Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sep. 5, 2016 - If You Ain't First, You're Last

So a couple weeks ago President created a mini Olympic games for the mission. Each week we focus on different key indicators and the zone with the highest average in that specific thing wins that week. So my Zone leader is super competitive but actually really motivating and wants to prove to President that our Zone of the Priesthood (our zone consists of 10 duplas of elders, no sisters!) is the best zone in the mission. So he might be a little crazy but it works and has been going really crazy to make sure we're all pitching in to win! So this week the focus was having the most people with a baptism date marked! And we did just that!

A couple weeks ago we were doing groceries and this guy yelled to us in English, "Hey are you Mormons?!" So we talked to him for a little bit and at first he seemed kinda crazy and just wanted to mess with us, so we left. Then on friday we see Fernando again! And he explained how he had Mormon friends in England and really likes Mormons and wants to be one! So right then and there I marked him for the 24th to be baptized and he was all for it! We came back the next day to teach all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and he's a really humble solid guy! 

So today we get the results of this weeks Olympics and our zone got 39 out of the 77 marks of the mission! haha we killed it!! It was pretty satisfying to be part of the club finally! 

So yeah when we follow our leaders and work as a team we can get anything done!!

Aug. 29, 2016 - Brazilians are cool!

Well this week.... can be described by this pic. Haha yes that is a cemented shut door.

But yeah we had a mini division and I went with a 3 week old Brazilian who is super chill and relaxed and it was hilarious when we found this door! 

Love you guys! The church is true. Jesus is the Christ. And God is real.

Aug. 22, 2016 - So I went to Romania this week....

We had a sweet zone meeting this week! My first zone meeting in this zone so it was cool to get to see a different part of the country down here in the southern most zone of the mission. The mission has set a goal of 50 baptisms in the month of September! The closest we've ever come was 35 so we have a lot a work to do! It was really interesting we have always set goals at right about where we've been staying. The mission baptizes about 30 a month, so our goals have always been around 30. This time president just said lets just do more! Lets just do what we think cant be done! Why do we just have to stay where we are? Lets go for 50! It was pretty cool! 

Then right after we did divisions with the zone leaders. Now they are teaching a neighborhood of Romanians. Yes an entire neighborhood! Like 70 of them! So we go from house to house speaking our very limited Romanian and their limited portuguese (yes I have picked up a few phrases here and there :D) trying to teach what we can. It was nuts we had like 5 lessons in only a couple hours! 

Side story, in one of the houses, a Real Salt Lake game was playing on the tv! What??

Anyway then we were leaving and they decided to feed us the most gigantic dinner ever! It was delicious! So that was like the highlight of the week!

Other than that, our area is moving pretty slow. The entire city is on vacation! Nobody is home and its annoying but oh well. Just gotta keep keeping on! They'll come back eventually!

SET HIGH GOALS and DREAM BIG! Have a great week!

Aug. 15, 2016 - The Cleanser

So to begin I would like to share 2 really interesting experiences that I had with my companion. First, I pulled out an apple from the fridge and asked him if he wanted one too. He said that he had never had one so he might as well see if he likes it. So he has it in his hand and he says "how do I eat this?" I was speechless. He then proceeded to unsuccessfully gnaw at the skin and what not. It was something I didnt think I would ever see. Hahaha he didnt like it.

Second, we threw a mini birthday party for a little 8 year old member in our chapel with the other members. So we were blowing up some balloons and my companion couldn't blow them up! (He plays the saxophone and the clarinet btw) The 8 year old could but for some reason he just couldn't get the air into it haha I then had to teach him out to blow up a balloon. Haha don't fret I love him! Really! He just makes for a good laugh!

Anyway as for the work this week was legendary! First off we were knocking doors and after about the 3892th door we found this really cool Brazilian, painter, surfer who married an English woman in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro! His name is Wilson. We talked to him for like an entire hour and he was really curious and accepting and said he wanted to come to church! He didnt show up but he said he was sorry and that he would next week. But still he is so cool!

Then we found Jose Leitão. This was one of the wildest thing I have ever seen. So we contact this guy and I notice he is wearing a rather fancy CTR ring. First thought; COOL! MEMBER! He then proceeds to explain how he is Catholic and he wont let us forget it haha and how he has had that ring for 30 years since the Elders gave it to him. So we go back to his house the next day and he shows us his 3 different Books Mormon that he has collected over the years. He said how his wife had died and how he felt lonely and wanted us to be his friends. We invite him to church and he says he would like to go and its been a while since he's been to Mass. So on Sunday we go pick him up and walk with him to church! It was the first investigator that this branch has seen in church in months! It was so great to see our work finally pay off!! 

I have been reading Jesus the Christ and I found something really cool during the clearing of the temple with the whips and all that good stuff. James E. Talmage is explaining it and refers to Jesus as "The Cleanser." I read that and had a sort of enlightening. We all hear how he is the Son of God, The Bread of Life, The comforter, The prince of Peace etc. but I had never thought to call him "the Cleanser" And that is truly what he is. He cleanses us when we need to be cleansed. He can take all our burdens and sins on himself and make us clean!

Well have a marvelous week! 

2nd Picture: In case of emergency, get on the see saw!!!!

Aug. 8, 2016 - Ping Pong Makes Miracles

This week was actually quite boring, and hot. But It was a good chance to really look for the tender mercies in life. 

First off we had a really cool experience with the Rock of our ward Irmão Soares. So he gets a call saying that his daughter was in the hospital. It was urgent and pretty bad. The phone call was so fast that he didnt really get the details but he was worried. Irmão Soares decides to call his brother so they can all pray for him. Not even a minute later we knock on his door. I was just tired and wanted to visit them. Turns out we came at the precise moment we were supposed to. He then told us what had happened and asked me to offer a prayer for his daughter. (I guess Elders' prayers are "more powerful" haha) Within 5 minutes he gets a call from his daughter saying all is well and she was out of the hospital! WHOA! It was actually really crazy.... so yeah prayer works!!

We had our branch FHE and we decided to play some around the world ping pong and some other games on the ping pong table. Our branch president was there for the first time! He is a good man. I sustain him. Lets just say... he is very closed and never smiles. Ever. So we were playing some ping pong and it was getting pretty fun and he started laughing and smiling!! It lightened up a lot and it was quite strange to see his teeth haha but Miracle!! Ping Pong is the key to life everyone.

But honestly this week was pretty tough and I was mentally and spiritually exhausted. We show up to fast and testimony meeting and I was in a pretty bad mood and just wanted to sleep. I didnt want to bear my testomny because I just felt like it wouldnt be very good. But being a branch with 8 members I had no choice. So I bear a short and sweet testimony on the power of prayer and I sit down and I felt so light! Just so happy with so much hope for the future. It was a huge tender mercy for me. So I hope everyone who reads this never misses a chance to bear your testimony.

3 Nephi 17:17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

I read this scripture this week and I was so taken back at how much Joy Jesus Christ can truly offer us. For the Nephites it was so much they couldnt even comprehend it! I love Christ and I am so grateful for his sacrifice he did for each and everyone of us so that we can find inconceivable joy!

P.S. Congrats to Jared and Tori on their new baby boy Beckett!!! Welcome to the fam lil weirdo #2 (;

Aug. 1, 2016 - Churrasco!

Well this week was crazy!

FIrst we had our Zone conference with president. Since we are like 3 hours from where we were having we got to stay in a really nice hotel the night before! The carpet was amazing! Haha the conference was good. He talked a lot about Christ and our relationship with him needs to be always growing, so Pres. challenged all of us to read Jesus the Christ. So I guess for my last 4 and a half months here I will be reading a lot! We also got an extra hour of Pday so thats awesome!

We then had our annual branch BBQ. It was actually way better than we had planned. We had 4 investigators and 3 less actives there! We ended up having 21 people! We consider that a miracle after only having 6 members in church on my first week. 

On sunday I taught preisthood to our 1 teacher and another teacher who was visiting.I learned how to improvise an hour lesson in less than a minute! We talked about how we can take upon us the name of Christ. Then I gave a talk on the Natural man in sacrament meeting. I felt like an apostle quoting the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and Elder Holland :D 

We knocked on a ladies door from the area book and she answered and said oh I need you guys to talk to my son. So we go to his room and he starts like yelling at us and swearing at us. I tried to stay calm and have us come out to talk to us but he freaked out and slammed the door on us. We then talked to his mom and it turns how he is a scitzophrenic and sometimes she has to call the police when she feels endangered. So... yeah we're going to just teach his mom(; 

My 2nd trainer and my last comp both finished their missions today. So now I have 7 comps who are all home. Its a sad day and I feel like a little piece of me died today too.

Oh and our 2 investigators that we marked for baptism in our last area before we were emergency transferred got baptized yesterday! I was really happy to know that though my time was short in that area, I made a difference in at least 2 people there(:

Love ya guys! Have a great week! 

Jul 25, 2016 - Peniche: The Wave Capital

This week was full of miracles! 

First off on tuesday we were koncking doors kinda late and we see this guy grilling up some sardines. We think nothing of it and we keep going. Then after a couple more feet he beckons us to come over to him and he asks if we want some sardines? Of course! So pulls off these 2 fresh sardines and gives them to us. My comp doesnt like them so I got 2! I then proceeded to contact this very nice fellow and he says he's atheist and doesnt want anything. Haha it was bizarre. 

We actually found a ton of new investigators this week too. On friday we had a pretty full day and we didnt have too much time to do any finding but we walked past this 1 door and we felt well lets just hurry and knock this door. And this really nice older couple let us and we talked for about 45 minutes and we shared a little about the plan of salvation and it was sweet! They told us to come back next week!

We had a really good family home evening with a couple more members than last time. We watched the new Jospeh Smith flm which is really good!! We still have yet to bring any investigators to church or activities but Rome wasnt built in a day and we're still pushing along. 

We contacted this man in a wheel chair this week. About 5 minutes into the conversation he reaches down to get something on his leg. He then proceeds to EMPTY HIS CATHETER SACK! Hahaha just pouring pee right onto the sidewalk. Haha we left a card and said goodbye.

We had a really nice couple from Utah on vacation visit the branch yesterday. I translated for them and it was a fresh spark of life into our branch. She actually played the piano really well so that was a nice change. 

My comp is... different. He eats cereal in a bowl, with a glss of milk to the side Yes dry cereal and glass of milk. This week we made some sandwhiches to take with us out proselyting. We ended up not eating them and they were pretty hot but not too bad. When we get home my comp then proceeds to freeze our sandwhiches so that the "bacteria" from the hot day dies. Yes he froze our sandwhiches. He then tempted to deforst them and they were nasty. Gotta love comps!!

Anyway the work is going great and I'm learning and growing everyday! Everyone watch this new mormon message. 

Jul 18, 2016 - Summer is back with a Vengance

Well it's officially the hot season here. It's getting up into the 90's constantly so thats been fun! My tan is looking better than ever!

This week was basically a week of building. We got to know all the members better and have really started making some key relationships here. We had our awesome family home evening as a branch and our 3 faithful members showed up! It was a new experience for me having so litte people so our goal for this week will be to get way more people there!

I was called as the branch executive secretary. So now I know all the tithing and what not haha it'll look good on my church resumé.  But other  than that we are just trying to fill up our teaching pool and its been unusally difficult. I just think to myself that the miracles come after the trial of our faith! So yeah hopefully the trial doesnt last too much longer haha

This week I was reading in a Liahona about forgiveness and I really liked a quote I found. President faust put this way. “Forgiveness is freeing upand putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves." So may we all forgive easier and understand better. That's my 2 cents. Love ya'll! Have a great week!


Elder Powell

Jul 12, 2016 - PORTUGAL!! PORTUGAL!!

So Sunday was arguably the most successful day in portuguese soccer history. We won the Euro Cup! Its basically the world cup but with just Europe. Some say its bigger than the world cup because the European pride is a lot deeper and more emotional haha so this country went nuts!! Now baptizing will be so much easier because everyone is in a good mood!!

So this week we got emergency transferred to an area called Peniche. The elders that were there were sent home so we had to go fill their place. Its about a 4 hour train ride south of my last area and I am now about 45 minutes from Lisbon! Haha it was quite the suprise and pretty sad having to leave the area after just 3 weeks but we're excited for this new adventure.

We had a total of 6 people (not including me and my comp) at church and I blessed the sacrament and gave a talk for the first time in about a year actually. The area is beautiful and there are a lot of tourists here. And a ton of fish! Haha our chapel is right next door to this fancy fish restaurant and lets just say while we were in church it smelled really good(: Haha

We had a surprise mission conference with Elder Kearon of the 70 and it was really good. He talked a lot about obedience and 0 tolerance and how we can't have the spirit while being disobedient. So everyone! Be obedient!! And it was fun seeing the whole mission together!

Other than that these are some rad pictures from our new area:D

Jul 4, 2016 - FREEDOM!!!!!!!

I love America!! And I have never felt so Patriotic! Happy 4th of July to all! Today for Pday we went to my old districts house and had a sweet BBQ and listened to American Motab haha it was fun!

Also on my Portuguese patriotic side, this country is going nuts! They are in the semi-finals of the Euro Cup and this place is too insane about their soccer! They play again on wednesday and our ward rescheduled ward council because of it haha only in Portugal. And its especially fun because I'm living with a Portuguese Elder from Lisbon and so he's going nuts too!

This week was pretty sweet missionary work wise. There is a mom and her son who have been being taught for about 6 months now and finally there was a breakthrough. On my first lesson with her we decided to make a "goal" for her baptism for the 24th of July. They totally accepted the date and felt really good about it all. So yeah! We have those 2 who are really progressing and we are super stoked about them!

Well I think Captain Moroni sais it best in Alma 46

"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.....and he prayed mightily unto hisGod for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should band of Christians remain to possess theland.....Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into acovenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them"

God Bless America!

Jun 27, 2016 - Beach is Life.

So the odds were not in my favor this week. I was transferred just across the river to Matosinhos! I was sad to leave all my recent converts and my friends in my last área but I couldnt have been transferred to a closer área! It shares the border with my last área and I can literally see my old bishops house from my área now haha. Its been great! And our house is 2 streets down from the beach!! This will be my 9th transfer here in this zone! I am also training Elder Madsen fom Highland Utah! He is so pumped about the work and has way more greenie fire than anyone I have ever seen! Haha its exhausting but refreshing. My last 2 comps were dying so this will be a nice change.

Well this week basically consisted of just getting to know the members and the área. But we did manage to find Daniela and Vítor from the área book! They are a young couple with a baby girl. They are so cool and so nice and when we plan their wedding its going to be awesome! :D

This week I was Reading in the Teachings of the Prophets: Joseph Smith. And there was a part that was amazing to me! It talked about babies or young children that die. He explained that the parents of such children will have the chance to raise and care for these children in heaven just like they were here on earth. So The parents will create that parent-child bond even in heaven! I love that knowledge that The Plan of Happiness gives us! I love my family and I cant wait to live with them forever!

Elder Powell

Jun 20, 2016 - R.I.P Sister Powell

Don't fret nobody died...just a part of me died. I hit my 18 month mark and if I was a sister I would have died this week haha

Anyway this week was pretty average. Nothin too special. Claudino got the Holy Ghost and he asked me to do the confirmation and it was a really cool experience! Definitely one of my favorite recent converts!

Other than that we've just been traveling a lot to other areas and what not and it's been a blast! It's beach season so we've been visiting all the districts closest to the beach:D Haha

This picture of us at the beach was too funny. So we go have a double district P day and we play some beach volleyball. The area we went to is a big cruise ship stop. So this guy taking the picture is an RM who works on the cruise ship and was on his break and saw us playin and said " hey those are totally missionaries!" and so he played with us. The Mormon brotherhood is real.

Transfers are tomorrow and I feel like I'm leaving. Which is really sad ): 

Always be preaching the gospel, and sometimes use words!

I've been channeling my inner artist

i dont know if you remember on Christmas but this was the guy whose house we stayed at for Christmas haha we returned last wek!! he actually gave me that sweater so we had to take a pic together!

Other than that I'm glad that the whole fam damily is back in utah! 

Transfers are tomorrow and I'm really sad because basically I know I'm leaving and I dont want to ): Oh well I asked prez twice if I could stay but we'll see. 

Love ya miss ya!

Jun 13, 2016 - Batismo!!

First sorry to the lack of pictures. Our stake president banned us from using the computers at the chapel so we are at an internet cafe with no way to send pictures. Lame.

Anyway Claudino got baptized yesterday! It was really awesome and the spirit was so strong. He was crying when he came out of the water and it was so cool. He brought his 17 year old son with him too and we're totally going to start teaching him! It was an awesome day!

On another note. I learned how to drive stick shift this week!!!! So we had to trade in our car for a stick and my comp totally taught me and now I'm a pro. I drove up to my last area today for P day and it's been quite fun. 

We are teaching this guy from Croatia who speaks spanish and my comp is a legend and used the gift of tongues and taught an entire first lesson in spanish!! We then proceeded to buy a spanish for dummies book and are now aprendendo español:D 

The church is true!

Jun 6, 2016 - Cheesecake!!

First of all shoutout to my awesome sister for graduating form High school this week!! And shoutout to mi padre for turning 50 this saturday! Happy birthday!!

Well this week I finally got my comp back from his recovery at the mission home and we're going hard again! We had the coolest zone meeting about staying happy and joyful in the work. Don't stress about numbers and just be good and work hard and the "numbers" will come as a result. It was exactly what our zone needed.

We had 7 member meals this week!! I think it was a record and definitely unheard of! One of them was a lady born and raised in Boston who is living here with her portuguese husband and little 2 year old boy. She made enchiladas and salted caramel cheesecake!! I felt right at home:D

Well we had originally planned to baptize Claudino on the 19th but turns out he wants to do it ASAP so now we're planning for this Sunday, the 12th! He is what you call elect! When we were teaching tithing we asked why he wanted to live this commandment and he said "well it's part of the church and its a commandment from God, so I have to do what God tells me." I couldn't have answered it better myself! So yeah next week you should be seeing some white!

Yesterday we had a Europe wide conference. It was pretty unusual but it was cool. Sister Oscarson and Elder's Kearon and Cristofferson spoke to all of Europe through satellite transmission. It was pretty cool. The underlying theme was Love. Just love people. Love your neighbor and reach out with a helping hand. Love like the savior loved and this world will be so much better. Elder Kearon talked again a lot about the refugees.

This is a picture of our HUGE zone! I love this place! Have a great week and happy summer!