Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day Letter from Elder Powell

Well guys (and gals), Justin is down to his final 2 ½ weeks in the MTC.  He is leaving for Mexico on January 16.  He thinks that he will have to stop in Dallas and visit the Mexican Consulate to have his Visa signed and will overnight in Dallas, so that should  be an added adventure. As you will be able to tell, he is really loving the MTC and is making loads of progress.  He has also made some great friends there and sounds so positive and uplifted. He’s always been a good kid, but I’m so proud of him.
Please keep the letters heading to him. He told me that he loves hearing from his friends and family at home. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers and send him good energy for this final push before heading out of the country and into the "meat" of his mission. Peace and love to you all, especially during this New Year's celebration.

Hey Familia y Amigos! How are you all doing? How were the Christmas Holidays for everyone? My Christmas was pretty grand! I was a bit homesick at first, but it was actually a great Christmas! Thank you so much for the Christmas package familia! I'm very grateful for it and I hope you all like my Christmas package.

So starting with Christmas Eve, we had a fireside with the MTC presidency and had such a blast! We watched A Christmas Carol and had amazing popcorn! The whole night I wore this Christmas tie (Thank you Ellingers!) and my companion got these Christmas light necklaces from his parents, so I wrapped it around my tie and had a light up Christmas tie all Christmas Eve and Christmas! Everyone thought it was the coolest thing ever because they thought it was part of the tie. After the Christmas day devotional, my companion and I went up to the MTC presidency and met with him, when I got up there they were laughing and kind of shocked that an elder had a light up tie in their own MTC. President Brown was like: "Only today is that all right Elder Powell." And then I ended up taking a picture with 2 of the 3 presidency. Their wives were all laughing hysterically. It was pretty funny. My companion gets these comic packages from his family like for example, 3 of us wore mustaches around the MTC a couple weeks ago, and it was soo funny! Everyone was laughing! I think President Brown would have had a heart attack if he was me with it! Haha!

And then we had this Christmas Eve party with my whole floor in this Elder's room. Chips, soda and fun! There were like 30 elders in this small room just partying for Christmas Eve! Most of them are Latino and so we all sang at the top of our lungs "Feliz Navidad"! A lot of elders in the other floors were mad! But we all had Christmas spirit and then our party got broken up by security... It was still a blast! Don't worry, I'm obedient! Just having some fun too! Haha! :)

And on Christmas day we had a sacrament meeting (MTC wide) in the gym with Elder Bednar and his wife. Elder Bednar was so inspirational to hear from! He talked about the natural attribute of Christ and how he should just look outwards instead of thinking of ourselves. If we just think about others rather than worrying only about ourselves, we should find everlasting happiness and we will be better people. He told this one story about when he was a stake president and how he saw this attribute of Christ demonstrated from this lady that had every opportunity to just worry about herself, but in the face of complete depression and sadness, she still acted just like Christ. Stake President Bednar received a phone call from the Relief Society President of a ward late one evening and said, "President Bednar, there has been a terrible accident near where you live involving 3 young women; one of them is my daughter. One of them is confirmed dead and the other two severely injured. Will you please go identify which of the 3 is the deceased young woman?" President Bednar said he would and what he noticed about the phone call is that the Relief Society President/Mother had another phone to her other ear and he understood that it was the nurse at the scene of the accident. There was some silence and President Bednar then heard the confirmation of the deceased young woman—it was the daughter of the Relief Society President. What really astonished President Bednar was that the first thing that came out of the Mother was, "President, please go confirm the other two young women and tell their mothers." He was amazed that she thought about the others before herself and what she had just lost; her only daughter. It's truly tragic what happened and it would be understandable if she felt sorry for herself, but she cared so much for others and demonstrated this Christ like attribute. Continuing, a couple days later, President Bednar received a phone call from the mother again and she said, "President Bednar, I want to extend an invitation to you to come see my daughter before they close her casket because the workers here at the Mortuary prepared her so well and I don't want your last memory of my daughter to be her when she was dead in the accident (all disfigured). So could you come with me to say goodbye before they close the casket?" Again, President Bednar was amazed of her thinking about others before herself. Finally, the morning of the funeral arrived. The mother was preparing at her home and she received a phone call from a very unhappy woman of the ward. This woman had been sick at home and she didn't receive breakfast in the morning from the relief society. This mother who is about to go watch her young only daughter be buried into the earth actually makes breakfast and takes it to this woman, on the way to her daughter's funeral! What strength and courage this woman has! Instead of just thinking only about herself and what she's dealing with, while she's facing probably the greatest disaster a mother could go through, losing her only daughter, she continues to act like Christ and look out to others before only thinking of herself. The beauty of worrying about others before yourself that a lot of people don't understand is that you will receive so many blessings and you will find so much more happiness! Because imagine you serving others before yourself, and if everyone followed your example, people would want to serve you as well, and you will receive endless blessings! That was probably the most inspirational talk I have ever heard! Elder Bednar seriously made this Christmas a lot better!

That Christmas night, I was hanging out with 2 elders that are dear friends now that were leaving the next morning, and pretty much a lot of the floor came over and we all sang "Feliz Navidad" again! I recorded it so hopefully you can hear it and see it! I also am sending my memory card home as we speak with over 100 pictures, so look out for that!

This week was kind of hard because 2 districts that are on our floor, who are like brothers to me now, have gone on their missions. They were both Latino districts and they all have interesting stories and backgrounds. Amazing people and it was tough saying goodbye, but I'm going to have around 30 friend requests from all of them by the time I get home to Facebook. Haha!

I hope all of your Christmas' were great and I hope your New Year is the best yet! I love you all and take care! Please keep in touch!

Elder Justin Powell


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