a month ago I did not think he would have progressed to this point. It's amazing how a little faith and diligence can allow the Lord to work his mighty miracles. 

Here's a cool story with John: Earlier this week John was kicked out of the apartment he was living in (by his own sister it was very dramatic). He was worried about having to go live under a bridge, but then one of the members, Brother Holman stepped in and offered to let John live with him. Wow! I am just astounded every week by the charitable capacities of members of the church. It's really cool because Brother Holman was somewhat less active when I first came here in October, and now he's helping someone come into the fold of the Church. And even better, Brother Holman is going to get the priesthood on the same day as John's baptism. People changing their lives---THERE IS NO GREATER MIRACLE! 

What else has happened this week? Yesterday Elder Beus gave me a brief handwriting lesson and oh my word I can see a difference. It was like Extreme Makeover: Handwriting Edition. Who would have thought that I'd been making the loops on my 'e's and "B"s to small this whole time? Ha I love Elder Beus for being so persistent with improving my handwriting. Even though it's hard and takes longer to write, I'm sure it will end up being better off for me in the long run. 

Life is wonderful! I feel discouraged at times because I'm nearing the end and I sometimes feel like I haven't done all I could have, but I just keep working and focusing on what the Lord requires of me right now and the discouragement goes away. Work Work Work there is no better secret to missionary work than work. 

I was reading this morning in Acts 16 about a cool tracting experience that Paul and Silas had in Macedonia. They were walking by the riverside when they saw a group of women talking. They walked up and started talking with them. One of the women's name was Lydia. She had a belief in God and was a very rich merchant, and she was prepared to receve the Gospel of Christ. She and her whole household were later baptized. Talk with everyone! You just never know. We were just in line at Wal-mart and we talked with this man who's wife was Mormon but passed away some years ago. The Lord will guide us if we have faith and don't doubt. 

Have a great week everyone! I love you all and please don't freak out about the people texting us. I'm sure it's nothing and we are doing everything we can to be safe. 

Que Dios le bendiga! Siga orando por Juan, y estoy bien animado por la Cofnerencia General esta proxima semana! Escuche a los hombres y mujeres inspirados y meditar sobre sus palabras y ore por la guia del Senor! Van a tener un experiencia revelatoria. 

Hasta las proxima!

Elder Powley

Week 90 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 24 March 2014

Mi querida familia,

We had an awesome week! We've been teaching a lot and the Spirit's been working with so many people in our area. Yesterday, my companion and I and the sister missionaries did a musical number. You should be receiving an email from Sister Clark, she recorded it for y'all to listen to!

We had two late night blessings in a row this week. Thursday Night, there was a member family moving to Utah from Arkansas that got in a car accident. They all survived, and they asked us to give everyone in the family blessings. Then the next night we found out one of our investigators was in the hospital with one of her daughters (who is mentally handicapped and was having seizures), so we went and visited her. It's fun to go to hospitals and give blessings, it's such a great opportunity to help people feel the Spirit. Our investigator Tammy, was very touched and she ended up coming to church this week with her son John who's getting baptized in a few weeks. Tammy was so awesome, she participated in Sunday School and Relief Society and during Sunday School when said that she wasn't sure which way her religion is going right now! Ha! The Spirit is getting to her. this week we also showed her the Restoration DVD and she was blown away as well. I sometimes think we are there more for Tammy than for John. I don't know if i've mentioned her story at all, but Elder Kennedy and I met her a few months back and she said she was totally not interested, but was a devout Nazerene. It's incredible how the Spirit can soften and prepare peoples hearts. It doesn't happen very often, but with a little patience, those moments do come and they still astound me. 

We also got to meet with Cindy this week. We walked up for our appointment and she was carrying some wood to the back of her house. We went up and started helping her. Man i love spontaneous service opportunites, they show that our motives are pure. We then had a great lesson with her about the Book of Mormon and she mentioned how she was interested in Family History! 

With starting my last transfer, I've really started to gain an appreciation for the chance we have as missionaries to testify about the Restoration of the church of Jesus Christ. I love testifying that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I love testifying that this is the Lord's kingdom and Church established here on the Earth to prepare for the 2nd coming. Just this last week we were meeting with an eternal investigator reading from 2nd Nephi about Isaiah's rpopehcies concerning the house of Israel and how it would be gathered again one day. That's what we're doing here! Gathering Israel! It's so exciting. 

I can't wait for this last transfers. The Lord is doing a lot here and I can't wait to see what happens in the next few weeks. 

Have a great week everyone! I love you all!

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 89 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 17 March 2014

Mi querida familia,

We got transfer calls yesterday and it looks like I am staying here in Quail Creek for my next transfer. And we just had such an awesome week. We a lot of member participation, and we've had miracles in finding. Let me just say that the Lord answers prayers, and we need to take time to notice them. Answers come in the most subtle of ways that if we aren't continually watchful unto prayer we can miss them. 

Let me give one example:
We had an incredible finding miracle on Friday. Elder Beus picked a street corner (or rather the Spirit picked it and he listened to the Spirit) and we went tracting for an hour before dinner. We knocked a few doors, had a little success. Then we went to this one house and we met a young adult named Nathan. Super solid! The first indication that he was solid was the simple fact that he was watching the second Harry Potter movie when we came in. We prayed with him, and he just opened up with questions. He mentioned how he doesn't pray too often, and then he asked us why we were out on missions. Oh I wish everyone could ask us that question. Both Elder Beus and I testified of eternal families and how the gospel blesses families. The Spirit was strong and he willingly set a return appointment with us for Sunday. We had it all organized, a member was going to come out with us and we were excited. I remember asking God that he would soften Nathan's heart to accept a baptismal invitation the night before, and Elder Beus and I were also fasting on Sunday. 

One hour before the appointment, Nathan called and cancelled the appointment. He re-scheduled, but it was sort of a bummer that we got all excited for this lesson and it didn't happen. Then later that day we met with an older African American couple, Nathan and Linda. As we taught them, they readily accepted the idea of prophets and the Restoration. We read Mosiah 18 with them where it says "if this be the desire of your hearts, what have ye against being baptized in the name of Jesus?" Right after we read the Spirit, Linda starts saying "I need the Spirit more and I need to be baptized." WHOAAA! And Nathan also committed as well. It was such a great lesson. If you remember, Linda is actually the lady we met a few weeks ago who we prayed with and kept saying "ask and ye shall receive." Turns out she had met with missionaries in 1997 in Midwest city. 

Life is great. And then it hit me last night that I had asked God that Nathan will soften his heart to set a baptismal date (thinking about the Nathan we met on friday). I guess the Lord had a different Nathan in mind. I love going by God's plans rather than my own. It's so much more inspiring that way. 

This week has been full of miracles: church tour with the Stavinohas. During the tour, the daughter asked "Why do you let kids have any kind of authority" referring to how we have 12 year old deacons passing the Sacrament. We had the chance to testify how the Lord trusts His youth and wants them understanding the significance of the Atonement at a young age. And it's so true. The youth of this Church are simply incredible!

Ok funny story with our investigator John: We taught him the Word of Wisdom a few days back, and Elder Beus and I used "strategem" to help him quit. He was pretty well attached to his coffee, so Elder Beus used this awesome analogy "If I was cutting myself with a knife and hurting myself, what would you do?" John said "I would take away the knife and hide it so you wouldn't hurt yourself." Elde Beus said "Perfect, hand over the coffee:)" Oh it was priceless. John gave his can of coffee to his sister and then went to the restroom. While he was in the restroom, his sister gave us the coffee. Ahh, I love being a missionary! 

Have a great week everyone! Count your blessings! Search for the 'one"! 

Con Amor,

Elder Powley

Week 88 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 10 March 2014

Mi querida familia,
This week just flew by, I can barely remember what happened this week. We went to the Temple this week! I remember just saying a prayer right before starting the session for God to gently confirm that I was in the right place. And I definitely felt the Holy Ghost confirming to me that this was in deed the House of the Lord and the covenants we make with him there are real. I just felt so much more peaceful.
We've had some good experiences this week. My companion Elder Beus and I were talking this morning about testimonies, and how they seem to mean more when they come from someone that we have developed a relationship with. A small example, earlier this week we met a lady while tracting. We said a prayer with her and had a great conversation, my companion and I walked away super excited because we answered some concerns of hers, we were friendly and shared our testimonies. And we came away with a good relationship and a return appointment.
We came back the next day for the appointment and we met her husband and he politely told us that they weren't interested. We took time to bear our testimonies. Elder Beus bore a powerful witness about how our message helps families come together and the man just simply said "Ok have nice day." and then closed the door! UGHH Frustration! Now, we could complain about how they were probably anti-ed or how they were prideful, but ultimately the husband did not feel the spirit because he did not know or feel that we loved him.
Charity has to be at the center of all we do. Yesterday I witnessed a prime example of that. We had just come out of a teaching appointment when we received a phone call from a member named Sister Johnson. She told us how she was at the hospital visiting her mom, when she decided to go around to different rooms talking to people. She met a lady named Donna who was going through cancer treatment. She talked with this lady and had the opportunity to invite her to receive a priesthood blessing from the Elders. Donna accepted! So my companion and I rushed up there and we were able to give this lady a blessing. After the blessing, she was just in awe and the spirit was so strong. More than that, as Sister Johnson testified of the gospel, you could just feel the love in that tiny hospital room. Donna said she would be interested in hearing more about the gospel.
When people feel our love for them, they recognize that we are servants of the Lord. We should never be shy about offering priesthood blessings, they are powerful ways for people to feel directly the love that Heavenly Father has for them.
Can't wait for the coming week! We have a church tour set up with the Stavinoha family tomorrow and a lesson with Cindy this afternoon.  We've done our part in preparing now we just need the Lord to work his miracles!
Have a great week everyone!
Con Amor,
Elder Powley

Week 87 - Quail Creek, Oklahoma - 3 March 2014

Mi querida familia,
Weather is crazy here in Oklahoma. Saturday was in the 40s and then yesterday it dropped to 10 degrees with a wind chill (the wind chill is the worst part) below zero. Freezing rain, snow, hail just came down on us during the day. Church was canceled and we grounded our cars. Augh! so we stayed in cleaning and rearranging the apartment. Elder Beus has a great affinity for cleanliness. I've been working on it my whole mission, and compared to Elder Beus I still come short. So we cleaned and organized and I feel so much prouder of our apartment! The Spirit is stronger in a clean environment.
We had a great week finding new investigators. We actually able to set a baptismal date with one of them this week. He likes to be called Mr. Clements (he's 18). On Monday, we went out with our bishop to go visit a less active member named Anthony. While we were visiting with him, Mr. Clements asks us what church we're from. We tell him and then he tells about how he loves going to church. Music to my ears! So we set up an appointment and we were able to set a date for him at the end of this month. We'll see what happens because he's not in a stable situation right now and he might be moving to Guthrie, but we're just going to proceed with faith.
On Tuesday we also started teaching a small family. The mom is named Cindy. The spanish sister missionaries found her. They were teaching a lesson when Cindy just walked in on the Plan of Salvation lesson and said that this is what her family needs. We taught her this week about the restoration and she prayed at the end of the lesson. WE invited her to baptism and she'll need some time to think about it, but here's the cute part... her little 8 year old daughter Madeline sat through the whole lesson and when we invited Cindy to be baptized, she piped up and told her mom that she wants to be baptized!
One other miracle. Saturday evening we went out with our Elders' Quorum President. All our appointments fell through, and so we ended up visiting a new member that just moved into our ward. His name is Jose and he lives alone while his whole family lives in Mexico. As we met with him he was just so grateful that we came over and he was just so grateful to have someone to talk to. It's strange how Heavenly Father let all our plans fall through just so we could go minister to this man. Things just always work out when you plan and work hard.
I've been learning a lot this week. This week we had Brother Jarman (head of MTC training) come to our mission and evaluate us. In a leadership training meeting he taught us about our purpose is to HELP people receive the restored Gospel. And the way we help them is through Church tours and establishing our purpose in the beginning of lessons. Our purpose should not be a secret and we should be open with our intentions, especially to baptize and help others pray and read the scriptures.
La vida es buena. The streets are covered in ice still, so we have to walk to places for P-day, but that's ok, we have another great week lined up, and I hope we can continue to see miracles.
Que Dios les bendiga!
Con Amor,
Elder Powley