Monday, November 30, 2015

Nov 30, 2015 - Nacseu O Salvador

Well the mission Christmas initiative has officially begun! Nasceu O Salvador! I attached the link to this year's awesome Christmas video from the church website. They always do such a good job! We have hundreds and hundreds of our little Christmas pass along cards that we're gonna be using all month! I'm pumped!

This week was awesome! We found an awesome little family! We saw this mom and her 3 kids walking and thought jackpot! So we contacted them and got their address and went to their house on friday. They answered the door and the little boy was super excited to see us and the mom was really curious too. Unfortunately we had just missed her husband who had left for work so we couldnt teach them right there but we rescheduled for Tuesday! I'm super excited and this ward only has 2 kids in primary so hopefully they get this big boost! 

Afonso is still marked for baptism for this Sunday! His interview is on Thursday and we're praying and fasting that this baptism finally happens after yent convert family, Beatriz and Antonio! They were actually baptized by my current zone leader. About 6 months after their baptism they both got new jobs that forces them to work on Sunday. They hears and years! Pray for him!

On Saturday we visited an awesome recave such strong testimonies and know that their new jobs was a blessing from getting baptized. We left a really good scripture from King Benjamin's talk about the Why and How of the atonement. Then they fed us a little dinner and it was so nice to be in a home where the spirit was so strong. They are praying every day that somehow they can find a way to get to church. And after we left, I realized exactly how important the Sabbath is. We can't take it for granted. There are worthy willing people out there who just are in unfortunate circumstances that deny them the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and enjoy church.  I started to feel guilty about all the times that I had slept in and missed church (before my mission ;) or just didnt pay attention or didnt give the sabbath the respect it deserves. So I guess my plea is for all of you to really think about how lucky you are to have the chance to go to church. and when youre at church really think about and remember Christ. And try to "make the sabbath a delight" 

Thats about it! Next week you should be seeing us dressed in white!:D

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nov 23, 2015 - Lucky Number 8

Well today is the start of my 8th transfer here in the cold but beautiful Portugal! I am staying here in Póvoa de Varzim with my comp Elder cox but the other area in our district got replaced my sisters! So now I'm DL over my comp and the sisters. Its going to be a sweet transfer!

Afonso is still doing awesome! He said we have to move the baptism back a week due to his work schedule so now its planned for the 6th of December! But better late than never! 

We got a sweet new microwave!! Our food is going to be so evenly warmed up now!

On Sunday morning before church started the bishop told me that maybe I would have to give a talk in sacrament because the person assigned might not show up. But to my relief he showed up, so during the sacrament I was all calm feeling the spirit when all of a sudden he walks out of the chapel. I look over at his wife, then at the bishop and I didnt know what was happening. So the bishop stands up and announces that I am the first speaker. Haha awesome. So yes I literally wrote my talk as I walked from my seat, to the pulpit. I talked about Captain Moroni and how we have to defend the things that matter most in our lives and then talked about Grandpa and how he literally fought for his freedom and I tried to organize it all into a talk. i thought it turned out good for how much time I had to prepare. Just one more skill missionaries learn. Writing talks in less than 30 seconds:D

But this week was a pretty slow week. The mission has really taught me to enjoy the simple things in life. A good personal study of the scriptures. A friendly conversation with someone who actually wants to talk to you. A nice cup of Hot chocolate. A good conference talk. Not everything you do is exciting and life changing but its the small things that count.
D&C 64:33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Love you all and I hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving and eat lots of turkey for me! 

Nov 16, 2015 - Afonso!

Well Afonso finally agreed to baptism!! We had a lesson where we finally just said "Look man. What are you waiting for? You know the doctrine. You know the ward. You've felt the spirit. You know this is all true. YOU'RE READY FOR BAPTISM." And he said yeah I am! So the last Sunday of November he'll finally be baptized! We're pumped and the ward is all so excited! :D

We had stake conference yesterday and it was such a good meeting! I'm back in my first stake so it was cool to see all my friends and members from my first area! But the stake president spoke on small and simple things and it was funny he had every woman stand up that had been told "I love you" from her husband that morning and only about half of the married women stood up. And it was a good reminder that yes the little things matter every day!

Then mission president spoke about the Sabbath day and kinda handed out some faca to the stake and read straight from the handbook about how to do meetings well and what we should be doing at church. It was good!

Then the Madrid Temple president spoke and he gave an amazing talk about how important temples are and how the plan of salvation is a perfect plan and how merciful God is to have made a plan for us like that.

Then Elder Moreira, of the 70, spoke about the importance of the temple some more then focused a lot on patriarchal blessings. It was really cool. I understood everything the Madrid temple president said:D But the stake was just about the size of my ward at home. Weird to see the contrast but good to know its still the same doctrine and spirit. 

Well thats about it. Awesome week that was full of the spirit and now we are gonna be pretty busy keeping Afonso firm until the 29th and preparing his baptism! I love you all and always remember the little things in life!

p.s. this is me having a samuel the lamanite moment :D

Nov 9, 2015 - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

So yes Christmas is in full swing here! ALREADY! I realized they dont have thanksgiving here so theres no unwritten rule about starting Christmas after Thanksgiving so on Nov. 1st they brought out the lights and music and everything. So Merry Christmas everyone! And also its Chestnuts season! So we had a sweet ward party where we just sat and ate 100s of Roasted Chestnuts! sorry I dont have any pictures but they were yummy!

And along with the ward activity the RS Pres gave a really cool spiritual thought about not leaving for tomorrow what can be done today! It was on the talk given I think either last or 2 conferences ago. She said that we only have today! So pray today. Read the Book of Mormon today today. Say sorry today. Say I forgive you today. Say I love you today. Get to know your savior today. Make the most out of today because tomorrow might not come. And in the words of the Poet Ne-Yo. "We might not get tomorrow, so let's do it tonight." 

We still are finding some cool people to teach and our favorite eternal investigator, Afonso, came back from france this week so we finally got to teach him again and he came to church and the ward mission leader is taking him bike riding this week and hes really well integrated into the ward! He just needs to take that next step of faith in to the waters of baptism. 

Other than that we are just doing a lot of finding and talking to strangers all day. Its funny how your whole life youre told not to talk to strangers. Then you turn 18 and get sent out to Europe and basically everyone's salvation depends on the fact that you have to talk to strangers all day every day.... (;

Love you all and have a great week!

And this week we walked back into the 1500s....

Nov 2, 2015 - Slow and steady win the race

Well this week was pretty slow but I love our members! Our ex bishop brought this 18 year old kid Antonio (the son of a close family friend of his) to church and we had an awesome Gospel principles class with him. We taught about Joseph Smith then the ex bishop told his conversion story and the spirit was so strong! We're having a an FHE this week at his house and it was basically a miracle! Hopefully you'll see him wearing white here soon(; 

On halloween all we did was just buy some candy and we ate it haha Portugal isnt nearly as crazy about it as America but we still saw some kids running around all dressed up so it was fun! Today we went to Porto and got some Pizza Hut! We met up with some other Elders and we had a party!

Other than that nothing too much to report on. I'm going on a division today with a greenie of 2 weeks so that should be fun! Wish me luck!

Oct 26, 2015 - LISBON TEMPLE!!!!

So basically the best news was announced this week since 1974 when the church was allowed to start proselyting here! The Lisbon Temple ground breaking will be on December 5th!! Super exciting stuff!! It only took 40 years but all the tithing and faith of this country finally paid off! Unfortunately I wont be able to go because I am in a different mission but you can feel the attitude change of the members of super optimism and happiness!

But other than that not too much happened this week. We're still trying to find people to teach and its been a slow process but its coming along. On Sunday we had a super cool miracle! A less active member showed up to church with her non member husband and their 2 non member sons, 11 and 12! Theyre really nice and a cool family and it turned out that that morning the husband actually wanted to go to church and he dragged her to church! So we got their number and we're going to visit them this week! 

Thats about it! Hope you all have a safe Halloween and the american candy here in Portugal is pretty sparse.... just saying... (; Haha 


Oct. 20, 2015 - A Message From Your Stake Presidency

Our dear Elder Powell,

First and foremost, we hope this email correspondence finds each of you happy and well.  We express our sincere love to you as your Stake Presidency.  We pray for you in your assigned labor and share our gratitude for the marvelous work in which you are engaged in.

In May of this year, the Draper Utah Meadows Stake was created by Elder Robert C. Gay and Elder Gene R. Chidester of the Seventy.  It was a spiritual and sacred experience to meet with these faithful servants of God and to be called to serve in our respective callings.  Like you, we humbly implore the Lord for his guidance in blessing the lives of the members of our stake.

Several weeks ago, our High Priests assembled together for our annual Stake High Priests Quorum Meeting.  Wonderful instruction was given.  One of the subjects addressed was the importance of being spiritual mentors in the lives of others.  Much of the context shared was taken from a CES Fireside Talk given on March 7, 2010 entitled “Thy Friends Do Stand by Thee”.
In March of 1839, the Prophet Joseph Smith, with several of his companions, had been wrongfully incarcerated for months at Liberty Jail.  Many Church historians have said that this experience was one of the most difficult and darkest periods of the prophet’s entire life.  His words—recorded in Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants—speak of a desperate loneliness he felt in such of the bleakest of circumstances, “O God, where art thou?” 

The Lord did NOT appear nor send angels; he did NOT thrash the guards or swing open the door of the prison.  Simply put, He did NOT change the circumstances—but He spoke comfort and reassurance to Joseph by saying: 

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."  Then the Lord said this…"Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." (Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7-9)

Elder Rasband stated, “Here was Joseph locked in jail by the treachery of men, some of whom had once been his close associates.  But the Lord made the point so clear—“thy friends do stand by thee.”   How comforting that declaration was to the Prophet Joseph; how comforting to us.  Think for a minute, what it means to you to know you have someone standing right by you, someone you can trust to be your friend on good days and bad, someone who values you and supports you even when the two of you are apart.”

Pause for a moment and think, who has mentored you?  Who helped you to get on a mission? What have you learned from them that changed your life?  How have they watched over you? 

All of us are products of those who have touched our lives for good.  As full-time missionaries, you now assume the role of spiritual mentors in the mission field.  We commend you for your efforts and testify that there are many from home—who do stand by you and shall hail you again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

We leave you with this thought given to the Church by President Gordon B. Hinckley many years ago.  He said, “To those of the Church, all within the sound of my voice, I give the challenge that while you are performing the part to which you have been called, never lose sight of the whole majestic and wonderful picture of the purpose of this, the dispensation of the fullness of times. Weave beautifully your small thread in the grand tapestry, the pattern for which was laid out for us by the God of heaven. Hold high the standard under which we walk. Be diligent, be true, be virtuous, be faithful, that there may be no flaw in that banner.”

We send our love to you from across the miles and pray heaven’s choicest blessings will be yours as you bring all unto Christ. 

Much Love,

Oct. 19, 2015 - Home makeover: Mission Apartment Edition

Week 1 in Póvoa was awesome! The ward so awesome and I already feel so welcomed and loved its gonna be a fun several months here! 

On monday when I arrived, the house was in ruins. Just terrible! It smelled like pee, there was dirt and trash and clothes everywhere and it was insane. So we stayed inside and didnt proselyte for 2 days straight. After district meeting on tuesday and all day wednesday we just stayed inside and deep cleaned the house. We reorganized the furniture, washed all the dishes and kitchenware, donated all the old clothes from past elders, dusted and swept, hand scrubbed the bathroom floor and it was intense. Theres no way to accurately show how much of a difference we made but here is the pile of junk and trash we threw out. I can show before and after pictures when I get home haha But yeah the spirit can actually reside in our house and I can finally concentrate! 

We have this awesome eternal investigator named Afonso. He has been an investigator for 11 years!!! And he actually was marked for baptism 2 weeks ago but fell because he didnt think he had a strong enough testimony of the book of Mormon. so we had a sweet lesson with him and read 2 Nephi 9 with him and talked a lot about the atonement. we then obviously talked more about the book of Mormon and we had him say a specific prayer right then and there asking for an assurance that the Book of Mormon was true. And nothing. I felt the spirit and he felt the spirit but he apparently didn't get the response he wanted. So yeah its gonna be a tough couple weeks getting him prepared for baptism. We are actually contemplating teaching with our Mission President because we're only about 30 minutes from HQ so we'll see next week. 

But I love this area and the beach here is beautiful! Its been surprisingly warm and sunny here so thats been sweet! The Portuguese sunsets never get old!

Love you guys and hope you have a week full of the spirit!