Friday, February 24, 2012

Justin's first baptism

And here is this week’s letter.  Justin has performed his first baptism and is doing great.  He is working hard and staying very busy and appears to be being obedient.  I’m so proud of this kid and can’t wait for his further adventures.  Please keep the letters going to him—I know that I ask this all the time, but it is a very nice boost to hear from home and I know that Justin would love all the letters that he can get.  Let’s take a moment from our busy lives and send him some love in letter form. 
Peace and love in your lives.

Hola Familia y Amigos,
How are you all doing? Well I am doing fantastic! I love my area and our investigators are great! And the people here are so great! The members are very good members who really want to serve just like us. Well I had my very first baptism yesterday! I was sooo excited! Her name is Josefina and she is a mother to a daughter who is a recent convert. It was such a spiritual experience because she is so shy and, but all the members in the ward were so welcoming and friendly to her as she entered into the ward family. And that´s the thing that I love about our ward here is that it is one big family and whoever enters into this family, is welcomed very warmly. So it is much easier to invite members to lessons with our investigators and the thing is, is that it’s not awkward between the investigator and the member. They become friends right away. Well Josefina is very excited to start being a member of this wonderful church and now she wants to continue and reach the temple. As missionaries, we are taught that our main goal is that all new converts can reach the temple, that our work with the investigators or new converts doesn´t stop at the moment when they are baptized. We must continue to push them until they reach the temple and become very firm members in this church. That’s why we teach so much about the family history to the investigators now. So Josefina now has her daughter and husband as members and now we are working with her other daughter and her boyfriend. They want to be baptized, but they need to married first. That is our challenge with them. We have another investigator named Brenda who is great! We contacted her briefly on the restoration, and she accepted a baptismal date for this coming Sunday. Our next appointment with her was very special because she was telling us that all about the beginning of the Book of Mormon and the history of the church, more information than what my companion and I know. She was pretty much teaching us some facts for a while! Haha. But I asked her yesterday if she’s ready for her baptism after she watched Josefina's, and she said that she is more than ready! Very strong member she will be. I´m excited for her and afterward, we will be working with her very large family who have some interest but first want to see Brenda´s change. Well I don´t have much time but I love you all sooo much and I miss you like crazy! But the time definitely flies on the mission! I have countless stories to tell you all when I get home! I wish I could have time to write them all, but a time will come when I will be home and then can tell you all my stories. Very special mission that I am in and I am grateful to be here. Yes it is hot here, but the people here are amazing. And the food is great as well!! Haha Keep in touch everyone! Love you all!

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

First letter home in Spanish

I’m very sorry that I’ve been a slacker in posting Justin’s letters these past two weeks.  I promise to do a better job in the future.
In this letter, Justin includes a note to his family that he wrote in Spanish and I’m posting it here to show just how well this youngster is doing in learning (or re-learning, as is the case) the language.  I’m very proud of him for putting in the work. 
It’s also great news that he’s been moved from the “front lines”, as it were, and is now in Monterrey.  I’m going to certainly rest much better now.
On to the letter…

Well Hello Everyone! How is everyone doing!? Well I’m doing pretty good! I´m in Monterrey right now and things are going very good! I´m in a new area called Lomas De Pedregal, Apadoca, Monterrey now with my new companion Elder Perkes! This place is right in the city and not like 4 hours away like Matamoros. I changed because of my breathing condition that I picked up in Matamoros near the sea. Well I went to 2 doctors now and both have a different theory and so now the mission president moved me because there is a hospital here with a lung specialist and I have an appointment with him tomorrow in downtown, Monterrey. Well I love my new area! Things are going very well here! My companion and I have so much in common and he´s from Logan, Utah. He´s been here for 1 year and a half and he´s been so helpful to me and a great example of a great hard working missionary! I have learned much more last week than during all the rest of my mission. I miss a lot of families in the Matamoros area though... There were a lot of great people over there. But this area is great and my confidence is a lot higher here—more than ever. And things are a lot calmer here as well! So don´t worry about safety and such. One thing that President Walker said that I will always remember is that he promised that nothing will happen if we are 100% obedient to the rules and with 100% diligence. He said nothing dangerous will happen to us and those were very powerful words and I really like what he said. Very assuring words and there are so many great people here. And the food is awesome! Oh and right now I can say that I am fluent in Spanish. Just some words, but I can converse with anyone now and understand completely. Well work is great, no baptisms yet but we have many on the way and so many investigators! So many loving people here and they are an awesome example to me. Well the weather has been cold as well and lots of rain! But things are great and I love you all! Please keep in touch and wow does time fly! Crazy how that happens! Congratulations Justin Basset on your mission call to McAllen, Texas! I have 2 great friends there that I met in the MTC. Great mission! Love you man and keep in touch! Take care and much love!

Elder Justin Powell

Hola Familia, ¿Como están ustedes? Yo estoy muy bien y me encanta mí nuevo área también. ¡Espero que ustedes estén muy bien! Gracias por los emails también, Suena que ustedes están muy bien y Papi, ¡tú necesitas tener cuidado también con su motocicleta! jajá. Pues mi nueva área es en la ciudad ahora y más cerca del hospital. Presidente Walker quería que yo estoy cerca del hospital para hacer examines y esas cosas. No se preocupe mucho sobre mis problemas con mi respiración porque yo estoy en manos buenas ahora con un hospital de los estados unidos. Yo estoy muy bien con las cosas yo tengo y gracias por la ayuda con mi carro. Yo espero que él puede pagar pronto porque él dijo que el va a pagar cuando enero termine. Y esta ciudad es muy bonita. ¡Me encantan todos los edificios y las montañas también! La comida es muy buena, pero yo tengo problemas en el baño ahora. Jajá Este pasa mucho. Jajá. Pues, cuidase mucho y gracias por recibir ese llamado de la Hermana Sandra. Ella quería que ustedes no preocupen mucho sobre las ballezeras y malas cosas porque solamente es entre la mala gente. Tenemos el espíritu guiando a nosotros y ese ayuda nosotros mucho. Gracias por su amor y ¡cuídense bastante!
(Translation)  Hello Family, how are you?  I am very well and I love my new area.  I hope that all of you are doing great! Thank you for the e-mails—it sounds like you are all great and Dad, you need to be careful on your motorcycle.  Haha! Well, my new area is in the city now and much closer to the hospital.  President Walker wanted  that I were close to the hospital so that I could go to my appointments and such.  Don’t worry now about my health problems in my lungs because now I’m in good hands with a U.S. hospital so close. I am doing really well and thanks for the help with my car. I hope that he can pay soon because he said that he would have it all paid off by the end of January.
This city is beautiful! I love all of the buildings and also the mountains.  The food is delicious but now I am having some issues with my stomach—Haha!  I guess this isn’t uncommon—Haha! Well, take care of yourselves and thank you for receiving  that phone call from Sister Sandra.  She wanted that none of you worry too much about the gun fights and other bad things because it was only happening between people involved in the drug wars.  We have the guidance of the Holy Spirit and this helps us a lot.  Thank you for your love and please take good care of yourselves.

Leia Mais…

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pics of Justin's last day before his mission


These pictures were taken on the day that Justin left for the MTC. My thanks to the very talented and generous Duston Todd for giving so freely of his time and talent in order to capture this great day.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New letter from Matamoros--8 February 2012

This week’s letter is here and all of the news from Matamoros is good.  Justin sounds like he is doing really well.  It’s fun to hear about his experiences and makes me remember my own.  I’m so proud of this kid of mine.

I hope that you are all doing well. Please keep writing to Justin—remember that using is still the best way and ensures that the letter get to him in about a week, which is far better than standard postal rates and times.  Missionaries love to hear from home so let’s keep this hard working boy happy.  
Blessings and peace to you all.

Hello Everyone! Well I am doing very well now. I feel accustomed to this place and everyone is sooo nice here. And my Spanish is pretty much fluent. Just some words/conjugations here and there. But everything is going well. Well I am still in Matamoros and there is still tons of work. This week flew by like a breeze! We were sooo busy. We taught many lessons and we also received quite a bit of new investigators. We had a zone conference this past Thursday as well and got the privilege to be taught by President Walker about how to contact more effectively. And then we went to work after that. And then on Saturday we went to the Temple! It was such a great experience because not many elder's get to visit the temple during the mission until the end of the mission. My companion has two converts that went to the temple to be sealed and so I got to go with him to the temple. It was such a great experience that I will never forget. The temple is so beautiful inside and outside. It was raining like crazy but it was a great experience. Well I don't have that much time... haha. I am doing pretty well. The people here are soo nice and all they want to do is feed us food! Haha They don't have that much to offer, but they offer food and we are so blessed to have people like them in our mission. Very busy week this past week and this next week will probably become a lot busier.
An investigator gave you a call dad, right? I knew that you guys would be worried about the news that 2 missionaries died in Monterrey and also about all the gun fire and battles happening here. Well these 2 missionaries were from a different church and had connections with drugs and so that's why they were targeted. Really it has calmed down here in Matamoros. And the soldiers are here protecting the people. It is shaping up well here in North Eastern Mexico. So don't worry too much. I hope she explained that to you. Well I love you and take care and I will do the same.
Well I love you all and I hope everything is going well. Take care and please keep in touch. God bless you all
Elder Powell

Leia Mais…

Friday, February 3, 2012

Another letter from Matamoros

Here’s the latest letter from Justin, in Matamoros. He sounds great and is working hard.
If any of you have seen the news from Matamoros or from Brownsville Texas, it isn’t good.  There is a battle for territory going on between two rival drug cartels—the Zetas and the Gulf cartels. Last week there was a gun battle and the news article that I read said that the residents of Matamoros “went to bed Tuesday night to the sound of automatic weapons fire and grenades.” Suffice it to say that I’ve been concerned, to to say the least. Tonight I got a call from a strange number, a woman speaking in Spanish, saying that she was from Matamoros and a parent. She said she knows that all the news from her town is bad and scary—killings, shoot-outs, drugs, gangs, corruption—and she wanted me to know that though it is a scary time there, her family and others have come to love Justin and are looking out for him and she wanted me to be at peace. I still worry about my boy, but this stranger brought much needed peace to my heart and I’m grateful for small acts of kindness.
Once again, please add your thoughts and prayers to mine. I’m going to be positive, especially thanks to having received this special phone call from a concerned parent.
Peace and love to you all.

Hello Family and Friends,
How are you all doing? Well I am doing alright, just still trying to get accustomed to this very new culture that I am now completely surrounded in. The work is going well, a lot of investigators that we have and many that are interested in baptism. We work countless hours each day and it is crazy how fast time flies each day! The thing is that I feel like I have been here for years though! Haha The weather here is sooo up and down! It is one day blazing hot, and then it's chilly and rainy. I have heard that the weather here is just always extremes and that's it. The food has been great here as well; I haven't gotten sick yet. And also the people here are so nice. It's a good place to serve.
On Thursday, I had to travel to Monterrey on a charter bus to sign papers for my Visa because apparently our Visas expire every 6 months. I returned on Saturday to start the work up again. We met with this one sister who has a tough life because her son and husband don't want anything to do with her for some reason. We talked to her and she really does want to become closer to God. She said, before we extended the invitation for baptism, that she wants to serve a mission as well and we were very surprised by her words. We had to explain to her that there are steps that you take before you can serve a mission, but it is very possible that you can. Pretty cool experience. And at church we had 4 investigators come and attend! It was great because in my area, there is a lot of poverty and with that, no cars for the majority of the people here. The church is very far away, so it has been challenging for investigators and many members to make it church, but 4 went to church and it was great. The only bad thing is that during a class in Sunday school, the brother that was talking was pretty much very direct to everyone about the ward not paying tithing and that they're not going to be with God... We were sitting there like “Nooooooo!”, because our investigators don't understand tithing yet and I hope that this lesson didn't scare our investigators off! My companion and are a bit all right. He and I have our difficult times because he and I are leaders or a bit controlling—type A personalities, as my dad would say. Like I want to do some things and he wants to do some things. Well since he is senior comp, I have to follow pretty much… But oh well. He is a good teacher. Well I hope everyone is doing well and I love you all! Write me and keep in touch. Take care!

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…